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麦肯锡前员工:麦肯锡的人都很好,但是价值观有问题

Seth Green 2020年01月06日

这位员工说,麦肯锡必须改变了。

近年来,人们对企业的期望发生了巨大变化,麦肯锡也需要改变。

我清楚地记得在麦肯锡参加的第一个“价值观日”。各个部门的合伙人聚集在一起,讨论身为顾问的行为指导原则。

一位合伙人充满激情地谈到,如何鼓起“勇气”向客户建议裁员以增加盈利。还有一位分享称 “无论后果如何”,都要与客户开诚布公。

那天,大家热情洋溢的分享让我印象深刻。之前我一直以为麦肯锡客户至上的价值观只是为了业务需要。但是,价值观日的经历让我感受到,客户至上还是公司的道德使命:我们之所以能成为严守道德的顾问,正是因为坚持不懈地服务客户。

有些初级顾问会提出疑问。2008年时,我们的客户包括石油公司和烟草公司。如果鼓起勇气建议业绩不佳的烟草公司采取更激进的营销策略,也能算作践行价值观吗? 如果算,这么做真的有价值么?

杏耀平台在麦肯锡工作了两年,之后又研究了公司十年,我个人的结论是:麦肯锡的人都很好,但是价值观有问题。

从个人角度出发,我在麦肯锡的同事们都很关心如何让世界变得更美好。大多数人都在非营利组织兼职,还为慈善事业慷慨解囊。与身边的人相处时真诚而尊重,尤其是对弱势群体。而且只要有机会,同事们就会参加与社会或环境相关的项目,即使可能稍微拖累自身职业发展。

杏耀平台但是,当我们在保密前提下为传统客户服务时,客户至上的价值观就会占据上风。最近几个月,我们都发现只顾追求客户利益造成的危害,多篇调查性新闻报道显示,在客户至上价值观指导下,公司曾经建议向移民限量供应食品,还建议加快阿片类药物的销售。

面对相关调查性报道的指责,麦肯锡应该静心反思。近年来,人们对企业的期望发生了巨大变化,麦肯锡也要改变。大衰退、千禧一代的崛起,以及对政府解决社会上严峻挑战能力的信心下降,都让人们转而期待企业有所作为,即企业获得经济回报的同时,也要产生积极的社会和环境影响。

事实上,爱德曼公关公司的研究表明,三分之二的雇员希望雇主“一起采取行动解决社会问题”。与此同时,德勤的研究显示,超过四分之三的企业高管认为“社会影响”对公司战略“至关重要”。甚至美国顶尖公司的首席执行官云集的“商业圆桌会议”最近也重新定义了企业的宗旨,从服务股东转变为建立“为全人类服务的经济”。

近期各项研究都证实了我在课堂上的发现。过去六年,我在芝加哥洛约拉大学和美国西北大学教授未来商业领袖课程,我发现学生更关心企业的社会责任报告,而不是公司年报。当代伴随着宗教信仰的衰退、推迟组建家庭以及对政府信任急剧下降,千禧一代不太可能在“上帝、家庭和国家”中找到使命,所以比以往任何时候都更希望在工作中寻找使命。

身处新环境,麦肯锡还要宣称使命是“协助客户在业绩上实现独特、持久和实质性改进”就显得尤为空洞。为什么如此卓越的公司使命却如此平凡?

杏耀平台目前,对麦肯锡而言最突出的问题就是改变现状。我在公司观察到的绝大多数案例中,都能为客户创造巨大的社会价值、环境价值以及财务价值。而且,从性别平等到气候变化,公司研究和客户工作在当代最重要问题上都取得了重大进展。

其实麦肯锡可以将共同目标置于客户利益之上,仍然能非常成功。广泛的学术研究表明,使命更高远的公司发展前景也较好,因为在利益相关者中忠诚度更高,也更受员工和客户热爱。

杏耀平台值得称赞的是,麦肯锡似乎正逐渐进步。2019年12月9日,麦肯锡允许市长皮特·布蒂吉格公开其客户信息,透明度提升方面走出重要一步,也适当地将民主需求放在公司标准政策之上。作为麦肯锡的前雇员,我收到了一封真诚的电子邮件,内容关于公司如何努力从相关调查报道中吸取教训。

杏耀平台但我仍然担心,向来自傲的麦肯锡改正错误的紧迫感可能没有那么强。去年早些时候,我又收到麦肯锡向前员工通报的调查回应,一上来就称“不管以什么标准,我们都是各家公司中最受尊敬的员工群体。” 类似的措辞表明,麦肯锡的领导层仍然更关注公司优秀的一面,而不是善良。希望社会上的质疑能说服他们:现在人们都期望企业肩负社会使命,努力做好事才能成为真正伟大的公司。(财富中文网)

赛斯·格林是芝加哥洛约拉大学的 鲍姆哈特社会企业和责任中心的创始主任。

译者:梁宇

审校:夏林

杏耀平台Expectations for business have changed dramatically in recent years and McKinsey needs to change too.

