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基业长青的秘密 What helps companies endure longer than others

发布日期:2024-01-31 01:57浏览次数:
本文摘要:In 2001, while interviewing executives at Nokia, I was introduced to the Finnish word. It meant humility, I was told, but humility with a quiet self-assurance. That self-assurance seemed well-deserved. Nokiawas then the giant of the mobile


In 2001, while interviewing executives at Nokia, I was introduced to the Finnish word. It meant humility, I was told, but humility with a quiet self-assurance. That self-assurance seemed well-deserved. Nokiawas then the giant of the mobile phone world, controlling 35 per cent of the global market.2001年,在专访诺基亚(Nokia)低管时,有人跟我提及了一个芬兰词。有人告诉他我,它的意思是谦虚,是带着默默地热情的谦虚。


Could it last, I asked in the articles I wrote at the time. We now know that it did not. After being eclipsed by Apple’s iPhone and by Android-based Asian handsets, Nokia last year handed over its much-weakened mobile phone business to Microsoft. But Nokia has not disappeared. It is now a mobile networks operation, has a digital mapping business and owns a host of patents.我在当时写出的文章中问道,它能长年矗立不推倒吗?我们现在告诉,它无法。在被苹果(Apple)的iPhone和基于安卓(Android)系统的亚洲手机夺走光彩后,诺基亚去年将其实力大大弱化的手机业务购入微软公司(Microsoft)。但诺基亚没消失。

它现在经营着移动网络业务,享有数字地图业务和很多专利。Reinventing itself is not new to Nokia. It has done so repeatedly since it began life in 1865 as a paper manufacturer. It has since been a maker of rubber boots, raincoats, cables and television sets. It has been an electricity generator, was once Ireland’s leading producer of toilet paper and the world’s only supplier of studded bicycle tyres.重塑自身对于诺基亚并不新鲜。自从1865年作为一家纺织商创立以来,它曾经这么做到过。


This is unusual. Few companies change their businesses as dramatically and only a minority last as long. In an influential book, The Living Company, first published in 1997, Arie de Geus asked why some companies endured while others died young. The average multinational company lasted less than 50 years, but some, such as Nokia, were well over 100 years old.Royal Dutch Shell, where Mr de Geus worked for 38 years, began in 1833. A few had been around for centuries, he wrote. The Sumitomo Group of Japan could trace its origins to a copper casting shop founded in 1590.这不同寻常。很少有企业不会展开如此轻微的业务转型,而且只有少数需要存活这么长时间。在1997年首次出版发行的极具影响力的《长寿公司》(The Living Company)中,阿里德赫斯(Arie de Geus)问道,为什么一些公司可以长寿,另一些公司却英年早逝。跨国企业的平均寿命将近50年,但诺基亚等一些公司的历史却相比之下多达了100年。


德赫斯为之工作了38年的荷兰皇家壳牌(Royal Dutch Shell)是在1833年创立的。他写到,很少有企业不会存活几个世纪之幸。日本住友集团(Sumitomo Group)的起源可以追溯到1590年创立的一家铸铜店。In no other type of organisation, whether universities, armies or churches, was there such a disparity between the shortest and longest-living institutions.其他任何类型的的组织(不管是大学、军队还是教堂),寿命最久和最较短者之间都会经常出现如此极大的差异。

Does it matter whether companies live centuries or not? Is not the death of companies and the birth of new ones the way economies and societies progress – through what Joseph Schumpeter called “creative destruction”?公司能否存活数个世纪否最重要?杨家公司的覆灭和新的公司的问世,不是经济和社会通过约瑟夫訠籱祟(Joseph Schumpeter)所称的“创造性毁坏”变革的方式吗?Yes. Companies can become complacent, as Nokia was about the arrival of the smartphone. Many are replaced by quicker, more alert competitors. But Mr de Geus and others have argued that long-living companies perform a valuable role.是的。公司可能会显得可笑,诺基亚对于智能手机的经常出现的态度就是如此。很多公司被行动更加很快且更加警觉的竞争对手代替。但德赫斯和其他一些人指出,长寿公司充分发挥着最重要起到。

