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2011年bec中级考试阅读模拟题(5)

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The story: By the late-1990s fast-food chain McDonald’s had enjoyed 40 years of exceptional performance. In 1997, for example, the company had registered 10 years of 20 per cent per annum growth.
  The challenge: That year, Jack Greenberg became the company’s fourth chief executive. His main concern was how to lead the business in less favourable market conditions. McDonald’s was facing concerns about fatty foods and about beef; competition was squeezing margins; and growth from

international markets was slowing.
  The strategy: Mr Greenberg did what the textbooks suggest. First, he focused on improving the core business, announcing it as his top priority. Then, he also set a second priority: to find a new platform for growth. With this audacious goal in mind, he supported five acquisitions of related restaurant businesses – including Chipotle, a Mexican food restaurant, and 50 per cent of Pret A Manger, the UK sandwich chain – and he set up the Partner Brands Division, to be responsible for these new businesses. Mr Greenberg also opened the door to a number of other, more organic initiatives led by his head of strategy, Mats Lederhausen.
  What happened: Mr Greenberg found it difficult to dedicate enough attention to both priorities. The core business continued to deteriorate and in 2001 McDonald’s announced its first quarterly loss and the resignation of Mr Greenberg.
  Jim Cantalupo, a retired McDonald’s executive, was asked to return as CEO. His first announcement was that McDonald’s had been trying to do too many things. He shut down many of the organic initiatives and housed all the new businesses into a structure called McDonald’s Ventures.
  Mr Cantalupo instructed Mr Lederhausen to identify those businesses that could become significant for McDonald’s without distracting management from its core business and to sell or close the rest. The result was that over the course of the next few years, almost all of them were either sold or closed.
  The lessons: First, this story is common. A company forecasts reduced growth in its core business, looks for new sources of revenue, launches initiatives, and makes acquisitions – only to find a few years later, that it is back where it started, having sold or closed its new ventures.
  Second, the textbook advice – set a growth ambition, try a portfolio of related ventures and invest heavily in the few successes at the same time as attending to the core – does not always work, in spite of its continuing popularity.
  So, what is the alternative? When the core business starts to mature, leaders should be patient rather than energetic. The main risk is that attention is distracted from the core. Therefore, avoid launching a portfolio of initiatives; don’t set targets for growth outside the core; and don’t set up a new business division or venturing unit.
  Do scan opportunities, but with a tough screening process and the expectation that none will be suitable. Expect to use spare cash to buy back shares, until a really good opportunity comes along.
  Above all, look for people rather than projects – successful new growth outside the core nearly always comes from individuals or teams who happen to have a rare combination of both grassroots knowledge of a particular area and an understanding of how your company’s strengths can be used to succeed.
  What happened next: The company’s leaders have stuck to and revived the core. In fact, as is often the case with a strong core, the hamburger business is growing again, partly because of the fast growth of emerging markets such as China.
  McDonald’s is still looking for other opportunities – but in a patient way.
  

Oral topic:
  Which is more important to a company’s success?tradition or reform?
 

Learning to learn:
  文章最后一段点题,写出了德国面临的挑战也存在机遇。这种内涵,作者是通过两层转折成功实现的,学习这种写作手法,为以后高阶写作打好基础。
  Language Points:
  1. initiative 新计划,新措施 2. acquisition 收购
  Exam Focus:
  1 Which one is not one of Jack Greenberg’s concerns in 1997 when he became McDonald’s fourth executive?
  A Profit was on a drop because of fierce competition
  B Fatty foods and beef became less popular among people
  C How to improve core business.
  D Foreign markets offered less revenue
  2 what is the author’s suggestion for a company whose core business starts to mature?
  A do what the textbook suggests
  B start a portfolio of new initiatives
  C look for opportunities in a patient way and build up its strength by hiring
  D seek growth through acquisitions
  

Keys:
  (1) C
  (2) D
  

参考译文:
  过去两年,我认识的每家企业都历尽了磨难。遗憾的是,好时光不会很快就回来。因此,我编制了一份较有创意和价值的企业省钱途径列表,帮助企业家在面对挑战时仍能生存。
  ● 随机审计费用支出
  费用滥用属于地方病,但如果员工知道,就连他们的手机账单偶尔也会受到检查,那么他们占公司便宜的可能性就会降低。企业应该制定非常明确的费用政策,这样弄虚作假的人就无法浑水摸鱼逍遥法外
  ● 购买二手货
  我们经常为餐馆购买二手厨房设备。如果能省钱,就不要犹豫选择二手货,而非全新商品。
  ● 带头控制成本
  作为老板,你应该经常对成本提出质疑,并努力让人们认为你很节俭,而不是奢侈浪费——至少是对公司资产。如果你大手大脚,就会为别人树立一个效仿的坏榜样——用公司的钱。
  ● 要求提前付款折扣
  如果你握有现金,这或许是提高利润率一个好办法。如果供应商面临资金压力,他们很可能会答应对快速结款支付5%的折扣。如果你把钱存在银行,以目前的低利率,挣到这笔钱需要差不多两年的时间。
  ● 了解每个员工在干什么
  至少每年对所有员工的职责进行一次彻底分析,努力计算出他们的真实生产率——如有必要,就对岗位进行合理化改革。记住:没有人会告诉你他们的工作负荷不够,或者他们的贡献不重要。

 


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