縮放:高效能領導人如何調整自己的焦點

Zooming: How Effective Leaders Adjust Their Focus
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哈佛商學院教授羅莎貝絲.摩斯.肯特(Rosabeth Moss Kanter),解釋為什麼高階主管必須不斷同時考慮大局和細節。更多內容請見〈見樹又見林的領導人〉。

凱薩琳.貝爾:歡迎收看HBR IdeaCast。我是凱瑟琳.貝爾。今天的來賓是哈佛商學院企管教授羅莎貝絲.肯特,她專精於策略、創新和領導變革,為常為《哈佛商業評論》寫專欄和部落文,並撰寫文章〈見樹又見林的領導人〉,刊登於2011年3月號。非常感謝妳今天來到現場。

羅莎貝絲.肯特:我很高興來參加。

凱薩琳.貝爾:妳為企業領導人界定了一項很重要的新技能,就是有效變焦的能力。請說明妳想表達的意思。

羅莎貝絲.肯特:這是用另一種方式來進行策略思考,但這種策略思維必須保持彈性。它必須在幾個層次上運作。你必須能夠向後退以看清整體情勢,整個大局,同時又能走近看清細節。但一定要有彈性,能在整個光譜中移動。

我很喜愛變焦按鈕,相機、手機、照片上都有。我覺得這真的是完美的隱喻。我總是在用它。我會說,背景中有什麼,我怎樣才能看到它,同時我該如何找到一個區域,看起來可以在那裡採取行動。我發現我們需要這種彈性的動態能力,才能在任何組織中或我們的生活中,進行策略思考,並推進行動。

凱薩琳.貝爾:是否在哪些特定情況下,近焦或遠焦模式真的很重要,我們是否可以開始分辨出那些情況?或是基本上,任何情境或決定,都可以從這兩種觀點受益?

羅莎貝絲.肯特:我認為,任何情況下都應該有些彈性,檢視光譜的兩端。我不確定,專注細節是否有很多好處。其實,太過接近會產生很多問題。

首先,你把自己反射得太大了。因此,放大並陷入那種觀點的人,傾向從個人的角度看事物。他們往往會開始檢視自己被對待的方式,而沒有看到周遭環境,沒有看到不同選項。他們也不能從時間觀點去看事物,跨越不同時間,去了解他們努力要實現的目標。所以,我真的沒看到這樣做有太多好處。

另一方面,也是在這個領域裡,有些人的做法,是透過個人關係、人情交換來運作。遠焦模式,我認為在這個領域裡,關注大局的好處真的對你有幫助,特別在困難或麻煩時期,你必須採取行動的時候,但發生的事情太多了,無論看起來像是人身攻擊,或小故障或出現問題。

我有一個知名的肯特定律,那就是每件事進展到一半時,都可能看起來像是失敗。但你若能採用遠焦模式,就一定能找到潛在的原則、持久的真理、真正的目標,以及策略。當然,如果你就陷在那裡,也會是問題,因為你可能沒看到新浮現的現象。所以,你必須不時地回頭檢視細節。但我認為,退後觀看大局,對所有人都有好處。

凱薩琳.貝爾:那麼是否可以說,這種做法只放在組織層次或團隊層次是不夠的,必須讓有些人負責思考大局,而其他人照顧細節?

羅莎貝絲.肯特:我覺得應該這麼說,人們若不能隨時保持彈性,了解彼此,就無法好好溝通。我們都參加過這樣的會議,有人想要概括出通則、概要,而沒有真正關注具體情況是什麼。另一些人則推近焦距,立即開始只談論細節。他們開始講述故事,他們有個人軼事,他們從未理解策略,所以他們只是各說各話。

我認為,我們確實必須鼓勵人們具備這兩種能力。但我認為,也可以鼓勵領導人在會議上說,讓我們推近焦距,檢視一些細節。但現在,讓我們拉遠焦距,綜觀大局,讓我們把這些放在一起,看看附近還有什麼,讓我們看看不同的選項。這真的很有幫助。我不認為你可以取得平衡。我認為,真的必須讓人們學習如何做這兩件事。

凱薩琳.貝爾:我覺得,大多數人往往自認是更注重大局的人,不然就是更注重細節的人。我們可以做些什麼,來學習更好地進行變焦?

羅莎貝絲.肯特:我先從喜歡近焦模式的人說起,這意味太過個人化,試圖透過個人關係來工作。如果有新的機會,近焦型的人會說,我有沒有認識誰,然後開始查看自己的人脈。必須鼓勵他們把這看成更一般性的任務,也就是如何找到可能幫得上忙的人,而不是我認識的人。你可以開始用一些心理技巧,協助自己做到這一點。

如果你看著通訊內容說,我被排擠了,或我被侮辱了,這也有一個心理技巧,你可以說我不會被侮辱,我不會不高興。我或這樣做的人,首先要問這當中的利害關係是什麼,為什麼會發生這種事。如果你問為什麼會發生這種事,如果你一直問為什麼,就更容易退後一步,用整體觀點看這個問題。

這個方法很有效,因為焦距拉得太近的人,近焦型的人,常常是很有才華和技能的人,但在升遷時常被忽略。因此我開始認為,這種能力很重要,如此才能找到會進行策略思考的領導人。

凱薩琳.貝爾:如果你身為領導人,必須掌握大局和策略格局,也要關注個人層次上的各種細節,你要如何避免資訊超載、被資訊淹沒?