I vividly remember my first “Values Day” at McKinsey and Company. Partners from across our firm came together to talk about the principles that guide us as consultants.

One partner talked passionately about how he gained the “courage” to tell his client to make cuts so that the company could be more profitable. Another shared his commitment to having frank conversations with clients “no matter the consequences.”

杏耀平台What struck me most about that day was the ardor that surrounded it. I had always interpreted McKinsey’s value of putting clients’ interests first as a business imperative. But Values Day infused that imperative with a moral purpose: what made us ethical consultants was our relentless commitment to our clients.

杏耀平台Some of us junior consultants had questions. At that time in 2008, our client list included oil and tobacco companies. Would having the courage to tell an underperforming tobacco company to pursue more ambitious marketing tactics be an example of our values in action? If so, are these really values at all?

杏耀平台After two years at McKinsey and a decade of following the firm since, here’s my personal takeaway: McKinsey is filled with good people and problematic values.

As individuals, my colleagues at McKinsey cared deeply about making the world a better place. Most served on nonprofit boards and gave generously to philanthropic causes. They treated others around them with sincere respect—especially those who had less money or power. And, when given the chance, colleagues jumped at the opportunity to serve on projects that had a social or environmental dimension, even when it meant their career growth at the firm might be slightly slower.

But when we served traditional clients in the secrecy of our confidential relationships, one value prevailed: the client’s interests. In recent months, we have seen the human toll of this strict adherence to clients’ interests, as numerous investigative news stories have shown how these interests compelled the firm to recommend rationing food for migrants and accelerate the sales of opioids.

These investigative stories should lead to a reckoning at McKinsey. Expectations for business have changed dramatically in recent years and McKinsey needs to change too. The Great Recession, the rise of the millennial generation, and the decline of faith in government’s ability to solve society’s biggest challenges have dramatically raised our expectations for businesses to deliver positive social and environmental impacts alongside financial returns.

Indeed, research from Edelman indicates that two in three employees now expect their employers to “join them in taking action on societal issues.” Meanwhile, research from Deloitte indicates that more than three in four business executives now see “social impact” as “important or very important” to their company strategy. Even the Business Roundtable—a collection of America’s foremost CEOs—recently redefined the purpose of corporations from serving shareholders to building “an economy that serves all.”

All of this recent research affirms what I’ve seen in my own classrooms. Teaching future business leaders at Loyola University Chicago and Northwestern over the last six years, I’ve found that my students are more likely to ask about a company’s corporate social responsibility report than about its annual report. In a time of declining religious faith, later family development, and plummeting trust in government, millennials are less likely to find their purpose in “God, family, and country.” More than ever, they intend to find their purpose at work.

杏耀平台In this new environment, McKinsey’s stated mission “to help our clients make distinctive, lasting, and substantial improvements in their performance” feels especially hollow. Why would such an extraordinary firm have such an ordinary mission?

What is most striking about McKinsey’s current situation is that it need not be this way. The vast majority of the cases I observed at the firm added significant social and environmental value alongside financial value for our clients. And on many of the most important issues of our time—from gender equity to climate change—the firm’s research and client work has led to significant progress.

McKinsey could place a shared purpose above its clients’ interests and still be a highly successful firm. Indeed, extensive academic research now shows that higher purpose companies are dramatically higher performing over the long term because they have higher loyalty among their stakeholders, especially employees and customers.

杏耀平台To its credit, McKinsey appears to be taking steps forward. On December 9, 2019, McKinsey gave Mayor Pete Buttigieg permission to publicly share his clients at the firm, offering important transparency and appropriately putting our democracy’s needs above the firm’s standard policy. And as an alum of the firm, I have received heartfelt emails on how the firm seeks to learn from the investigative stories about it.

But I still worry that McKinsey’s pride in all it does right may lessen the sense of urgency to correct what is wrong. Earlier last year, I received an alumni update regarding the firm’s response to the investigations that opened by calling us “the most esteemed alumni group of any institution, by any measure.” Such language suggested that our firm’s leadership was still more focused on our greatness than on our goodness. Hopefully the current scrutiny can help persuade McKinsey’s leaders that—in this new era where business is expected to have social purpose—only firms committed to doing good can truly be great.

Seth Green is the Founding Director of the Baumhart Center for Social Enterprise and Responsibility at Loyola University Chicago.

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