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一、经济学人杂志双语文章摘要

滕南特认为,他的队伍之所以会那样反应,是因为他们习惯了彼此合作,并且事先已经针对可能出现的状况做过演习。而海盗们则饱受恐惧、压力和疲劳之苦,只凭直觉行事。“如果你没有提前预演一遍决策过程,那么往往就会跟着本能走了。”滕南特说。

二、经济学人杂志双语文章中英对照翻译

Fighting spirit 战斗精神

2020.11


What the armed forces can teach business
军队能教给企业什么

经济学人双语杂志


WHEN CAPTAIN Gareth Tennant was patrolling with the Royal Marines in the Gulf of Aden in 2010, his team intercepted some Somali pirates on two skiffs. The pirates’ weapons were confiscated and the marines waited for clearance to release their prisoners. The plan was to tow the ne’er-do-wells back to Somali waters. But the pirates misread the troops’ intentions, and thought they were about to be abandoned at sea; a few jumped into the water while the rest attacked Mr Tennant’s team.
二〇一〇年,加雷斯·滕南特(Gareth Tennant)上尉随英国皇家海军陆战队在亚丁湾巡逻时,他的手下拦截了两艘小艇上的索马里海盗。他们收缴了海盗的武器,并等待释放这些俘虏的许可。原计划是把这帮无用之人拖回索马里海域,但是海盗们误解了部队的意图,以为自己就要被抛弃在海上。一些人于是跳入水中,其他人则开始攻击滕南特的人。
For a brief period, there was chaos. Mr Tennant was unable to give any orders. But his team acted anyway. One boat rescued the Somalis who had jumped into the water; another came alongside to offer support in ending the fight.
场面一度陷入了混乱。滕南特无法下达任何命令。但他的队伍还是采取了行动。一艘船营救跳入水中的索马里海盗,另一艘从旁协助,结束战斗。
His team acted that way, Mr Tennant argues, because they were used to working with each other and they had war-gamed what might go wrong. In contrast, the pirates were suffering from fear, stress and fatigue, and acted on gut instinct. “If you haven’t gone through the decision-making process in advance, then gut instinct tends to kick in,” Mr Tennant says.
滕南特认为,他的队伍之所以会那样反应,是因为他们习惯了彼此合作,并且事先已经针对可能出现的状况做过演习。而海盗们则饱受恐惧、压力和疲劳之苦,只凭直觉行事。“如果你没有提前预演一遍决策过程,那么往往就会跟着本能走了。”滕南特说。
Now Mr Tennant is back in civilian life, acting as an adviser to the Future Strategy Club, an association of consultants. And he believes the habits learned in the Royal Marines can be useful for business life.
现在,滕南特重回平民生活,在咨询师协会“未来战略俱乐部”(Future Strategy Club)担任顾问。他相信在皇家海军陆战队习得的习惯对商业也有助益。
Given the long history of blunders in warfare (such as friendly-fire incidents), it may seem odd to turn to the armed forces for tips on efficiency. It is an old joke that “military intelligence” is an oxymoron. But many a corporate titan has sought wisdom in the philosophies of strategists like Sun Tzu and Carl von Clausewitz. And military expertise in emergencies was exploited by the British government to help build “Nightingale hospitals” early in the covid-19 pandemic, just as the armed forces had been used to counter Ebola in west Africa in 2014.
战争中从来不乏军人犯下愚蠢错误(如友军误伤)的例子,因此,向军队寻求效率方面的建议似乎有些奇怪。有一句年头久远的笑话,说“军事情报”这个词根本就是自相矛盾。但许多企业巨子都从孙子和卡尔·冯·克劳塞维茨(Carl von Clausewitz)等战略家的思想中寻求智慧。而且,在新冠肺炎疫情初期,英国政府还利用军队应对紧急状况的专业知识来帮助建设临时的“南丁格尔医院”,就像2014年军队参与抗击西非的埃博拉病毒一样。
Soldiers regularly have to deal with the four forces dubbed VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity). In particular, Mr Tennant cites the concept of mission command which developed during the Napoleonic wars. Armies found that, by the time messages had arrived at the front, the military situation had changed. The lesson was to establish what the army was trying to achieve before the battle and allow junior commanders to use their initiative and take decisions as the situation demanded.
