Articles Tagged Management

Apr 07, 2019
Are you a vanilla, chocolate and strawberry business?

Image by Andrey Cojocaru from Pixabay Q: Which flavours of ice-cream do you offer? A: Vanilla, chocolate and strawberry How often does that happen to you when seated at a restaurant, thinking about your dessert options? In my lifetime, too many times to count. Vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, it is true, are consistently amongst the […]

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Mar 10, 2019
Just been promoted? Now stop dealing in excuses

Adam Lashinsky once provided an interesting little vignette about Steve Jobs. According to the reporter, Apple’s founding CEO used to give employees a little speech when they were promoted to Vice President. Lashinsky called it the ‘Difference Between the Janitor and the Vice President.’ Jobs told new VPs that if the garbage in his office […]

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Feb 24, 2019
How many unread emails do you have?

How many email messages are currently sitting in your inbox, unread? Most busy professionals are overwhelmed by their email. They get far more messages than they can ever respond to in any credible or worthwhile way. And their answer is simple: just ignore most of the messages. Plead ‘busy-busy’ status; reply only to the most […]

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Jan 27, 2019
Small companies, here’s how you whack the big players

Big firms with long histories and huge market shares tend to dominate many an industry. If you’re a small, modest new player trying to make your mark, what should you do? First, a recent real-life story. My family hit an unexpected problem at home. An essential piece of equipment failed, leaving the household in some […]

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Jan 20, 2019
Here’s to the mavericks who light up organizations

I don’t often do obituaries in this column. And certainly not of chief executives. But exceptions have to be made. Herb Kelleher, cofounder of Southwest Airlines, was indeed special. I have talked about him and his remarkable company many times in seminars and lectures. Now he’s gone, and those who love to see business (or […]

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Dec 16, 2018
The fallacy of grading humans

There are numbers attached to every human being, numbers that follow us around all our lives. These numbers – our exam grades, our performance appraisal results, our bank balances – purport to measure our achievements. But do they? Yuval Noah Harari is the author of the moment. This mild-mannered professor of history has become a […]

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Dec 09, 2018
Ever wonder why your customers don’t trust you?

Two years ago I wrote on this page that insurance companies have a lot to think about. They face profound disruption. You might think this is for the usual reason – digital technologies – but you would be wrong. Yes, accelerated technological change is shaking every sector up, dramatically; but insurance faces a special problem […]

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Dec 02, 2018
Generating the will to win is more important than buying top talent

Photo by Margarida CSilva on Unsplash I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve sat in boardrooms and heard the assembled say they are engaged in a “war for talent.” The gist is as follows: talented people drive results. We must have the best talent in this company. Top talent is scarce. Top talent […]

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Oct 28, 2018
When was the last time you heard your employees laugh?

Fear at work is a good thing, right? If employees are not afraid of you, they will just take advantage of you, no? They’ll slack off work, they’ll run side hustles using your time and resources, they’ll even steal from you – correct? A question, though: many business bosses have been making their employees feel […]

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Oct 14, 2018
So you’ve built a successful business? Now leave it alone.

You’ve done the hard work. You’ve put in the long hours and sleepless nights. You secured the loans and serviced them. Your payroll no longer gives you higher blood pressure as the end of the month approaches. Your business is established; it’s secure; it’s viable; and it’s throwing up positive cash flow. Now please learn […]

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Oct 07, 2018
In the machine age, the human’s answer must be to become even more human

(Photo by Andy Kelly on Unsplash) I had the pleasure of hosting some people from the future earlier this week. Let me explain. No, I haven’t discovered a time machine. I did not whisk in my guests from a future era by reassembling their molecules in the here and now. I was actually hosting futurists […]

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Sep 30, 2018
No, visionaries don’t have to be jerks

Elon Musk is widely recognized as a visionary. He cofounded PayPal and then moved on to a dizzying range of businesses: electric vehicles, energy generation, machine interfacing, even space travel. His aim always is to completely revolutionize every industry he turns his hand to. None of the new ventures is a concrete success just yet; […]

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Sep 02, 2018
How serious are you about excellence? Your next 5 minutes will tell us

Tom Peters co-wrote the first business bestseller, In Search Of Excellence. I was a teenager when it came out, and I looked through my father’s copy. I lacked the experience to make any real sense of it, but I remember thinking, for the first time, that perhaps one could find a calling and a profession […]

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Aug 10, 2018
Lessons in customer experience from a trillion-dollar company

I often look at how badly so many companies do this thing called “customer experience” and I wonder. Do you guys understand the power, the unique value of having customers who take joy in the experiences you give them – instead of feeling frustration and anger? If you did understand, why would you regard your […]

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Jul 22, 2018
Another World Cup, a familiar set of lessons

It’s time again to dissect what just happened at the FIFA World Cup, and see what we can learn for our own lives. Regular readers of this column will know that this is something I do every four years. In 2010 I wrote that to win in football (or any collective, team-based endeavour), four ingredients […]

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Jul 08, 2018
Are you playing corporate snakes and ladders?

