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專欄 - 向Anne提問

商界精英如何在非營利機構吃得開

Anne Fisher 2014年03月27日

Anne Fisher為《財富》雜志《向Anne提問》的專欄作者,這個職場專欄始于1996年,幫助讀者適應經濟的興衰起落、行業轉換,以及工作中面臨的各種困惑。
非營利機構的確需要商業人士的技能,但個人要想從商界轉戰非營利性事業,這種轉變往往并不順利。需要做好多方面的準備,才能實現平穩過渡。

親愛的安妮:我最早投身金融行業,是在30年前位于中東地區的一家醫療公益組織,后來進入私營行業。現在,我在一家大公司做到了資深高管的位置。在這家公司,我的職業生涯已經達到最高點了,而且我快要六十歲了,正是該考慮“退休”的時候(雖然我并不想停止工作)。當地一家慈善機構的總裁即將退休,我們曾在另外一家非營利機構的董事會上見過面,他一直希望我能在他退休之后接替他,這是一個很有吸引人的想法。

????但讓我猶豫不決的是,首先,我知道,非營利機構的董事會成員與非營利機構的日常運營完全是兩回事。我不確定自己是否合適這個職務。其次,上一次我在非營利機構全職工作已經是很久以前的事情了。我敢肯定,現在的情況肯定發生了巨大的變化。如何順利完成這種轉變,您和您的讀者有什么建議?——J.J.

親愛的J.J.:首先是好消息:經過五年左右的艱苦等待,許多非營利機構已經開始從經濟衰退的影響中恢復過來。咨詢公司Nonprofit HR最新的調查發現,約有45%的非營利機構計劃在今年創造新的工作崗位,僅有7%計劃裁員——而在2009年,約有22%的非營利機構裁員。調查顯示,在招聘新高管的非營利機構中,約40%希望從商業領域物色經驗豐富的管理者。

????獵頭公司Salveson Stetson Group的非營利業務負責人約翰?薩爾凡森說:“非營利機構高級職位的傳統候選人往往是某個具體領域專家,例如,他們在運營孤獨癥基金會方面可能有豐富的專門經驗,但現在,這種專業人才可能無法符合要求。政府削減了資助,對私人捐助的爭奪愈加激烈,所以商業技能變得更加重要。非營利機構必須‘更聰明地開展工作’,要像經營性公司那樣思考問題。”

????即便如此,正如你所懷疑的那樣,將自己的商業技能應用到非營利機構可能依然是一個非常困難的過程。薩爾凡森建議,任何人在打算進入非營利機構之前,都應該考慮下面三個因素:

????1. 利益相關者。他說:“最大的不同是你需要考慮的利益相關者的數量。在非營利機構中,利益相關者要遠遠多于公司。所有人都認為,自己的意見同樣重要,必須得到重視。”

????例如,公益醫院的負責人,必須讓當地政府、聯邦政府、醫院理事會、社區、患者、患者家屬、醫生、護士、其他員工和志愿者滿意——所有人對于任何決定都可能出現強烈沖突的觀點。薩爾凡森說:“承認每個人的重要性,然后協調他們的利益,會讓運營一家非營利機構變得非常復雜。”作為董事,你對此或許已經有所體會,但作為負責人,你要做好面對瓶頸的準備。

????2. 文化。薩爾凡森經常建議求職者們,改變在公司中的觀念,準備好接受“更注重協作的決策過程”。原因之一是,“工作人員的工資往往低于市場水平,因為他們對機構正在從事的事業充滿熱情。甚至有大批志愿者根本是在無償服務。”所以,薩爾凡森認為,與你目前的下屬形成鮮明對比的是,“非營利機構的工作人員不一定要聽從你的指示。”所以,管理者最好多花些工夫,讓所有人支持你和你的計劃。

????除此之外,薩爾凡森說:“許多職業非營利機構員工對于從公司中外聘的管理者有一種先入為主的看法。他們認為,你習慣了不受限制的財政資源,你總是把利潤擺在優先于人的位置。”所以,你要“放緩腳步,與所有人進行交流,少說多聽,”以此來贏得他們的尊重。

????3. 董事會。你或許已經注意到,非營利機構的董事會在公司的眼中更像是“激進主義者”。他們會,或者是經常試圖深度參與到機構的運營,經常高談闊論,甚至監視(更不用說事后審查了)你的一舉一動。此外,過去幾年,非營利機構董事會的角色一直在不斷變化,包括更多資金募集的職責,“但這些通常并不是最初跟他們約定的職責。”薩爾凡森表示:“所以,你的工作中非常微妙的一部分,可能是讓這些人體面的退出,尋找愿意從事開發工作的人來代替。”