士兵们经常需要应对四种力量:波动性、不确定性、复杂性和模糊性。滕南特尤以在拿破仑战争期间发展起来的任务式指挥法为例。军队发现,消息到达前线时,军事形势已经有变。由此得出的教训就是要在战斗打响前明确队伍试图达成的目标,并允许下级指挥官发挥主动性,根据情况需要做出决策。
The ideal command structure is not a rigid hierarchy, he argues, but a sphere, where the core sets the culture and the parts of the organisation at the edge are free to react to events outside them. In effect, the contrast is between centralised command and decentralised execution.
他认为,理想的指挥结构不是一个僵化的上下级制度,而是一个球体,由核心来设定文化,处于组织边缘的部分则可以自由地对外部事件做出反应。在实践中,这形成了中心化的指挥和去中心化的执行之间的反差。
Business has been hit by two huge events this century: the financial crisis of 2007-09 and now the pandemic. These showed the extreme importance of resilience—and of preparation. The organisations that are dealing with the pandemic best are those which were already prepared for the unexpected, he says. The key lesson, Mr Tennant argues, was not having stocks of hand-sanitiser and plastic sheeting but knowing how to manage large changes in society and shifts in supply chains. It also requires training for the type of situations that managers may face.
商业在本世纪受到了两起重大事件的冲击:2007至2009年的金融危机,以及现在的疫情。这样的事件显示出韧性和准备极其重要。滕南特说,在应对疫情时,表现最好的是那些已经为意外事件做好准备的组织。他认为,一个关键教训是不要囤积洗手液和塑料布,而是要知道如何应对社会的巨大变化和供应链的变动。此外还需要针对管理者可能遇到的情况开展培训。
Mr Tennant argues that in recent years companies have become overenamoured with predictive analytics, trying to make precise forecasts about the direction of markets. Instead, they should get involved in war-gaming, where they can discuss ideas that push the boundaries of what is possible. “The more we think about hypotheticals, the less space there is for unknown unknowns,” he says, echoing that well-known American strategist (and ex-defence secretary), Donald Rumsfeld. Corporate executives know their own business really well. But when the environment changes, experience counts for less. The answer is to apply a test and adjust the process, in a feedback cycle.
滕南特认为,近年来企业对预测性分析过于着迷,试图精确预测市场的走向。它们其实应该开展演习,在此过程中它们可以讨论各种想法,拓宽可能性的边界。“假设性的问题考虑得越多,未知的空间就越小。”他说。这呼应了美国著名战略家(和前国防部长)唐纳德·拉姆斯菲尔德(Donald Rumsfeld)的说法。企业高管确实很了解自己的业务。但是一旦环境变了,经验的作用就不那么大了。应对之道是在反馈回路里开展测试并调整流程。
When a crisis happens, bosses display a tendency to hold on tight and take control. But that is losing the benefit of the diversity of the organisation, Mr Tennant thinks. Companies need those at the sharp end of the business to be adaptive and responsive. Senior managers need to relinquish authority and allow juniors to make decisions. In a crisis, companies which have invested in building up leaders at the lowest ranks of the organisation are more likely to prosper. In business, as in conflict, it isn’t the generals who carry the burden of the war; it’s the troops.
当危机发生时,老板们往往会咬紧牙关,竭力把控局面。但滕南特认为,这样就丢掉了组织的多样性的好处。企业需要身处第一线的人具备适应和响应的能力。高层管理者需要放下权威,允许下级做决定。在危机中,那些此前投入了资源在组织的最底层培养领导者的企业更有可能胜出。在商业领域和在战事中一样,肩负起作战重担的不是将军,而是士兵。