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管理思维

《技术领导之路:全面解决问题的途径》一书将帮助你成为一个成功的解决问题的领导者。书中温伯格从一个反思者的角度阐述了要成为一个成功的解决问题的领导者必备的3个技能——MOI,即激励(Motivation)、组织(Organization)和创新(Innovation)。第三章叙述解决问题的方式。本节讲的是管理思维。

作者:余晟 译来源:电子工业出版社|2009-12-10 12:37

MANAGING THE FLOW OF IDEAS

Ideas are at the center of problem-solving leadership; they are the method by which we go from a definition of the problem to a high-quality solution. Too few ideas means no solution at all; too many ideas means chaos. Without leadership to manage the flow of ideas, two technical experts in the same room make an argument, three make a crowd, and four make a mob. With effective management of ideas, any number makes a successful problem-solving team. Here are twelve typical actions that problem-solving leaders use to manage the flow of ideas.

Contribute a clever idea to the team. Although this is the most obvious leadership action, and although new ideas are sometimes critical, there are actually very few truly new ideas. Several thousand years ago, Aristotle said, "It is not once, nor twice, but times without number that the same idea makes its appearance in the world." In three decades of working with high-tech organizations, I've seen fewer than ten truly original ideas. Virtually all of the new ideas underlying computer software technology, for instance, were put forth by Charles Babbage more than a century ago. More important than the clever new idea is creating an environment where the right idea for solving the problem will be recognized when it comes along.

Encourage copying of useful ideas. Problem-solving leaders are inveterate copiers, though some do not like to admit it. The best ones not only admit it, they cultivate it as a fine art. As Aristotle understood, most "new" ideas are actually copies of ideas from other contexts, and problem-solving leaders are constantly searching other contexts for ideas they can use. The best teachers never cease to study the texts, lectures, and exercises of their colleagues. The best computer programmers never write a new program when they can use an old one for a new job. The best circuit designers know what designs already exist, and whether they can be used in different situations. Problem-solving leaders are not interested in doing again what has already been done well, by themselves or someone else.

Elaborate on an idea that a teammate contributed. No idea is perfect when it is first formed; even copied ideas must be adapted to new circumstances. Most problem-solving leaders devote a hundred times more energy to perfecting ideas than to proposing them. This is what Edison meant when he said, "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration."

Drop one's own idea in favor of an idea the team wants to develop, and Refuse to let an idea drop until everyone understands it. These are the yin and yang of solving any complex problem. Large problems require the joint effort of many people working in harmony. However, the need for teamwork produces enormous pressures to go along with the majority, which can prove disastrous if the majority is stuck on an incorrect idea.

It's relatively easy to let all your ideas drop, or to refuse to drop any of them. What's hard is to strike a balance: to let go when you're merely being egotistical, but to hold on when the rest of the group is plunging ahead with a fatal mistake. I particularly remember one landscape architect, part of a development team, who graciously let go of his favorite playground design concept when it didn't fit with the rest of the project. My first impression was that he was weak and wishy-washy, but later he objected to a particular slide. Although he was one against seven, he persisted until someone else finally understood why the slide would be dangerous to children.

Resist time pressure, and take the time to listen when other people explain their ideas. The landscape architect's teammates deserve credit for taking time to understand why the slide was a safety problem. Under time pressure, most ideas get dropped before they're actually understood, even though some of them would save enough time to pay for trying to understand the bad ideas a hundred times over. Even if this weren't so, people tend to lose their dedication to a project when their ideas are dropped for the wrong reason. In the end, projects go faster in an environment where people listen to all ideas, even if the ideas turn out to be inapplicable.

Test ideas contributed by other people. In any given situation, the vast majority of ideas are not useful, but which ones are useful? High-tech companies like IBM and General Electric maintain large research laboratories, but few of their products originate in the research from their own labs. The researchers' principal job is to stay on top of developments in their field, critically analyzing each one for its potential benefit to the company. When an idea looks good, they then are prepared to seize it quickly and make it better.

Withhold quick criticism of teammates' ideas, in order to keep the ideas flowing. Although testing is crucial, few ideas are so dangerous they can't be allowed to live for the few moments it takes to reconsider our initial reaction to them. Criticism is one thing; quick criticism is another. Hightech companies often reject important ideas, several times even, before: some smaller company proves they can work in practice. In 1948, for example, IBM decided not to enter the computer business because the market was too small. What has made IBM the dominant force in the computer business today was not being first, but being able to reconsider early rejections after testing by others proved the ideas viable.

