Saturday, June 15, 2024

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葡萄樹傳媒

有遠見者,還是以財務為主導者──VISIONARIES VS. THE FINANCIALLY DRIVEN

For English version, please refer to the latter part of this page

我們活在非常不確定的經濟時局。其實或許一直都是這樣,但由於各種原因,目前經濟情況,似乎格外難以預測。問題不在於為什麼會這樣,而是我們應該如何應對。我們是要採取防守姿態,還是選擇主動應對呢?

當經濟可能陷入衰退時,通常有兩種類型的領導者:有遠見的人,以及那些以財務為主導的人。那些以財務為主導的人,通常在決策中採取防守性的方法,試圖排除風險。而有遠見者則從不同的角度出發。他們視即將來臨的經濟衰退為一個機會,擴大吸引顧客和市場佔有率,通常會選擇積極主動的策略,而非僅僅做防守性的應對。

對於基督徒而言,在確定如何應對方面,我們有一個優勢:我們認識那位知道未來的上帝-我們的天父。在舊約中,但以理被要求解釋巴比倫王令人困擾的夢境。但以理告訴他:「你既看見非人手鑿出來的一塊石頭從山而出,打碎金、銀、銅、鐵、泥,那就是至大的神把後來必有的事給王指明。這夢準是這樣,這講解也是確實的。」(但以理書2章45節) 我們可以向上帝祈求類似的智慧,為未來做出計劃。

關鍵的員工決策。當經濟衰退逼近時,以財務為主導的人通常會減少或淘汰員工。但有遠見的人則以不同的方式看待這種情況。在2001年9月11日的恐怖襲擊後,航空業受到嚴重打擊。幾乎所有主要航空公司都開始大規模裁員。然而,西南航空公司並未如此做。他們有遠見的領導者,承諾保留全部員工。在短期內成本雖高,但這奠定了公司在長期快速並獲利擴張的根基。

在彼得前書5章2節我們讀到這樣的忠告 :務要牧養在你們中間神的群羊,按著神旨意照管他們;不是出於勉強,乃是出於甘心;也不是因為貪財,乃是出於樂意。」減少員工有時是不可避免的,但有遠見的領導者看重長遠的,即使在困境時期,也會善待他們的員工。

考慮市場占有率。如果一家公司在財務上具有實力,經濟衰退可能是擴張的理想時機。過去的一個例子就說明了這一點。在2008年的經濟衰退期間,盛極一時的百視達(Blockbuster Video)仍然主宰著影像市場,然而Netflix則逆勢大膽行動。他們的影像串流業務不僅取得了市場占有率,還造成了百事達的衰敗。

我們在以弗所書5章15節的教導中發現了偉大的智慧:「你們要謹慎行事,不要像愚昧人,當像智慧人。」如果你在公司中擔任有影響力的角色,並且看到競爭對手在銷售和營銷方面縮減時,這可能是增加市場占有率的絕佳機會。

供應商關係的風險。在經濟衰退期間,許多以財務為主導的領導者,會冒著破壞供應商關係的風險。他們可能開始強行要求降低價格,並且不如往常的及時付貨款。然而,一位有遠見的領導者,可能會採取更長遠的觀點。提前支付廠商款項,或至少按時支付,可贏得好感,進而獲得價格優惠或更好的條件。這種方式,還有助於建立未來更為堅固的關係。

正如箴言3章27節說:「你手若有行善的力量,不可推辭,就當向那應得的人施行。與其利用和欺負供應商,不如考慮提前支付款項,或者至少按時支付。你可能為未來結交一位朋友。我們活在當下,但必須時刻保持對未來的視野。

註:美國的Forum,稱為Trusted Advisory Forum,就是一群「可信賴的經營者顧問」之分會。

@2023版權所有,經許可改編自 “UBN誠信時刻”,關於職場工作中信仰議題的評論。UBN(非常規企業聯盟)是一個服務小型企業界的國際性職場信仰事工。UBN的官網: www.unconventionalbusiness.org

挑戰思考

在經濟動盪時,個人和專業層面上做決策可能會變得非常困難。你知道有誰,當你在面對壓力重重和具有挑戰性的情況時,能給你建議與諮商?如果你參與CBMC分會,或者是其他一群虔誠的基督徒,請確定當需要時,你會向誰求助來作為可信賴的顧問(trusted advisors)。

備註:如果你有聖經,想閱讀更多相關的內容,請參考下面的經文(因篇幅有限,請自行參閱未列出的經文:箴言2:6、11:14、19:20、20:18;馬太福音6:25-34)