Do you remember Snakes and Ladders? Back in the day when board games were pretty much the only indoor games we had, this one was a favourite. You tried to progress up a board by throwing dice; in your path lay ladders (that helped you jump up several levels); and some nasty snakes (that brought […]

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Jun 17, 2018
AI is right here, right now

I recently received an email from the folks over at Medium, an online publishing platform I subscribe to. Here’s what it said: “Hello! It looks like you’re into artificial intelligence, so we rounded up a few of our favorites for you this week. Because you’re a member and an avid reader, we want to make […]

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Jun 10, 2018
Have the greatest respect for other people’s time – and your own

Dov Frohman was a legendary CEO of Intel Israel. When he was a young manager, he sent global chief executive Andy Grove a five-page proposal for shifting the Jerusalem production line from memories to microprocessors. The proposal came back, unread, with just a stamp on it that said: “Please respect my time.” This is recounted […]

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May 27, 2018
We still can’t get home delivery right?

I wrote on this page in 2015 that explosive growth in a certain type of business was absolutely inevitable, and that those with eyes with which to see and minds with which to anticipate should rub their hands and get set to take advantage. That business was home delivery – of cooked food, but also […]

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Mar 25, 2018
What’s the first impression your customer gets?

A prospective customer is considering a domestic family holiday. First, she calls a local airline. Customer: ‘I am interested in your flight-and-accommodation packages for my family.’ Employee: ‘They are all on our website.’ Customer: ‘OK, I had tried that, but I couldn’t find them. All I have on me now is my phone. Let me […]

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Mar 18, 2018
Are you succeeding, or just looking like you’re succeeding?

When Jeffrey Immelt, long-time boss of giant conglomerate GE, held his annual address to investors last May his corporation’s stock was trading at close to $30. He painted a rosy picture of his long tenure, and retired as CEO soon afterwards. Today the stock price is around $15. His successor decided to bare all and […]

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Mar 11, 2018
It’s time for conference venues to raise their game

The conference business is big business. Humans working in organizations have an unending need to meet in their numbers away from their workplaces: for seminars, workshops, roundtables, town halls, celebrations, parties, retreats, jamborees, junkets – or even just regular meetings. Demand is strong, buyers are willing. Sellers should be smiling. I must have commissioned or […]

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Mar 04, 2018
Make kindness a daily habit

Last week we looked at the underrated virtue: kindness. It is easy to be self-absorbed. Some of us are lost in our own egos. Others are trapped in their own miseries. Yet others have no time for anything but their own race to the pinnacles of success. The harder thing is to be aware of […]

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Dec 17, 2017
The new leader’s purge

As a leadership advisor, I am often left pondering a common phenomenon: when a new leader arrives in office, what inevitably follows is a purge of the followers of the old one. I have seen it many times over the years: a new leader is appointed; and all those associated with the old regime must […]

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Nov 19, 2017
Think hard before taking on established competitors

Google makes the world’s most popular mobile operating system, Android. Nearly two billion mobile devices are powered by this ubiquitous system. Not content with this, Google looked askew at rival Apple some years back and felt envious about the ability to make both software and hardware and to fuse the user experience. Google has the […]

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Oct 15, 2017
Does your brand understand customer experience?

I was looking for footwear in foreign climes recently. I walked into a promising-looking store, and noticed something interesting: the shop assistant attending to me was wearing a bluetooth earpiece. What that was for soon became evident. You have all had this experience when buying shoes, I am sure: you choose some possible pairs; and […]

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Sep 24, 2017
How old businesses must reinvent themselves

Every business in the world faces overwhelming uncertainty. The explosion of new technology shows no sign of abating. Indeed, we may only have seen the opening chapters of the book of technological disruption. The later chapters – containing plot twists, deaths, rebirths and the like – have not even been written yet. We only have […]

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Sep 03, 2017
Is counting on patriotism a winning business strategy?

Many years ago our local brewer, East African Breweries Limited (EABL), was facing a major new threat. Castle, a huge brand owned by South African Breweries, had announced its entry into our local market. It was coming in with big money, a big plant and big plans. One of the key strategic decisions made in […]

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