When you must criticize an idea, make clear that you are criticizing the idea, not the person who offered the idea. Problem-solving leaders are well aware that not every idea is useful for every problem, but they are even more aware that every person is useful. They know that remarks like "that's a stupid idea," or "you can't really believe that," tend to discourage further contributions, so they offer their criticisms in a caring way. This means that they pay attention to their choice of words, and criticize only ideas, never people.

Test your own ideas before offering them. The popular image of the problem-solving leader is a bright young person pouring out bright young ideas at two hundred words per minute. Such people may score high in leadership as measured by counting "acts of influence," but they are rarely the true problem-solving leaders. Quite the contrary. When asked why they talk so much, these babblers will often remark, "Well, nobody else had anything to contribute." This is nonsense. Nobody is bright enough to have all the good ideas, and a constant babble of your own unconsidered ideas is an excellent way to discourage other people's ideas.

When time and labor are running short, stop working on new ideas and just pitch in. There comes a time in every project when you have to actually do the work, because if you don't have enough ideas by then, you won't finish the project anyway. Some would-be leaders have such an inflated image of themselves that they cannot stoop to mere implementation work, but even God quit thinking up new species after six days.

Encourage the team to drop ideas that had succeeded earlier, but cannot be extended to the new situation. It's hard enough to let go of your bad ideas, but your good ideas are your stock-in-trade. Yet every great idea has its limits. Even banana cream pie gets tiresome if you have to eat it three times a day.

Revive a dropped idea later, when it has value for another part of the problem. Actually, there are no bad ideas, only ideas in the wrong place or at the wrong time. Sailing vessels disappeared when steamships took over, but as energy costs rise, sails are making a comeback. Old ideas don't wear out; a problem-solving leader has a terrific memory and an even better sense of timing.

管理思维

思维位于解决问题的领导力的核心;从问题的定义出发,收获高质量的解决方案,想法就是连通二者的途径。想法太少,就会一筹莫展;想法太多,就会一团混乱。如果没有领导力来驾驭不断出现的新想法,两名技术专家就能吵起来,三个就会乱成一团,四个就成了乌合之众。如果思维管理得当,无论多少人,都能组成一支成功的解决问题的团队。下面是解决问题的领导用来驾驭新想法的12个典型办法。

为团队贡献一个明智的想法。尽管这是领导力最明显的表现,尽管新的想法有时非常关键,但真正的新想法其实非常少。几千年前,亚里士多德就讲过:"同样的思想在世界上出现,不是一次,也不是两次,而是无数次"。我在高科技机构工作的三十年中,见过的真正原创的想法不超过十个。其实,计算机软件技术中的所有新想法,Charles Babbage 在一个世纪以前就提出过了。比明智的想法更重要的是创造一个环境,只要真正能解决问题的想法一冒出来,就能被识别。

鼓励借鉴有用的想法。解决问题的领导惯于借鉴,尽管有些人不乐意承认自己有所借鉴。其中最出色的人,不仅仅坦然承认,还把它发展为精巧的技艺。亚里士多德知道,大多数"新"的想法其实源自其他场合的旧想法,解决问题的领导一直在寻找原有想法能够应用的其他领域。***秀的老师会一直借鉴同行的教材、演讲和练习。***秀的程序员,如果能够用旧程序应对新问题,绝不会写新的程序。***秀的电路设计师知道已经出现的设计方案,而且知道它们是否能应用到不同的情况。解决问题的领导不会在已经彻底解决的问题上浪费精力,无论之前的工作是自己还是他人完成的。

完善团队中其他人提出的想法。任何想法在刚刚形成的时候都不是***的,即便是直接拿来套用的想法,也要修改才能适应新的环境。大多数解决问题的领导会花百倍的精力来完善想法,而不是提出新想法。所以爱迪生说:"天才就是百分之一的天分,加上百分之九十九的汗水"。

在团队希望完善的想法面前,放弃自己的想法;如果一个想法不是每个人都懂得,就不要放弃。这是解决任何复杂问题的阴阳两面。大型问题需要许多人配合,共同努力。然而,团队协作也会带来与多数人保持一致的巨大压力,如果大多数人坚持同一个错误观点,结果就是灾难。