詩篇37篇3-7節
37:3 你當倚靠耶和華而行善,住在地上,以他的信實為糧;
37:4又要以耶和華為樂,他就將你心裡所求的賜給你。
37:5當將你的事交託耶和華,並倚靠他,他就必成全。
37:6他要使你的公義如光發出,使你的公平明如正午。
37:7你當默然倚靠耶和華,耐性等候他;不要因那道路通達的和那惡謀成就的心懷不平。
箴言3章5-6節
3:5你要專心仰賴耶和華,不可倚靠自己的聰明,
3:6在你一切所行的事上都要認定他,他必指引你的路。
箴言15章22節
15:22不先商議,所謀無效;謀士眾多,所謀乃成。
雅各書1章5-8節
1:5你們中間若有缺少智慧的,應當求那厚賜與眾人、也不斥責人的神,主就必賜給他。
1:6只要憑著信心求,一點不疑惑;因為那疑惑的人,就像海中的波浪,被風吹動翻騰。
1:7這樣的人不要想從主那裡得什麼。
1:8心懷二意的人,在他一切所行的路上都沒有定見。

反省與問題討論

  1. 看看你工作的地方,你會認為整體的經營理念是有遠見的,還是以財務為主導的呢?請解釋你的答案。
  2. 你有沒有遇到過公司的決策完全是基於財務考量,僅僅基於眼前的經濟狀況的呢?這樣的觀點和行動,可能帶來了什麼好處,又或會有什麼後果呢?
  3. 在經濟發展產生困難時,採取有遠見的方法,會帶來一些什麼可能的風險?。你個人是否有經歷或觀察到任何這樣的風險?
  4. 在對上帝的信仰和祂的指引下,努力工作和經營企業或組織,你會如何確定哪種方法最適合-是有遠見?還是以財務為主導呢?


VISIONARIES VS. THE FINANCIALLY DRIVEN

By Rick Boxx

We live in very uncertain economic times. It probably has always been that way, but for a variety of reasons, economic conditions seem especially unpredictable now. The question is not why this is so, but how we should respond. Do we take a defensive posture, or should we choose a proactive approach?

When recessions are likely, there are typically two types of leaders: Visionaries, and those who are financially driven. The financially driven often take a defensive approach in their decisions, trying to eliminate risk. Visionaries, however, operate from a different perspective. They regard a looming recession as an opportunity to build customers and market share, often adopting an offensive strategy instead of reacting defensively.

For followers of Jesus Christ, we have an advantage in determining how to respond: We know the One who knows the future, our Heavenly Father. In the Old Testament, Daniel was asked to interpret the Babylonian king’s troubling dream. Daniel told him, “The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future” (Daniel 2:45). We can ask the Lord for similar wisdom in planning for the future.

Key staffing decisions. When a recession is looming, the financially driven will typically reduce or eliminate staff. But a visionary sees the situation differently. After the terrorist acts of Sept. 11, 2001, the airline industry was devastated. Nearly all major airlines began to make massive layoffs. Southwest Airlines, however, did not. Their visionary leaders committed to keeping their entire staff working. Costly in the short term, it positioned the company for rapid and profitable expansion over the long term. 

In 1 Peter 5:2 we read the admonition, “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing.” Staff reductions are sometimes inevitable, but visionary leaders look long term, shepherding their people well, even during bad times.

Considering market share. If a company has the strength financially, recessions can be an ideal time to expand. An example from the past illustrates this point. While Blockbuster Video stores still dominated the video market, Netflix made a bold move during the 2008 recession. Their video streaming business not only captured market share, but also factored into the demise of Blockbuster. 

We find great wisdom in the teaching of Ephesians 5:15, “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.” If you are in a role of influence at your company and see your competition pulling back on their sales and marketing efforts, this could be an excellent opportunity to increase market share. 

Supplier relationships at risk. Many financially driven leaders will risk jeopardizing supplier relationships during a recession. They might start demanding price concessions while not paying their vendors as promptly. A visionary, however, may take a longer-term view. Offering to pay vendors early, or at least on time, can win favor that may lead to price concessions or better terms. This approach can also have the effect of building stronger relationships for the future. 

As Proverbs 3:27 says, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.” Rather than using and abusing your suppliers, consider paying them early, or at least on time. You will likely build a friend for the future. We live in the present but must always keep the future in view.

Copyright 2023, Unconventional Business Network. Adapted with permission from “UBN Integrity Moments.” Visit www.unconventionalbusiness.org UBN is a faith at work ministry serving the international small business community.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. Looking at where you work, would you say the overall operating philosophy is visionary or financially driven? Explain your answer.
  2. Have you experienced situations in which company decisions have been financially driven, made solely upon immediate economic circumstances? What were the benefits – or consequences – of taking and acting upon such a perspective?
  3. What are some possible risks of taking a visionary approach during times of difficult economic developments? Have you personally experienced or observed any of these?
  4. In terms of striving to work and operate a business or organization within a context of faith in God and His guidance, how would you go about determining which approach – visionary or financially driven – would be best?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages :  Psalm 37:3-7; Proverbs 2:6, 3:5-6, 11:14, 15:22, 19:20, 20:18; Matthew 6:25-34; James 1:5-8

Challenge

Making decisions, personally as well as professionally, can be very difficult during times of economic turmoil. Who do you know that you could rely on for advice and counsel when confronted with stressful and challenging circumstances? If you are in a CBMC group, or part of another group of committed followers of Jesus Christ, determine who you would turn to as trusted advisors when needed.



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