愈大就一定愈好嗎?

By Robert J. Tamasy

當我們開啟一項事業時,一定希望能吸引買方或客戶。一旦達成目標,問題就變成「我們如何能更成長?」然後是,「我們應該成長多少?」每個公司對這兩個問題的答案可能不一樣,但成長很少被認為是壞事。愈大就愈好,不是嗎?能有更多利潤;更大的影響力;更出名的品牌。然而,此時或許問另一個問題才是明智的:「多大是太大?」

我會想到這個問題,是讀到行銷部落客--賽特•高定(Set Godin)的一篇貼文。在文章中他提到在美國的一個大城市中有一家擁有超過1,000間客房的大飯店。我想我知道他說的是哪一家飯店,因為我有幾次住過他所形容的那間飯店。我們可能會想,一家擁有超過1,000間客房的奢華、美麗飯店能有什麼不好之處?

正如高定所指出,飯店投宿登記總要排很長的隊,讓客人在入住和退房時都要等上許久。設備齊全的健身中心,即使在清晨5點也常擠滿了人,這意味著不太可能在那兒進行嚴格的運動健身習慣。至於個人化的服務,飯店員工完全不可能會認識客人,因為無法辨識客人的名字和臉孔,更不會向客人親切的打招呼。

公司想要變大的原因之一,是因為那可以賺更多錢,股東就會高興。公司的財務資源能提供股東更好的福利,這是小公司只能夢想的境界。但如同高定所問,變大是否是最重要的?還是努力成為更好,而不去管規模大小,才是經營企業的重點?

我有時會到所謂的「量販店」購物,在那裏人們可以買大量的產品,而店家能提供比競爭者更便宜的價格。這有絕對的吸引力。但無一例外,那些量販店的客戶服務就不怎麼樣。有時想要找一位員工尋求協助似乎不可能。所以,對身為顧客的我而言,「更大」絕對不一定代表更好。

這不是說成長,且成為更大都是不好的。但應該要謹慎,要有一個經過深思熟慮的計畫,以避免因為「大」而破壞了當初企業之所以成功的基本價值觀。以下是聖經中的原則,有些是我們非常熟悉,很有幫助,且值得我們思考:

服務應該永遠是最重要的。好公司都是以卓越的服務和產品聞名。當客戶得到好的服務,他們就會成為老客戶。「正如人子來,不是要受人的服事,乃是要服事人,並且要捨命,作多人的贖價」(馬太福音20章28節)。

致力於滿足期待或甚至超越期待。在商場我們總是希望有利可圖,而致力做最好的客戶服務就會讓我們得到最多的利益和最高的回報率。「…施比受更為有福」(使徒行傳20章35節)。

專注於使命。我們可以追求成長的偉大夢想,但要小心,不要成長到無法維持公司的使命和價值觀。「明哲人眼前有智慧;愚昧人眼望地極」(箴言17章24節)。

勞勃.泰默西是領袖資產協會的傳播部副部長,這是一個總部在美國喬治亞州亞特蘭大的非營利組織。他寫過一本書「最佳狀態的商業:箴言給今日職場的歷久彌新智慧」(Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today”s Workplace);他也與David A. Stoddard合著一本書「導師之心」(The Heart of Mentoring)

省思/討論題目

當你聽到「愈大愈好」這句話時,你的第一個反應是甚麼? 你是否能想到一些,規模變大不僅讓公司獲取更高的利潤,而且使公司整體更好的例子? 一個企業主、或公司領導團隊如何讓公司不斷成長,同時又能分辨在哪一個時刻,繼續成長可能變成一項負債? 可能你不是企業主,甚至也不是高級主管,不必擔負公司成長的責任。然而,我們都必須思考成長的議題,因為它會影響我們的生活和工作:我應該或我可以再承擔多少工作?如果我的成長將犧牲與家人在一起或個人興趣的時間和精力,那麼我還該為升遷努力嗎?當我們考慮個人和工作上的成長機會(或試探)時,還可以問自己那些其他的問題?

註:若你有聖經且想要讀更多有關此主題的經文,請參考以下經節:箴言11章14節,18章15節,20章5節;馬太福音4章42-44節,6章19-21節、33節,19章19節;加拉太書5章13-14節;帖撒羅尼迦前書4章9-12節

IS BIGGER ALWAYS BETTER?

By Robert J. Tamasy

When a business gets started, the hope is that it will attract customers or clients. But once that”s assured, the question becomes, “How can we grow?” followed by, “How much should we grow?” While answers to both questions vary by company, growth is rarely regarded as a bad thing. The bigger the better, right? More profits. Greater impact. Bigger brand. Sometimes, however, it might be wise to ask a different question: “How big is too big?”

This came to mind after reading a post by marketing blogger Seth Godin. In it he cited a huge hotel in a large U.S.A. city that has more than 1,000 rooms. I have a good idea of which one he was referring to, since I have been to one much like he described on a few occasions. We might be tempted to wonder, what could be bad about a lavish, ornate hotel with more than 1,000 rooms?

As Godin pointed out, the hotel check-in line was always long, requiring a lengthy wait for guests arriving or preparing to depart. The fully equipped fitness center was usually filled, as early as 5 a.m., meaning the likelihood of getting a rigorous workout that fits into one”s schedule is far from certain. And as for personal service, there is virtually no possibility of any hotel staff member knowing, much less greeting, a guest by name or even recognizing their face.

Establishments like that become big because they generate money. Shareholders are happy. Their financial resources allow them to offer amenities smaller establishments could only dream about. But as Godin asked, is being bigger most important, or is striving to become better, regardless of size, the key?

I sometimes shop at the so-called “big-box stores,” where they can buy large quantities of products and offer them more cheaply than competitors. That has some appeal. But invariably, these stores are not known for customer service. Sometimes finding an employee to ask for help seems impossible. So for me as the consumer, bigger definitely is not always better.

That is not to say growth, and becoming bigger, is universally bad. But it should be pursued with caution, and with a clearly thought-out plan on how to avoid letting “bigness” undermine the fundamental values that helped the business become established and prosperous from the start. Here are principles from the Bible, some of them very familiar, that might be helpful to consider:

Service should always remain paramount. The best companies are known for excellent service, as well as products. When people are served well, they become repeat customers. “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).

Commitment to meet or even exceed expectations. In business we always hope for a profitable day, but sometimes committing to doing the best for the customer is the greatest reward, with the highest return rate. “…'It is more blessed to give than to receive'” (Acts 20:35).

Focus on the mission. We can entertain great dreams of growth, but at what point will growth make it difficult to remain true to the corporate mission and values? “A discerning man keeps wisdom in view, but a fool”s eyes wander to the ends of the earth” (Proverbs 17:24).

© 2016. Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. Bob has written Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today”s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; and coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

What is your first reaction when you hear the statement, “Bigger is better”? Can you think of examples when being bigger did result in making for a better company, not just one that reaps higher profits? Explain your answer. How can a business owner, or corporate leadership team, go about evaluating how to grow, as well as being able to discern at what point continued growth could become a liability? Maybe you are not a business owner, or even a top executive that must wrestle with corporate growth issues. However, we all must consider growth issues as they affect us personally and professionally: How much more work should I or can I take on? Should I strive for that promotion, even if it might require sacrificing time and energy I can now devote to family or personal interests? What other questions are worth asking ourselves as we ponder opportunities – or temptations – for personal and professional growth?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 11:14, 18:15, 20:5; Matthew 4:42-44, 6:19-21,33, 19:19; Galatians 5:13-14

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