Articles Tagged Leadership

Sep 03, 2006
The true lesson of Obama’s visit

We are impressed, are we not? Many had doubts and misgivings about what a visiting American senator could do for us. Many of us feared that Kenyans would take the visit of ‘one of their own’, and an influential one at that, as an opportunity to line up and plead for assistance. But Senator Barack […]

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Jun 25, 2006
Kimunya delivered a young man’s budget

Last week Mr. Amos Kimunya was the youngest Finance Minister in my memory to present the country’s annual budget. And it showed. KPMG Kenya’s Richard Ndungu, writing in The EastAfrican, entertainingly described Mr. Kimunya as our Chief Plucker – a play on the meaning of his name in Kikuyu. And the Minister certainly proceeded to […]

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Jun 18, 2006
Time to take directorships seriously

Not too long ago, an offer of a position as a non-executive director was one you would accept with alacrity. Power without responsibility? Just four or five meetings a year? The company’s management does all the work, while I ask a couple of intelligent-sounding questions here and there and play the wise and experienced sage? […]

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May 21, 2006
Kenyan politician – where is thy substance?

The smell of elections is in the air again. Perhaps it’s just the fallout from the Marsabit air crash, and the resultant by-elections. Whatever the cause, the kaleidoscope that is Kenyan politics is rotating again. New parties are being formed, and old ones unceremoniously dumped. Alignments are shifting, and ambitions emerging. Accusations of betrayal assault […]

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May 14, 2006
How not to choose a leader – by England’s FA

This country appears to be obsessed with football – as long as it’s not Kenyan. We spend many months engrossed in the ins and outs of the English Premiership, La Liga and Serie A. And now we’re all preparing for the ultimate festival of international football – the World Cup itself. All Kenya, it seems, […]

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Jan 01, 2006
Leadership requires an enabling environment

If there’s one thing guaranteed to excite Kenya’s chattering classes, it’s the issue of leadership. Our leaders let us down every time, they complain. We have such great things going for us as a country; we should be a Singapore or a South Korea (or at least a Botswana). But we keep voting in the […]

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Dec 18, 2005
Designing the top team, Kenya-style

In the light of recent events, we need to revisit the work of Jim Collins. I introduced his “Good to Great” project in this column recently. To recap, Mr. Collins and an army of researchers conducted a five-year project to answer the question: what is it that leads to greatness in companies? What attributes do […]

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Nov 01, 2005
Needed: a politician-proof economy

It’s nearly over. When the counting is done, we will know whether Kenya voted ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ for a new constitution. The absurd campaigns, the squandering of billions on hot air and empty rhetoric will come to an end, and we must thank heaven for that. Until the next time. Meanwhile, a strange thing was […]

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Sep 11, 2005
True leadership connects with the people

Jose Mourinho is the manager of Chelsea Football Club, the world’s richest such institution. It is bankrolled by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovitch, and has spent record-breaking amounts in the transfer market. So strong is the Chelsea squad of superstars that many analysts predict a long period of total dominance of world football. Yet the real […]

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Aug 14, 2005
Youngsters, step forward to lead!

Can anyone of sound mind be against the idea of renewal? We see it in nature all around us, every day of our lives. The magnificent flower is in full bloom for a few days, and then its petals drop away and its beauty fades. The proud lion, monarch of the plains, is master of […]

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Jul 01, 2005
A legacy unravels?

It took a long time to build what South Asians have in Kenya today. Dana April Seidelberg called us ‘mercantile adventurers’: for more than 2,000 years we have been arriving on African shores as traders, investors and artisans, part of the age-old Indian Ocean trading triangle with its corners in India, Arabia and East Africa. […]

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Jun 26, 2005
Raising the bar for politicians

As the government passes its half-way mark in office, we can all be sure of one thing: we’re in for two-and-a-half years of high-decibel campaigning and low-principle scheming. Money will undoubtedly start to flow now: roads, clinics and schools will begin to emerge as judgement day starts to loom on the horizon. Equally, the number […]

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Jun 19, 2005
The power to lead by example

My young son arrived on the planet last year and brought with him a message of profound importance. As I have spent the past few months playing with him and observing him, I have become aware of an unnerving fact: he watches me very, very carefully; and then behaves as I do. He sees what […]

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May 15, 2005
The CEO agenda for Kenya

Chief Executive Officers of Kenya should read John Donne: “No business is an island entire of itself; every organisation is a piece of the economy, a part of the main; if a consumer be washed away by the sea of poverty, Kenya is the less, as well as if a company were, as well as […]

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May 08, 2005
CEOs of Kenya – step forward!

