经济学人官方译文 | 企业管理者可从三位国家领导人身上获得启示

Bartleby
巴托比
History lessons for managers
以史为鉴
Three national leaders from whom business executives could learn
企业管理者可从三位国家领导人身上获得启示

BUSINESS leaders often have a poor opinion of politicians, preferring to find their heroes elsewhere—in other boardrooms or on the coaching field. But running a country is an even greater test of leadership and character than running a corporation. Those who have passed through the fire surely have something to teach modern-day managers.
企业领导人通常对政客评价不高,更愿意在其他地方找寻自己的偶像,像是别家公司的董事会会议室,或训练场。但和经营公司相比,治理国家是更严峻的考验,更能检验领导者的能力和品格。那些历经火的试炼的人必定有可供现代管理者学习之处。

Take three of the most feted national leaders: Otto von Bismarck, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Many will object both to what they achieved and to the violence they used. But their successes and failures hold lessons for CEOs.
以三位最受崇敬的国家领导人为例:奥托·冯·俾斯麦、富兰克林·罗斯福、温斯顿·丘吉尔。很多人会不认可他们的成就以及他们使用暴力的做法,但CEO们可从这三人的成功与失败中汲取教训。

Bismarck was an old-school Prussian aristocrat. But he proved remarkably flexible and imaginative during nearly three decades in office. As a manager, he had a clear goal—to unite Germany under his king (who became Kaiser Wilhelm I in 1871). This required him to overcome the suspicions of other German states, which he did by uniting them against a series of enemies, from Denmark through Austria to France—a merger strategy that allowed Germany to compete on equal footing.
俾斯麦是一个老派的普鲁士贵族,但他在接近30年的任期内展现出了非凡的灵活度和想象力。作为一名管理者,他目标明确:统一德意志,并使之臣服于他的国王(这位国王在1871年成为了威廉一世)。这就要求他平息其他德意志邦国的疑虑。他的方法是让它们团结起来,共同抵御从丹麦到奥地利、再到法国的一众敌人。通过这种“并购策略”,德意志帝国得以与其他国家在同等水准上竞争。

Bismarck also proved flexible when it came to domestic policy. Though no social reformer, he worried about the danger of working-class support for socialism. So he pushed through a series of welfare measures in the 1880s, including old-age pensions and health insurance. He understood the benefits of social responsibility long before CSR departments became a thing.
俾斯麦在国内政策上也显现出灵活性。尽管他不是个社会改革者,但还是担心工人阶级对社会主义的支持所带来的风险。因此他在19世纪80年代推动通过了一系列福利措施,包括养老金和医疗保险。在企业社会责任部门这样东西出现前很久,他就明白了讲求社会责任的益处。

Like many corporate empire-builders, however, he overreached—in his case by annexing Alsace-Lorraine from France. But his less capable successors were less disciplined still; it was they who led Germany down the path to disaster.
然而他和许多企业帝国的缔造者一样会妄为,像是侵占法国的阿尔萨斯-洛林。但他那些能力欠佳的继任者更是缺乏克制,是他们将德国引向了灾难。

Where Bismarck built a successful conglomerate, Roosevelt proved to be a consummate turnaround artist. Like the Prussian, FDR showed plenty of flexibility. Although he campaigned for office on the promise of a balanced budget, he adapted when circumstances required it to become the first Keynesian leader. Economists will probably spend the rest of history debating the merits of his various policy measures. But like an executive who rescues a failing company, he showed the power of leaders to change the mood, notably with his inaugural declaration that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
俾斯麦创建了一个成功的企业集团,而罗斯福则展现出力挽狂澜的高超技艺。和那位普鲁士人一样,罗斯福也显现了相当的灵活度。虽然他在竞选时承诺将平衡预算,但当情势需要时,他做出了调适,成为了第一个奉行凯恩斯主义的领导人。经济学家们日后也许一直会为他的各种政策措施的功过争论不休。但就像一位挽救了一家濒危公司的高管,他展现出了提振士气的领袖力量,特别是他就职演说中的那句宣言:“我们唯一值得恐惧的就是恐惧本身。”