相对来说,放弃或坚持自己的所有的观点是容易的。真正困难的是把握平衡:如果纯粹出于自负,就应该放弃;但如果团队中其他人都在朝一个致命错误前进,就一定要坚持自己的想法。我印象深刻的是,作为团队一分子的某位园林设计师,高姿态地放弃了他喜欢的背景设计概念,因为这与项目中的其他部分不协调。我的***印象是他不够强势,而且缺乏坚毅,但是之后他又反对某条滑梯的设计。尽管当时以一敌七,他还是坚持下去,直到有人终于明白为什么这条滑梯对孩子很危险。

顶住时间压力,在其他人解释他们的想法时要耐心听取。园林设计师的同事应该加分,他们肯花时间来弄明白为什么滑梯是安全隐患。在时间的压力下,大多数想法在被人们彻底理解之前就放弃掉了,尽管弄明白一个好的想法要比弄明白糟糕的想法要节省百倍的时间。即使不是如此,如果自己的想法因为错误的原因而被否定,人们往往还是放弃关心整个项目。总的来说,在能够听取各种想法的环境中,项目进展更快,哪怕这些想法看来并不适用,项目的进展都要快些。

尝试其他人提出的想法。在任何情况下,大多数的想法都是没用的,但哪些是有用的?IBM和GE(通用电气)之类的高科技企业都建有大型研究实验室,但它们的产品很少源于公司实验室的研究。研究人员的主要工作就是在各自领域的发展前沿,严谨地分析每一点进展对公司的潜在利益。如果一个想法看来不错,他们就准备迅速地抓住,加以完善。

为了让想法不断涌现出来,不要太早否定同事的想法。尽管测试非常关键,但其实没多少想法是危险过了头的,所以我们完全可以让它存在一段时间,以观察自己最初的反应。否定是一回事,轻率的否定是另一回事。高科技企业通常会否定重要的想法,甚至会多次否定,直到小公司证明它们确实可行。比如,IBM在1948年决定不涉足计算机行业,因为市场太小。今天,IBM能够成为计算机行业的统治者,不是因为一开始就认准了方向,而是因为它能重新考虑自己曾经放弃过,却被他人证明可行的想法。

如果必须批评一个想法,务必明确,批评的对象是想法而不是人。解决问题的领导很清楚,不是每个想法都适用于每个问题,但他们更清楚每个人都是有用的。他们知道,有些话,例如"这主意真笨"或是"你不该相信这个",往往会对未来产生影响,所以他们在做否定时会很小心。也就是说,他们会斟酌要说的话,而且只会否定想法,不会否定个人。

在给出想法之前,要试一试。一般来说,解决问题的领导都是这种形象:一个聪明的年轻人,以每分钟两百词的速度滔滔不绝地陈述新锐观点。如果依靠计算"真正有影响的行为"来衡量领导力,这样的人可能得分很高,但他们不太可能是真正解决问题的领导。相反地,如果问问他们为什么这么多话,这些满嘴胡言的家伙通常会说,因为其他人没什么想法。这说法完全不对。没人能聪明到一人拥有全部的好想法;滔滔不绝地讲述未经深思熟虑的想法,倒是会大大妨碍其他人的思维。

如果时间和人力不够,就别费力去寻求新想法,维持现状就好。每个项目都会遇到时间和人力有限的情况,因为如果到一定时间点还没有确定想法,任务就无法完成。有些想要成为领导的人总是会高估自己的能力,他们不甘于仅仅执行任务,但上帝也只用了六天创造世界,之后就不再创造新的物种。

如果之前成功的想法不能适应新的形势,要鼓励团队放弃它。要放弃自己的坏想法很难,但是,自己的好想法就像手里的存货。每种伟大的想法都有局限。就是香蕉冰激凌派,一天吃三次也会吃腻的。

如果先前放弃的想法对问题的某个部分有价值,要重新采纳。实际上,想法本身没有好坏,只有在不适合的时间、不适合的地点出现的想法。蒸汽船出现以后,帆船就消失了,但如果能源价格上涨,可能又有人驾驶帆船。旧想法不会彻底消失,解决问题的领导的记忆力当然很好,但是对时机的把握更好。

【责任编辑:董书 TEL:(010)68476606】

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