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毒贩子教管理   

2009-11-01 09:53:47|  分类: 管理万象 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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作者:英国《金融时报》专栏作家 露西?凯拉韦

2009-10-10

 

12岁时,他是个毒品贩子;22岁时,他被近距离射中九颗子弹;23岁时,他改行当上了饶舌歌手;到了30岁,他已涉足服装、维他命矿泉水和避孕套等多个领域;而今,32岁的他完成了一件杰克?韦尔奇(Jack Welch)直到比他年长30岁时才办到的事情:“50分”(50 Cent)已经成为一位管理大师。

这一最新事业,对于这名饶舌歌手而言来得颇早,但对于管理大师职业而言却是姗姗来迟。登山运动员、乐队指挥和将军们都已自告奋勇,为管理者提供了各自的成功窍门,但据我所知,50——他在粉丝心中的名字——是第一个要为进军角落办公室的高管们提供帮助的毒贩。

相比演奏小提琴和登山,毒品交易与经商之间的交集要大得多。它是一个竞争激烈且高速增长的行业,要想在这一行取得成功,就必须比哪怕最拼命的商人都更精明、更善于变通。

引用50的单曲《In Da Club》的歌词:“我是个全心全意的人,脑子里想的就是钱/ 做笔生意就能赚个一百万,但我还是拼命赚钱。”

为了重新包装上述信息,使那些不穿低腰裤的听众也能心领神会,50与作家罗伯特?格林(Robert Greene)展开了合作。后者向来善于从汉尼拔(Hannibal)、孙子(Sun Tzu)和马基雅弗利(Machiavelli)等“坏男孩”那里剽窃管理窍门。

两人的合作产生了《The 50th Law》一书。该书由格林撰写,但引用了50的一些奇谈怪论。“人们最大的恐惧是做自己,”他表示。“你正在逃避你唯一拥有的——那种使你与众不同的东西。”

这些话不仅没创意到令人失望,而且根本就是谬论。我不知道50本人是什么情况,但在我自己的“最害怕事情”清单上,甚至压根就没有“做我自己”这一项。这份清单包括:骑自行车被人撞倒、把事情搞砸,以及游泳时身体碰到鱼。

虽然我从未因为害怕做自己而辗转难眠,但如果真有这种顾虑,倒也并非坏事。当我做自己时,表现出来的是马马虎虎、脾气暴躁等各种缺点——有所顾虑倒可能令我活得更积极上进一些。

50更年轻一些的时候,曾被一个上了年纪、充满智慧的毒品贩子——名字很是动听,人称“真理”(Truth)——叫到一边推心置腹,那人告诉50,毒贩的大忌就是性情变软弱,眼神游离,不注意街头状况。“真理”说过的话中,当属此句最有道理。

这种情况似乎已发生在50身上:他已不复当年的血气方刚。他的管理要旨归根结底似乎是在主张一种本真状态——这是个老掉牙的主意,而且有些婆婆妈妈。

这完全是在错失良机。我认识一个人,几十年来一直是伦敦和美国毒贩的忠实客户,期间学到了关于那一行的许多事情。然而很遗憾,他本人在这一过程中差点丧命。

他曾向我解释过,在应对衰退或信贷紧缩方面,毒贩是一流的大师。他们长期生活在“零信用”的世界中:如果你是个毒贩,你不可能跑去银行经理那里申请贷款,因此最优秀的毒贩同时也是管理现金流的行家。

他们值得首席执行官们(CEO)学习的另一特质就是无情。毒贩不能欺诈自己的客户,他们必须为客户提供上好货色,但除此之外,对于客户的死活,他们完全无所谓。任何一名不得不裁掉一半员工的首席执行官,都需要具备类似的超脱感。

领导力的第三个方面体现在行话上。毒品贩子在发明新词方面比CEO们更胜一筹——比如说“我有真正的上等货”(“I've got the real peng”)。但两者都非常喜欢蔑视语法规则。CEO们喜欢把名词用作动词——比如“行动”(to action)一词——而毒品贩子更是进一步背离了语法规则,他们错误地排列语句,比如说:“到马上(Soon come)。”

CEO和毒品贩子都觉得没有必要非得言出必行。就像CEO说“正直存在于我们的DNA里”时并不当真一样,毒品贩子说“到马上”时,实际上客户得在街角无聊地等上相当长的时间。

毒品贩子在汽车方面还是潮流的制造者。多年来,他们一直偏爱单向玻璃。去年银行家一窝蜂地追随这种趋势,因为他们竞相前往财政部秘密赴约。

自视甚高的CEO们如今几乎就和毒品贩子一样频繁地更换汽车,还模仿他们嗜好贵重珠宝和目无法纪的作风。丹尼斯?科兹洛夫斯基(Dennis Kozlowski)和康拉德?布莱克(Conrad Black)在审判中被揭露出来的奢侈作风,肯定会让“真理”和50感到相当自豪。