As he took over the presidency, in 1933, unemployment started to fall and GDP began to rise; the latter rose by 9.5% a year in his first term of office. Although there was plenty of doubt about the route that Roosevelt took, there was no question about his desired destination, whether ending the Depression or winning the second world war. He communicated his message clearly and often—a lesson to modern bosses, even if they prefer Twitter to fireside chats on the wireless.
1933年他就任总统后,失业率开始下降,GDP上升。在他首个任期内,GDP的年增速达到9.5%。虽然罗斯福采取的方法引发了诸多疑虑,但他想要达到的目标却是无可置疑的,不管是终结大萧条还是赢得二战胜利。他频繁而清晰地传达自己的信息,这一点值得现代的老板们学习——哪怕比起利用无线电与民众来场“炉边谈话”,他们更愿意发推特。

That made him popular enough with voters to remain at the helm for 12 years, until his death in 1945—twice as long as shareholders in America tolerate a typical chief executive today, and three times as long as they do in Britain. Although he was flexible on economic policy, he was unimpressed by ideologies such as fascism and communism, and remained true to the core principles of the American enterprise. Many executives would do well to emulate Roosevelt’s confidence in his own judgment and his ability to convey it (it helped that this confidence seldom proved unjustified).
炉边谈话让罗斯福在选民中获得了足够的好感,而得以掌舵美国12年,直到1945年去世。任期之久,比现在美国的股东通常可忍受的CEO在位时间长一倍,比英国的长两倍。虽然罗斯福在经济政策上能灵活变通,但他不为法西斯主义和共产主义这类思想体系所动,矢志不移地坚守美国企业经营之道的核心准则。许多高管都应效仿罗斯福,像他那样坚信自己的判断并将信心传递给他人(罗斯福的自信很少是那种毫无道理的偏执,这一点也很重要)。

Like Roosevelt, Churchill was supremely confident. His political career contained numerous mistakes and many episodes of poor judgment, not least when it came to his attitude towards citizens of British colonies. He would not have lasted long as a modern chief executive, given his bad temper, excessive drinking and eccentric working hours. He was never short of ideas but his subordinates learned to ignore most of them. Like Steve Jobs, a similarly mercurial figure, the first part of his career ended in failure.
和罗斯福一样,丘吉尔也无比自信。他在政治生涯中犯下很多错误,也多次出现过判断失误,尤其是在对待英国殖民地居民的态度方面。如果他是个现代的CEO,以他的坏脾气、嗜酒成性和异于常人的工作时间,这个位子恐怕坐不久。他从来都不乏创见,但他的下属学会了无视它们中的大部分。和性情同样反复无常的乔布斯一样,丘吉尔职业生涯的第一阶段也以失败告终。

But as with Apple’s founder, Churchill’s other qualities won out. His strategic insight was unrivalled, whether recognising that Hitler was a threat to the world in the 1930s or refusing a peace deal with Germany in the dark days of 1940. He was canny in using his charm to get aid from Roosevelt before America entered the war—and flexible when he accepted an alliance with Stalin’s Russia, despite his lifelong anti-communism. His bulldog attitude and powerful speeches inspired after a succession of mediocre leaders.
但和这位苹果创始人一样,丘吉尔的其他品质占了上风。他的战略眼光无人能出其右,不管是在上世纪30年代认识到希特勒对于全世界都是个威胁,还是在1940年的黑暗岁月里拒绝与德国达成和平协议。他精明地运用自己的魅力,在美国参战前赢得了罗斯福的援助,而且还懂得变通,肯与斯大林领导的苏联结盟,尽管他毕生反对共产主义。在经历了一个又一个平庸的领导人之后,英国终于有了丘吉尔这样的人物,用他坚毅无畏的姿态、有强大感染力的演讲鼓舞人心。

Clear strategic goals, flexibility in tactics and an ability to inspire others. Those are three qualities that any executive or entrepreneur might usefully acquire. Bosses should read more history books.
战略目标清晰,战术灵活变通,有能力激励他人——任何高管或创业家也许都能因习得这三种品质而获益。老板们应该多读一读历史。