About 10 days ago, Satya Nadella sent a 1,500 word email to all staff to tell them about Microsoft’s new mission statement. A reader duly forwarded the message to me with a note saying: sometimes your job is too easy.最近,微软公司(Microsoft)首席执行官萨蒂亚纳德拉(Satya Nadella,见上图)给公司所有员工放了一封1500个单词的电子邮件,告诉他他们该公司的新愿景宣言。一位读者刚好将该电邮转发给我,并附言称之为:有时候,你的工作过于非常简单了。

I glanced at the email, and agreed. With material like this, my job is too easy. I sat back and waited for someone else to take the memo to pieces. Only no one did.我看了一眼这封邮件,就表示同意了他的观点。有了这样的材料,我的工作是过于更容易了。

我坐着等候别人来把这封邮件批得体无完肤,只是没有人这么做到。That could be because no one could get through it. At 1,500 words it is about twice the length of this column, and while I am trying quite hard to encourage you to read on, Mr Nadella made no such effort. His was the usual mishmash of “platforms”, “drivers”, “ecosystems”, “aligns”, “DNAs” and “going forwards” — as well as some more ambitious combinations such as “extend our experience footprint”.这有可能因为没有人能把这封邮件从头到尾读过。1500个单词约相等于这篇专栏的两倍宽,而我仍然在非常希望地希望你们读书下去,纳德纳却没做到这样的希望。他的邮件没什么新意地混杂着“平台”、“动力”、“生态系统”、“目标完全一致”、“DNA”、“行进”等词汇,还弥漫着“拓展我们的经验足迹”之类极具雄心的词组。

This is what routinely passes for CEO communication in corporate America. But what is special about this example is it came from a big leader of a big company making a big announcement. Microsoft’s third chief executive was trying to convince the world that the company has a plan, and to remind employees what it is, in case they had forgotten. Yet what he came up with was unreadable, largely meaningless hyperbole — and no one turned a hair.这就是美国公司中首席执行官通信的一般来说样子。但这一例子特别之处在于,它是一家大型公司的大领导收到的一项根本性宣言。


Many readers will have failed to get past the first word. “Team,” the memo begins.许多读者读书到第一个词就不会读书不下去——“团队”,邮件一结尾写到。Microsoft employees are not one team, or, if they are, ought not to be. Studies have shown that the ideal number of members of a team is four or five, not 120,000-plus.微软公司的员工不是一个团队,如果他们显然是一个团队的话,这就不对。研究指出,一个团队理想的人数是四五个,而不是12万多。“Every great company has an enduring mission.” Mr Nadella goes on. This sounds good, only it is not true.纳德纳接着写到:“每个最出色的公司都有一项长久的愿景。

”这听得一起不俗,只不过这并非事实。I like to think that the Financial Times is a great company; we have endured 127 years without an official mission.我不愿指出英国《金融时报》是一家最出色的公司;我们早已走到了127年,却没一个月的愿景。With some clearing of the throat about how proud he is in announcing it, the CEO unveils the new mission of Microsoft: “to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more”.在稍作铺垫、以传达对宣告此项愿景的自豪感后,这位首席执行官宣告了微软公司的新愿景:“彰显这个星球上的每个人、每个的组织成就更好的能力”。

The first sign of trouble is the word “planet”. There is a rule that says whenever this word is used as a substitute for “world”, the sentence in which it appears is utter tosh. If the cosmic resonance is gratuitous, the author is writing through his hat.第一个困难的迹象是“星球”这个词。有一个规律是,每当这个词替换“世界”(world)经常出现在一句话中时,这句话就几乎是在胡说八道。