羅莎貝絲.肯特:我們從未說過領導很容易。領導確實需要有才能的人,能同時兼顧很多事情。你對自己說,我必須看清楚細節。但接著我必須看出,其中哪些事情很重要。要知道哪些事情重要,你就必須再次拉遠焦距,了解目標是什麼?原則是什麼?範圍是什麼?附近還有什麼?當你取得這些資訊的組合,就更容易整理出優先順序。

裡面有太多細節,就像看地圖一樣。我每次在看Google地圖或MapQuest時,也很喜歡放大和縮小,因為想要知道特定的目的地,以及周邊有什麼。但你也應退後一步,自問是否還有其他路線?我如何從全面觀點來看待它?這有助於你處理資訊超載,如此你就能選擇正確路線前往目的地,不在意其他許多細節。

凱薩琳.貝爾:妳在文章裡提到性別面向。刻板印象認為,女性較傾向採用近焦模式,男性則較傾向遠焦模式。能否請妳簡單談談這種情況?

羅莎貝絲.肯特:我會注意到性別面向,是因為有一個著名的發現,就是女性接受績效評估時,在21世紀的所有領導技能都表現很好,唯有願景除外。所以我開始在這種背景下思考這個問題,因為願景是把焦距拉到最遠,找到方向,觀看全貌,綜觀大局。

我問自己,為什麼會這樣。我認為,是那些角色,在個人生活和組織裡的角色,多年來的傳統刻板角色造成性別差異,因為女性常被安排擔任的角色,會因注重細節而獲得獎勵。我在很多年前就發現這點。

即使是擔任高階主管的女性,職位也稍微更偏向交易性質,她們被期望提交完美的財務報告。我們看到很多女性擔任財務長,但有更多女性從事細節導向的工作,即便身居高位,而較少看到女性負責勾勒願景,宣布這是一個新的方向,我們都將朝著這個方向前進。所以我開始認為,這是角色問題。

如果我們注意到這一點,就能幫忙提供一些平衡。這個模式很適合應用在領導力發展方面,可協助人們擺脫自己的舒適區,不再堅持可獲得獎勵的技能,而是學會變得更有彈性,或遠或近調整焦距。變焦按鈕很容易操作。你可以很輕鬆地透過數位設備,來檢視不同層次的情況。我認為,我們的心智可以做到。

凱薩琳.貝爾:羅莎貝絲,非常感謝你今天受訪。我是凱薩琳.貝爾。這是HBR IdeaCast。請上我們的官網閱讀〈見樹又見林的領導人〉。

(劉純佑譯)


Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School professor, explains why executives must constantly consider both the big picture and the details. For more, read "Zoom In, Zoom Out."

Katherine Bell: Welcome to the HBR IdeaCast. I'm Katherine Bell. I'm here today with Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School where she specializes in strategy, innovation, and leading change. She's a regular columnist and blogger for Harvard Business Review and the author of the recent article Zoom In, Zoom Out in our March issue. Thanks so much for being with us today.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter: My pleasure.

Katherine Bell: So you've defined a critical new skill for business leaders, the ability to zoom in and zoom out effectively. Tell us what you mean by that.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter: This is another way of thinking about strategic thinking, but that strategic thinking has to be flexible. It has to work at several levels. You have to be able to stand back to see the context, the big picture, while moving in to see some details. But make sure that flexibly you're moving across the spectrum.

I love the zoom button on cameras, on my phone, on photos. And I thought, that's really a perfect metaphor. I'm always playing with it. I'm saying, what's in the background and how can I see that but also how can I find the one area that looks like it might be a point for action. And I realize that we need that flexible dynamic capability in order to think strategically and move the action along in any organization or in our lives.

Katherine Bell: So are there certain situations in which it's really important to be either zoomed in or zoomed out, situations that we can start to recognize? Or is it that basically any scenario or any decision can really benefit from both perspectives?

Rosabeth Moss Kanter: Well I think there should be some flexible looking at both ends of the spectrum in any situation. I'm not sure that there is that much virtue to staying close in and close to the details. In fact, there are a lot of problems that occur if you're too close in.

First of all, you see yourself too big reflected back. So the people that zoom in and get stuck there tend to personalize things. They tend to begin to look at the ways in which they're being treated. They don't see the context, they don't see alternatives. And they also can't put things in a time perspective to move across time to see what they're really trying to achieve. So I really don't see too many virtues there.

