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在哪做生意最开心?  

2011-10-25 18:45:58|  分类: 众说纷纭 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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作者:泰勒.布鲁尔

 

政府、大学与各种机构花了大量时间去研究及推广幸福的概念。不丹(Bhutan)的幸福指数遭到大肆宣扬,而据称丹麦人全球最幸福。不管这些让人羡艳的报告是如何出炉的,不知幸福指数排名全球第五的荷兰会作何感想,这个自我感觉幸福的国家是否会自问为何不如排名高的近邻丹麦那样亮丽?同样,为啥只字不提幸福指数最差的那些国家呢?很明显,这些差国(即便不象那些幸福指数高的国家那样大肆报道)也应得到曝光,对吧?再说,那些幸福指数差的国家究竟是谁?我们知道这些国家吗?全球最不幸福国民的名单,本人当然心知肚明——多数国民来自那几个动辄大动干戈的发达国家。

同样,哪些国家最适于工作以及如何让员工心情舒畅,也是气话不断、废话连篇。没错,大大小小的公司都花了大价钱请来高手把脉“棘手问题”,到头来出的点子无非就是给工作环境增加点乐趣,最终就是杂乱无章地摆一堆连员工都不愿坐的色彩夸张、奇丑无比的办公设备,再配以种种所谓“创新做法”,此举反而让员工更为困惑而不是乐在其中。

最近我穿梭于亚洲国家,行程安排得异常紧凑(早晨在泰国,晚上在新加坡,第二天一早又到韩国吃早餐),一直觉得有必要整出一个幸福国家的商业指数,挑上几个做生意最为惬意的国家。

最近一个周日,我抵达曼谷——在我的商业幸福指数名录上,这个城市的排名从来就不算高。我每年到访曼谷的次数不超过三次,就签新项目合同的首选地,它与新加坡、香港和首尔根本不可同日而语。另一方面,它属于经商幸福指数高的城市吗?毫无疑问是这样,虽说开会不准时,作息制度有自己的一套做法,但泰国人亲切的笑容,彬彬有礼的鞠躬,常常笑对周围人,谈正事时语气不紧不慢,温文尔雅。整个交往过程让人心情畅快,这也是我为何再次光临曼谷的主要原因:泰国人热情好客,虽说城市交通让人有点难以恭维,政治氛围也是差强人意,但百姓与潜在的商机使泰国成为经商的乐土。

日本在许多方面与泰国很相似。日本人说话绕弯子,整明白颇费心思;有时,在日本做成事,折腾地让人发悚——但本人还老是愿到日本去,因为它是接洽客户、交流看法以及接大单的理想去处。日本人习惯大半夜开会,这意味着安排紧凑的行程更为行之有效,喜好美食者能在日本过足嘴瘾,万一错过,还可以好好过上一把卡拉OK瘾。

在韩国做生意,让人有点捉摸不定。韩国市场欣欣向荣,但说它是个善笑的国度,本人并不认同。与曼谷或大阪相比,呵呵,韩国让人精神紧张。如果认为就是教育与经济政策造就了韩国的突飞猛进那就太过天真了。韩国人性格倔强执拗、家家都多少带些偏执,是一股望而生畏的商业力量。说得明白些,本人与同事在一起开会时,从来不说“真是一次有趣的会议!”或者“他(她)逗吧?”在韩国,我发现自己更关心的是接下来与谁会谈而不是议程之事。我最近到访韩国时,一位客户就逼我的司机透露具体的时间安排表。

奇怪的是,同样的事也发生在美国。多数美国公司让人放心,无需担心会谈对象是谁,但在纽约约谈商业合伙人,就没啥乐趣可言。只有当会谈结束后,想设法弄明白对方的弦外之音,才会让人抓狂,因为对方使用的不是日常用语,而是太多五角大楼战略手册中的闪烁其辞用语。

有的国家经济不景气、但说话幽默;有的国家只会埋头做生意,却不善尽情享乐,看来这里存在着一定的关联。有些国家挖空心思打造知名品牌、一心想屹立于世界之林,或许,一个“最惬意的经商国家”前十名的名号,就能让它们寻求出人头地的努力付之东流,进而给那些把不动声色的智慧与见缝插针的经商技能结合得天衣无缝的国家助上一臂之力。