如果说扯上天文学词汇并非出于适当,那么这句话的作者就是在瞎扯。In the early days of Microsoft, Bill Gates came up with a vastly better mission: a computer on every desk and in every home. There was no windy nonsense about planets, nor any tiresome talk of empowering. Best of all, it was precise. The main problem with the new mission is not its grandiosity but its emptiness. Achieve more what? On this vital question, Mr Nadella is silent.在微软公司的早期,比尔盖茨(Bill Gates)明确提出过一个篮得多的愿景:让每张办公桌上和每个家庭都有一台电脑。他的愿景中没关于行星的无稽之谈,也没关于彰显人们能力的无趣言辞。


成就更加多什么?在这个至关重要的问题上,纳德纳维持了绝望。Indeed, the best way to empower people on the planet to achieve more would be to persuade them to love their mobile devices a little less and turn them off occasionally and get on with something real instead.事实上,要彰显这个星球上的人们成就更好的能力,最差的方法是说服他们略为增加对移动设备的沉迷于,有时候开动它们,重返现实生活。Not content with announcing his new mission, Mr Nadella empowers himself to achieve still more: “Today I want to share more on the overall context and connective tissue between our mission, worldview, strategy and culture.”不符合于宣告自己的新愿景,纳德纳彰显了自己成就更好的能力:“今天,我还想要就整体背景,以及我们的愿景、世界观、战略和文化之间的关系公开发表一些观点。

”To have a mission and a vision and worldview is greedy. But to have so many abstract things with lots of connective tissue between them leaves one feeling slightly sick.享有一项愿景、一个愿景和一套世界观早已是自私的了。而在这么多抽象化的东西之间还有许多关系,真是让人有点受不了。In turn he explains each element. Culture, he explains, “is about where everyone is bringing their A game and finding deep meaning in their work”. This is all very well, but spelling it out will do no good. By simply telling your underlings to bring their A games to work, all you do is alienate people who do not like sporting metaphors.他依序说明了每一个元素。


非常简单地告诉他你的辖下在工作中全力以赴,只不过不会让那些不讨厌体育隐喻的人产生隔阂。Equally, everyone wants meaning at work, but hardly any white-collar workers ever find it. Mr Nadella has so overexcited himself that he has decreed mere meaning is no longer enough: it has to be deep, or else it does not count. By thus raising the bar so impossibly high, he has ensured no employee has a hope of clearing it.每个人都某种程度地期望工作有意义,但完全没哪个白领找到过这种意义。纳德纳自己如此激动过头,以至于他规定意味着有意义早已过于了:还必需有深刻印象意义,否则的话就远比。

通过将标准提高到难以置信的高度,他保证了没任何员工未来将会超过。After a lot more evangelical posturing, Mr Nadella slips into his final paragraph two words that finally mean something. “Tough choices”, he warns, will soon have to be made — using the very same words that Lord Hall of the BBC chose last week when he said that 1,000 jobs were to go. This is the latest CEO euphemism for firing people, and is one of the most disingenuous. “Tough choices” implies this-hurts-me-more-than-it hurts-you, while at the same time suggesting the CEO has automatically made the right choice — the non-firing option would be even worse.在竖起更加多疯狂的姿态后,纳德纳在邮件最后一段提及的两个单词再一言之有物了。他警告称之为,迅速就被迫作出“艰苦自由选择”——不久前英国广播公司(BBC)的霍尔勋爵(Lord Hall)宣告削减1000个工作岗位时也用了这两个完全相同的词。


Having dropped this bombshell, Mr Nadella swiftly reverts to upbeat for his closing rallying cry: “I really do believe that we can achieve magical things when we come together as one team and focus.”在引爆了这颗重磅炸弹后,纳德纳很快完全恢复悲观,在结尾喊出出有战斗口号:“我几乎坚信,只要我们汇聚成一个团队、聚精会神,就需要成就神秘。”I, on the other hand, really do believe that magic is best left to Harry Potter and coming together as one team of 120,000 is impossible, especially when planning to take an axe to part of it.我推倒知道指出,神秘的东西最差留下哈利波特(Harry Potter),将12万人汇聚成一个团队也是不有可能的,特别是在是在计划削减一部分人员的时候。