????薩爾凡森建議,在從事任何高管職位之前,尤其是機構領導者,你應該盡可能了解這家機構的董事會。他說:“他們也應該對你有所了解,確保你們能夠基本達成共識。就算你考慮的是首席財務官的職位,也應該與董事會財務委員會的負責人見見面吧。如果他或她沒有興趣見你,那就沒有留下了的必要。”

????另外一點:就像衡量一家經營性公司的職位一樣,薩爾凡森建議:“要進行盡職調查。研究公司的財務狀況,包括他們的融資方式,他們的主要資金來源是否穩定等。總之,必須睜大眼睛。”祝你好運。

????反饋:你是否曾在公司和非營利機構之間進行過工作轉換?你認為兩者之間最大的不同是什么?歡迎評論。(財富中文網)

????譯者:劉進龍/汪皓

????Dear Annie: I started my career in finance about 30 years ago at a medical nonprofit in the Midwest, and then moved to the private sector. Now, I'm in senior management at a big company. I've gone about as far as I can go here, and I'm in my late 50s, so I'm thinking about "retirement" (although I don't really want to stop working). The current president of a local charity, who I met on a different nonprofit board, has been talking to me about taking his place when he retires soon, and it's an appealing idea.

????My only reservations are, first, I'm aware that nonprofit board membership is a very different animal from running the organization day to day, and I wonder whether I'm cut out for this. And second, the last time I worked full-time for a nonprofit was so long ago that I'm sure a lot has changed in the meantime. What can you and your readers advise me about making this move as frictionless as possible? -- Just Jack

????Dear J.J.: First, the good news: After a rocky five years or so, many nonprofits are starting to bounce back from the recession. About 45% of them plan to create new jobs this year, according to a new survey by consultants Nonprofit HR, while only 7% plan to cut staff -- down from 22% who laid people off in 2009. Among nonprofits hiring new senior executives, the survey says, about 40% are looking for seasoned managers from the business world.

????"Traditional candidates for nonprofit senior jobs were often subject-matter experts in the field -- people with extensive special-education experience to run an autism foundation, for example -- but they don't necessarily fit the bill anymore," says John Salveson, a principal and head of the nonprofit practice at executive recruiters Salveson Stetson Group. "Governments have cut funding, and competition for private donations has gotten more intense, so business skills matter more now. Nonprofits are having to 'work smarter' and think more like for-profit companies."

????Even so, applying your business know-how to a nonprofit may, as you suspect, prove tricky. Salveson suggests that anyone mulling such a move consider these three factors:

????1. Stakeholders. "The biggest difference is the number of stakeholders you have to consider," he says. "There are more of them in nonprofits than in business, and they all believe their opinions are equally important and must be heard."

????The head of a nonprofit hospital, for example, has to satisfy local government, the federal government, the hospital board, the community, patients, patients' families, doctors, nurses, other employees, and volunteers -- all of whom may have strong and conflicting views on any decision. "Recognizing that they all matter, and then reconciling their various interests, can make running a nonprofit very complicated," Salveson notes. As a nonprofit board member, you've probably already gotten a taste of this, but as president, be ready for the buck to stop with you.

????2. Culture. Salveson often advises candidates to get ready for "a much more collaborative decision-making process" than is generally found in business. One reason is that "staffers are usually paid below-market wages, because they're passionate about what the organization is doing, and you often have large numbers of volunteers who aren't getting paid at all." So, in marked contrast to the people who work for you now, Salveson says, "they really don't have to listen to you." It may well take some extra effort to get everybody behind you and your plans.

????On top of that, "many career nonprofit employees have stereotyped ideas about managers who come in from the business world," Salveson says. "They think you're used to unlimited financial resources, and that you always put profits before people." So you will likely need to win their respect, Salveson says, by "slowing down a little and having conversations where you do most of the listening."

????3. The board. Nonprofit boards of directors, as you may already have noticed, tend toward the type that a corporation would consider "activist." They are, or often try to be, deeply involved, quite vocal, and watching (not to say second-guessing) your every move. Moreover, their role has changed in the past several years to include much more fundraising than in the past, "which is often not at all what they signed on for," Salveson notes. "So a delicate part of your job may be giving those people a graceful exit, and finding replacements who are ready and willing to do development work."

????Before you take on any executive role, but especially the top job, Salveson urges you to get to know the board as well as you can. "They should want to know you, too, and make sure you're roughly on the same page," he says. "Even if you're considering, say, a chief financial officer position, you certainly should meet the head of the board's finance committee -- and, if he or she isn't interested in meeting with you, run away."

????One more thing: Just as you would if you were weighing a job with a for-profit, Salveson says, "Do your due diligence. Study the organization's finances, including how they're funded, and how stable their main sources of funding are. You need to go in with your eyes wide open." Good luck.

????Talkback: Have you made a move between the corporate and nonprofit worlds? What are the biggest differences you've seen? Leave a comment below.

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