They lay down roots. They establish links with communities, provide employment and memories to successive generations of workers and act as an important social glue. As families have become more fragmented and people more mobile, long-living companies provide a sense of cohesion and communal solidarity.它们不会恰下根基。它们与社会建立联系、为一代代员工获取低收入和回想,同时当作一种最重要的社会粘合剂。在家庭显得更加集中且人们的流动性显得更加强劲之际,长寿公司获取了一种汇聚感和社会团结一致感觉。

When they die, neighbourhoods are often left desolate, longstanding suppliers lose business and former employees and their families are deprived of their workday memories.当这些公司覆灭时,邻近的社区一般来说不会显得荒芜一起,长年供应商不会毁掉业务,以前的员工和他们的家人不会失去他们对于工作的回想。So why do some companies manage to last so long?那么,为什么一些公司需要存活很长时间呢?In his book, Mr de Geus pointed to four characteristics of long-lived companies. First, they were sensitive to changes in the business environment and in their societies. Second, they had a strong sense of identity. Third, they were “tolerant”, by which he meant that they were not over-centralised and allowed experiments and eccentricities among their staff. Finally, they were conservative in their financing – “they knew the usefulness of having spare cash in the kitty”.德赫斯在书中认为了长寿公司的4个特点。第一,它们对商业环境和所处社会的变化非常脆弱。


”There are other questions we can ask.我们还可以明确提出其他问题。Is ownership important? Some companies survive because they are family-owned, educating each new generation to take a role and become executives. But family ownership is no panacea. It is difficult to instil hunger for success, hard work and managerial savvy in successive generations. And not all of the oldest companies are family-owned.所有权否最重要?一些公司存活下来的原因是它们由家族所有,他们不会教育新的一代人分担角色并沦为高管。但家族所有权并非万能药。


很难将顺利的渴求、刻苦和管理头脑倒数植入几代人。而且并非所有历史最久的公司都由家族所有。Does the industry matter? Is it easier to survive in the resources business, say in mining, than in the tech industry? It is difficult to judge. The technology industry is too young for us to know whether, for example, Apple, Microsoft or Facebook are going to show real staying power. Certainly, companies that were once big names in technology – Wang and ICL, for example – are no longer around.行业否最重要?在资源行业(例如矿业)否要比在科技行业更容易存活?现在很难辨别。

科技行业还过于年长,我们无法理解苹果、微软公司或Facebook否不会展示出确实的持久力。当然,科技行业那些曾多次的巨擘(例如,Wang和ICL)都已消失。And, most important, can large companies keep innovating or are they inevitably undermined by new arrivals with smaller bureaucracies, no pension liabilities and less of an investment in older technologies and ways of operating?最重要的是,大公司能否维持创意,或者否不会不可避免地受到新的公司的巩固?新的公司官僚主义较较少、没养老金义务,而且在值得注意的技术和经营方式方面投资较较少。

Over the next few months, the Financial Times (which itself is 127 years old) will be examining what helps some companies last so long – and how they can fend off decline. We will be running events and broadcasting videos from the leading business cities on four continents: Hong Kong, Johannesburg, New York and London.未来几个月,英国《金融时报》(本身有127年历史)将实地考察是什么协助一些公司存活那么长时间,以及它们是如何抵挡衰败的。我们将举行各种活动,并播出来自坐落于四个大陆的领先商业城市的视频:香港、约翰内斯堡、纽约和伦敦。

Each of these financial and commercial centres has companies that have been around for decades or centuries, as well as thriving start-ups. We will be interviewing executives from both types of companies, as well as academic experts.这些金融和商业中心都享有具备几十年或几百年历史的企业以及蓬勃发展的初创企业。我们将专访这两类企业的高管和学术专家。But we also want to hear from you, the FT reader. Do you think long-living companies are valuable to our societies and, if so, what do you think helps them endure? Do you work or for a company that has been around forever, or do you work for a recent corporate arrival – or perhaps you have worked for both? How do you think the most successful older companies have done it? Please join in the debate by posting your thoughts here or follow #FTLongevity.on Twitter.但英国《金融时报》的读者,我们也期望听见你的观点。




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