CEO和毒品贩子一个更加相似的地方在于,他们一般都不会消费自己出售的产品——但CEO必须掩饰这一点,否则会有麻烦,拉尔德?拉特纳(Gerald Ratner)就曾经因为说自己的珠宝是垃圾而引起轩然大波。不过,在紧急情况下,毒品贩子必须能够把自己的货物吃进嘴里,并在很短的时间里吞下去——而CEO很少需要采取这种极端做法。

两种职业最后一个相似的地方在于顶楼的旋转门——CEO和毒品贩子常常从那里现身——而且,这两类人不少都是脑袋挨枪子的下场。唯一的不同之处在于,对毒品贩子而言,子弹是真正的“上等货”。

译者/何黎

 

Why drug dealers are the perfect gurus in a recession

By Lucy Kellaway 2009-10-10

 

At the age of 12, he was a drug dealer; at 22, he had nine bullets shot into him at close range; at 23, he had a career change and became a rapper; by 30, he had diversified into clothes, vitamin mineral water and condoms and now, at 32, has pulled off something that Jack Welch didn't manage until he was 30 years older: 50 Cent is now a management guru.

For the rapper, this latest career move has come early. But for the management guru industry, it is long overdue. Mountaineers, conductors and army generals have all stepped forward to offer their tips for success to managers. But as far as I know, 50, as his fans know him, is the first hustler to give a helping hand to executives on their way to the corner office.

Drug dealing has considerably more overlap with business than playing the violin or climbing a mountain. It's a competitive, fast growing industry in which the successful have to be even sharper and more flexible than the most driven businessman.

To quote from 50's "In Da Club": "I'm fully focused man, my money on my mind/ Got a mil out the deal and I'm still on the grind."

In order to repackage this message for an audience who do not wear their trousers around their ankles, 50 has teamed up with the writer Robert Greene who has a fine pedigree in plundering management tips from such bad boys as Hannibal, Sun Tzu and Machiavelli.

The result of their collaboration is a book called The 50th Law , written by Greene but in which 50 is given the odd quote. "The greatest fear people have is of being themselves," he says. "You are running away from the one thing that you own - what makes you different."

This is both disappointingly unoriginal and plain wrong. I don't know about 50, but being myself doesn't even register on my list of big fears. These include getting knocked off my bicycle, failing badly at something, and of fish brushing against me when I'm swimming.

And while I've never lost a second's sleep over being myself, it wouldn't be a bad thing if I had. When I'm myself, I'm sloppy, bad-tempered, etc - fear might make me get my act together more.

When he was younger, 50 was taken to one side by a wise old hustler - charmingly named Truth - and told that the greatest danger a dealer faces is that his mind goes soft and his eye wanders from the streets. Truth never said a truer word.

This is what appears to have happened to 50 himself: he's gone soft. His management thesis seems to boil down to a plea for authenticity - which is an old idea, and a soppy one at that.

It is all such a missed opportunity. I have an acquaintance who for decades was a loyal customer of drug dealers in London and the US. In the process, he learnt a prodigious amount about the business; it is only a pity that he all but destroyed his life in the process.

He explained to me that drug dealers are the perfect gurus for a recession or credit crunch. They live permanently in a world of zero credit: if you are a hustler, you can't go and see your bank manager and get a loan, so the best ones are virtuosos at managing cash flow.

The next thing they have to teach the CEO is ruthlessness. The drug dealer must not rip off his client - he must supply him with good product - but beyond that will show a total disregard for his welfare. Any CEO who has to make half the work force redundant needs to feel a similar detachment.

A third area of leadership is through jargon. The dealer goes beyond the CEO in inventing words from scratch ( "I've got the real peng") but both groups share a keen interest in flouting the laws of grammar. CEOs like to make a noun a verb - as in "to action" - while drug dealers stray still further from the rule book and put words in the wrong order. "Soon come," they say.

Neither group feels any need to make what they say true. Just as the CEO doesn't mean it when he says "integrity is in our DNA", the drug dealer who says "soon come" actually means the client will be left twiddling his thumbs on the street corner for an awfully long time.

With cars, the dealers have also been trendsetters. For years they have favoured blacked-out windows; a trend slavishly copied last year by bankers as they raced to the Treasury for secret appointments.

Self-respecting CEOs now change their vehicles almost as often as drug dealers and are also aping the hustler's taste in bling - and in lawlessness. The conspicuous consumption that came out in the Dennis Kozlowski and Conrad Black trials would surely have made Truth and 50 quite proud.

A further similarity is that neither tend to consume the products they sell - although CEOs must pretend to do so or they get into trouble, as Gerald Ratner once did, when he said his jewellery was crap. However, in an emergency a drug dealer must be able to pop his product in his mouth and swallow it at a moment's notice - whereas the CEO seldom finds call for such extreme action.

The final parallel between the two professions is the revolving door at the top - CEOs and hustlers tend get found out - and both often end up with a bullet in the head. The only difference being that in the dealer's case the bullet is the real peng.

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