泰国新总理英拉(Yingluck Shinawatra)上台后,不妨可以借助其国民乐观豁达的性格,在国内掀起一场轰轰烈烈的投资运动,让泰国人整天乐呵呵。

 

Happy countries, good business

 

By Tyler Br?lé

 

Governments, universities and various institutions spend a lot of time studying and promoting the concept of happiness. Much has been made of Bhutan’s happiness index and Denmark is supposedly home to the happiest people in the world. Whenever these happy-clappy reports come out, I wonder how the fifth-happiest country feels and whether a somewhat happy nation starts to ask itself why it’s not as perky as its high-ranking neighbour. Also, why is so little made about the world’s grumpiest nations? Surely they need as much attention, if not more, than the smilier countries of the world? And who are the grumps anyway? Or do we know already? I certainly have my own shortlist of the unhappier peoples of the planet – most of them passport holders from a clutch of crabby developed nations.

At the same time there’s a lot of huff and guff about the best places to work and what makes workers happy. For sure, companies large and small spend vast amounts on corporate therapists who end up telling them to put more fun in the workplace with the end result being an anarchic mix of ugly furniture in crazy colours in reception that no one will ever sit on and an array of “new work” practices that leave everyone bewildered rather than happy.

As I’ve been travelling in Asia on a hyper-compressed schedule this week (morning in Thailand, evening in Singapore and breakfast in Korea), I’ve been thinking about the need to create a “happy nation business index” that would single out the most enjoyable nations in which to do business.

On Sunday I arrived in Bangkok – a city that’s never figured particularly high on my business city list. At most I visit three times a year and, in terms of new projects, it doesn’t come remotely close to Singapore, Hong Kong or Seoul as a place where new contracts are signed. On the other hand, is it a place of business happiness? Without question. Meetings might not start on time and the system has its own peculiar mechanics but there’s always a gracious smile, an elegant bow, plenty to laugh about and a mild, measured tone to getting down to key business manners. So pleasant is the whole experience that it’s the key reason I go back: the Thais are so good at hospitality. The traffic might be irritating and the politics a frustration but the people and potential opportunities are what make the country a happy place to do business.

Japan is similar in many ways. A minefield to decode and a place that’s mind-numbingly frustrating to push things forward at times – but I keep going back because it’s simply a pleasant place to meet clients, exchange ideas and sometimes win big projects.

A culture of late-night meetings means you can be far more efficient on a tight schedule, a love of good food means dining is a pleasure and, in case you’ve missed it, I’m a sucker for a good karaoke session.

I’m in two minds about doing business in Korea. While it’s a booming market for business, I’ve yet to find it’s a house of laughs. Compared to Bangkok or Osaka, Korea, is, ummmm, intense. Anyone who thinks that education and economic policies alone contributed to Korea’s growth would be more than a little na?ve. A national disposition that’s a very potent mix of dogged determination and a family size portion of paranoia have made the Koreans a formidable business force. That said, I never sit down with colleagues and say “Wasn’t that a fun meeting!” or “Wasn’t he or she a laugh?” In Korea I often find there’s a greater concern about whom else I might be meeting rather than matters on the agenda. On a recent trip a client bullied my driver into revealing my schedule.

Oddly, the same could be said for doing business in the US. While most American companies are secure enough to not worry about whom a partner might be meeting, there’s a certain element of joy missing from the meeting experience in New York. The hysterics only come after you’ve wrapped up the meeting and try to decipher what marketeers have been attempting to say with their special language that borrows too much from a Pentagon strategy book rather than daily English.

Perhaps there’s a relationship between countries that are economically shaky and have an easy sense of humour versus powerhouses that are purely business without any of the fun bits bolted on for kicks. As nations look for new ways to build brand equity and carve out a position in the world, perhaps a top 10 ranking on the “most enjoyable places to do business” index could reverse the fortunes of those countries searching for a fresh identity and further bolster those that have a healthy combination of dry wit and razor-sharp commercial skills.

As Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand’s new prime minister, settles into office, she might want to consider harnessing her people’s sunny disposition and turning it into an inward investment campaign that’s all smiles and chuckles.

Tyler Br?lé is editor-in-chief of Monocle magazine

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