On the other hand, that is a realm in which some people operate by personal relationships, trading of favors, and so forth. Zooming out-- I think that's a place where the virtues of staying with the big picture can really help you, particularly during difficult or trouble times where you need to take action, but there are so many things that happened that appear to be either a personal attack or a glitch or a problem.

I have my famous Kanter's law, everything can look like a failure in the middle. But when you're able to zoom out, you always find the underlying principles, the enduring truths, what's truly the goal, the strategy. Now, of course, if you just stay stuck there, that's also a problem because you might not see a new emerging phenomenon. So you've got to keep going back to look at the details from time to time. But I think standing back to see the big picture is good for all of us.

Katherine Bell: So is it right to say that it's not enough to have this work in an organizational level or at a team level so that some people are responsible for thinking about the big picture while other people take care of the details?

Rosabeth Moss Kanter: I think what happens then, if people aren't always flexible and able to understand one another, they talk past each other. So we've all been in meetings like that where there's one person who immediately wants to generalize, make it abstract, and doesn't really pay attention to what the particular situation is. There are other people at the zoom in or the close in side, who immediately start talking only about details. They start telling stories, they have personal anecdotes, and they never get the strategy so they're talking past one another.

So I think we do have to encourage people to have both capabilities. But I think we can also encourage leaders in those meetings to say, well let's zoom in and look at some of the details. But now let's zoom out and let's see the big picture, let's put those together, let's see what else is in the neighborhood, let's look at alternatives. And that can really help. So I don't think you can balance it. I think you really need to have people learn how to do both things.

Katherine Bell: I think most of us tend to think of ourselves as more big picture people or more detail- oriented people. What can we do to learn to be better at that process of zooming in and zooming out?

Rosabeth Moss Kanter: I'll start with the close in people because this-- close in, again means taking it too personally, trying to work through personal relationships. If there's a new opportunity, a close in person is going to say, who do I know and start looking at their own network. So they would need to be encouraged to think of this as a more general task which is how do I find the people that might be helpful not who do I know. So you can begin some mental tricks that help you do that.

And if you're looking at communications and saying, gee, I'm left out or I'm insulted, there is, again, a mental trick where you say I'm not going to get insulted, I'm not going to get upset. I or the person doing it are first going to ask, what's at stake here, why is this happening. And if you ask why is this happening, if you ask why questions all the time, then it's a lot easier to be able to stand back and put it in perspective.

It's very therapeutic because people who zoom in too much, who are close in, are often the people who may have a lot of talent and skills. But they're bypassed for promotion. This is why I am beginning to think this capability is so important if we want leaders who thinks strategically.

Katherine Bell: If you as a leader need to be able to grasp the big picture, the strategic picture, and also the details in this personally-focused level of things, how do you avoid information overload and just being overwhelmed?

Rosabeth Moss Kanter: We never said leadership was easy. So it does take talented people who can juggle a lot of things. You say to yourself, I've got to look in to see the details. But then I have to say, which of these are important. And you only know that importance when you zoom out again and say, what's the goal, what are the principles, what's the territory, what else is in the neighborhood. And so when you have the combination, it makes it easier to sort out priorities.

Because too many details -- It's like looking at a map. I also love zooming in and zooming out every time on Google Maps or MapQuest because you want to know the specific destination and exactly what around it. But then you want to stand back and ask yourself, are there other routes? How do I see it in full perspective? And that helps you with overload so then you can pick the right route to the destination and let go of a lot of the other details.

Katherine Bell: So in the article, you mentioned a gender dimension to this. There's a stereotype of women tending to be more zoomed in and men tending to be more zoomed out. Can you talk just briefly about how that plays out?

Rosabeth Moss Kanter: Well the gender dimension came to mind because there's a famous finding that women do very well on performance appraisals in terms of all 21st century leadership skills, except vision. And so I started thinking about that in this context, too, because vision is the ultimate zooming out, finding the direction, looking at the big map, looking at the big picture.

And I ask myself, so why is it. And I thought the roles, both in personal life and in organizations that, for so many years were the traditional stereotypical roles do differentiate by gender because women are often put in roles where they are rewarded for looking at the details. I found this many years ago.

Even women in executive roles are in positions that are a little bit more transactional, where they're expected to have the perfect financial report. We're seeing a lot of women as CFOs but we're seeing more women in details-oriented jobs, even at the top, than we are in the vision getting up and declaring here's a new direction we're all going to march toward. So I began to think this was a role issue.

And if we are aware of that, we could help provide a little equalization. This model has a great deal of applicability to leadership development and could help people get out of their comfort zone or stick with the skills that are rewarded and, instead, learn to be much more flexible and move up and down that scale. That button is so easy. You can so easily look at various levels through digital equipment. And I thought, our minds can do that, too.

Katherine Bell: Thanks so much for being with us today, Rosabeth. I'm Katherine Bell. This has been the HBR IdeaCast. For the article, Zoom in, Zoom out, and four more, please go to hbr.org..



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