Chief Executive Officers of Kenya: please pay attention. Your country needs your services. We are going to hell in a mkokoteni cart, and all men and women of vision, authority and management expertise need to step in to avert disaster. Assume, for a moment, that Kenya Ltd is your company, and you have just taken […]

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Mar 13, 2005
Role models in the new Kenya

Once upon a time, we looked at the people around us and respected many things in them. We saw certain virtues and placed a high value on them. We had quite simple people as our role models, and we tried hard to emulate them and live up to the ideals we saw embodied in them. […]

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Jan 30, 2005
Why conflicts of interest matter

Conflict. Of. Interest. Three simple words in the English language which, when put together in Kenya, create a concept that appears to be a mystery to most. Judging by recent pronouncements by high-ranking people who really ought to know better, there is a need to go back to first principles where conflict of interest is […]

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Nov 14, 2004
What can Obama do for us?

Kenya appears to be in the throes of “Obama Fever”. One of “our sons” has just become a senator for the state of Illinois in the USA, and the news seems to have triggered the onset of a strange affliction. The malady first cropped up in a small group of family members, but has rapidly […]

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Oct 17, 2004
What does Wangari’s prize really mean?

When the news broke last week, Kenya experienced a collective swelling of the chest. The Nobel Peace Prize, no less! What an accolade, what recognition, what a tribute! What an honour for Kenya and Kenyans. It was almost as though the country had won the prize, not a woman called Professor Wangari Maathai. As my […]

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Aug 01, 2004
A very special cabinet meeting

The government had been in power for exactly two years. The President had convened a special cabinet meeting to commemorate the event and to reflect on the highs and lows of the tumultuous past 24 months. He looked around at the men and women sitting around him, and leaned forward to speak. “Ladies and gentlemen”, […]

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Jul 18, 2004
This famine is a failure of men, not an act of God

So it’s official: we are facing famine in Kenya. The first acknowledgement of this was made when, during a state luncheon for ministers and assistant ministers, the President asked other countries to send us “maize and beans”. I was not, of course, present at the luncheon, but I am willing to bet those present ate […]

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Jul 04, 2004
Meet a rare creature: the humble leader

It is easy to be cynical about our leaders. Watching them is like watching some theatrical farce, one that begins as a comedy but will, we fear, end as a tragedy. The average Kenyan, who sits among the wretched of the earth, watches these leaders as they try to convince us why they need to […]

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Mar 08, 2004
Redesign your board to suit your company’s strategic circumstances

The new management series by Sunny Bindra continues. This week: Part 2 of an article on corporate governance arguing that in redesigning the board of directors, we need to throw tradition out of the window. The traditional board of directors has had its day. The original concept was elegantly simple and eminently successful. It belonged […]

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Mar 01, 2004
The real challenge of corporate governance: reinvent the board of directors!

The EastAfrican announces a new management series by Sunny Bindra focusing on the key strategic issues facing senior executives in the region today. We start with the first part of a challenging look at a hallowed institution: the board of directors. The corporate board is on fire. Across the world, boards are under unprecedented pressure. […]

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Mar 02, 2003
The private sector must also embrace good governance

For years, Kenya’s corporate sector was in denial. Everything was the government’s fault: rotting infrastructure; imprudent monetary policies; corruption and malfeasance in public institutions. And, of course, that old favourite: the lack of a ‘level playing-field’. Meaning that while ‘we’ did things by the book, our competitors dodged taxes, maintained illicit relationships with power brokers, […]

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Feb 23, 2003
Good governance is the measure of our civilisation

A new song is on every politician’s lips these days: good governance. Every minister, every permanent secretary, every technocrat, in the new government can be heard singing it for the cameras. The president even made it the cornerstone of his address at the state opening of parliament, and announced the creation of a special department […]

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