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2017年最优秀的商业领袖有什么共同点?

财富中文网 2017年11月27日

他们将在这里寻找能带领他们的企业走向未来的智慧。

我们都知道应该少吃多睡多运动。听到这些忠告时,我们一本正经地做点头状,转过头来就吃个双层芝士汉堡,刷手机刷到后半夜,或是经常在办公桌后面久坐不动。毕竟理想很丰满,现实很骨感,而现实的骨感总是能打败理想的丰满。

企业的高管也是凡人,凡人就有同样的毛病。每当有人对他们提出“想长远些”的忠告,他们也会一本正经地点点头,转过头来一心只想把下季度的财报弄得再红火些。

就像健康饮食和经常锻炼对身体好一样,那些着眼企业未来长远发展、对研发进行大量投资的企业,也必然会比那些短视的企业发展得更好,相关的例子也不胜枚举。今年二月,麦肯锡全球研究所发布的一份案例分析报告就揭示了以下数据——通过对2001至2004年的615家大中型企业的研究,麦肯锡的研究人员发现,所谓的“长期型企业”的营收增长率和利润要显著高于那些短视型企业。他们的市值也增长得更快,而且他们就算在金融危机期间也表现得好于短视型企业。(看到这里,您可能又会一本正经地点点头了。)

问题是,人们很容易就会把这类研究和白皮书忘在脑后。但像英伟达CEO黄仁勋这样的成功商人,却绝对不是一个容易让人忘记的人。黄仁勋也被《财富》评为2017年年度商业人物。这位现年54岁的英伟达CEO于1993年在创办了英伟达,如今这家芯片制造商的市值已经直逼IBM。《财富》数字编辑安德鲁努斯卡在12月1日刊的《财富》杂志写道,英伟达生产的是“强大而神奇的东西”,它的图形处理芯片(即GPU)可以在视频游戏和电影中营造出奇妙的“视频焰火”。过去四个季度,英伟达的销售额达90亿美元,利润达到26亿美元,它的三年增长率也高得令人咂舌。

更值得一提的是,英伟达的最新芯片已经能够支持深度神经网络了,后者正是人工智能革命的基石。英伟达的成绩并不是偶然的。黄仁勋从未把他的目光从未来移开,即便是10年前股价疲软的时候。英伟达的一名高管对《财富》回忆道:“那时全世界还不太理解我们做的是什么东西。”然而黄仁勋深知,他的公司研发这种先进的芯片将为一个新时代奠基。他表示:“同样的一个故事我已经讲了15年了,我几乎连我的PPT都没改过。”

如果你再看看《财富》年度商业人物排行榜上的其他19位入选者,你就会发现,他们的共同特点就是眼光相当长远,且有勇气去相信未来。贝索斯、贝尼奥夫、戴蒙等知名商人自不必提,Ulta Beauty公司的玛丽迪龙、Progressive公司的特里西亚格里菲斯和有勇气变革百年老店皇家飞利浦的万豪敦等则更是如此。

在长远投资上,最有说服力的一个例子就是中国政府,中国政府把目光投向了几十年时间跨度下的创新,特别是加大了在先进半导体和机器人等可能重新定义整个工业的若干重点领域的投资。这也是为什么我们将于下月在广州举办“2017全球财富论坛”,以及为什么届时将有数百名CEO和企业家从世界各地赶来参会。

他们将在这里寻找能带领他们的企业走向未来的智慧。我们相信,他们着眼的未来,也将是接下来的一二十年——而非仅仅是下个季度。

译者:贾政景

本文的另一版本刊登于2017年12月1日刊的《财富》杂志上。

We’ve all been told to eat right, sleep longer, exercise more. We nod politely, and then many of us go back to our double cheeseburgers, late nights, and long stretches behind a desk. There is the wisdom of the ages, after all, and there is the reality of the day. On most days, the day wins.

That, inevitably, is how many corporate executives respond when they are reminded—as they so often are—of the advantages of “thinking long term” about their businesses: They nod politely and then go back to planning feverishly for the next quarter.

The evidence supporting the notion that future-minded companies—those that invest substantially in R&D and focus on developing and growing businesses far into the future—outperform the short-term thinkers is overwhelming, just as it is, of course, for the benefits of healthy diets and exercise. A February report from the McKinsey Global Institute lays out the business case with the kind of power data analysis you’d expect from the number crunchers there: Studying a universe of 615 large and midsize companies over the years 2001 to 2014, McKinsey researchers found that “long-term firms,” as they define them, had significantly higher revenue growth and profit than the short-termers. Their market value grew faster, and they fared better during the financial crisis too. (Feel free to nod politely.)

The problem is, studies and white papers can be easy to ignore. Much harder to ignore is someone like Jensen Huang, Fortune’s 2017 Businessperson of the Year. The 54-year-old CEO of Nvidia (NVDA, +0.94%), who cofounded the Silicon Valley chipmaker in 1993, has built it into a 21st-century phenom that now rivals IBM in market capitalization. As Fortune digital editor Andrew Nusca writes in our Dec.1 issue (please see his wonderfully lively profile of Huang here), Nvidia makes the “muscular mystery stuff”—the graphics processing units, or GPUs—that enable the “visual fireworks” in new video games and movies. In the past four quarters, it has racked up profits of $2.6 billion on $9 billion in sales, capping a three-year growth rate that is nothing short of astonishing.

The company’s latest chips, importantly, support the deep neural networks that are powering the modern revolution in artificial intelligence. But that didn’t happen by accident. Huang never took his aim off the future, even when the stock was floundering a decade ago. “The world didn’t quite realize what we were building,” an Nvidia exec tells Fortune. But the CEO knew his sophisticated chips were foundational. Says Huang, “I’ve been talking about the same story for 15 years. I’ve barely had to change my slides.”

You’ll see the same far-horizon gaze—and the courage to believe in it—in the other 19 CEOs who made our “Businessperson of the Year” list. You’ll see it in Bezos and Benioff and Dimon. It’s embedded in the careers of Ulta Beauty’s Mary Dillon and Progressive’s Tricia Griffith. It’s there in Frans van Houten’s ongoing transformation of the 126-year-old Royal Philips.

Perhaps most tellingly, you’ll see that same invest-in-what’s-next mindset in the Chinese government, which is helping to power the coming decades of innovation in that country—particularly in critical areas such as advanced semiconductors and robotics that are redefining industry. That’s a big reason we’re convening the 2017Fortune Global Forum in Guangzhou this month—and why hundreds of CEOs and entrepreneurs from around the world will join us.

They’ll be looking for wisdom that will help them lead their companies into the future. And you can bet they’d like that to mean the next decade or two—not the next quarter.

A version of this article appears in the Dec. 1, 2017 issue of Fortune with the headline “Betting Long.”

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