Articles Tagged Management

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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Aug 27, 2017
What a flight not missed teaches us

We were flying in the rainy season. We set off on the first leg, needing to arrive at the hub airport on time and then catch a connecting flight to our final destination. We had allowed two hours transit time to catch the next plane – more than enough, said the airline staff at the […]

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Apr 16, 2017
United breaks guitars. Also, people

If you’re even vaguely connected to the internet (or a television set), you know what happened. United Airlines took a passenger off a plane. And now the whole world is angry about it, and United’s brand is in ICU. On Monday, videos taken by Dr David Dao’s fellow passengers went viral all over the world. […]

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Mar 26, 2017
Your one thing is not your only thing

I wrote here two weeks ago that every business has its one thing – the thing it must deliver above all others. For restaurants, the one thing is the taste of the food; for banks, it is trust; for hotels, hospitality. You can think about what yours is in your industry: the one thing that […]

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Mar 05, 2017
Is your organization cutting costs? Do it properly

As more and more companies declare profit warnings and significantly worse results, cost containment is all the rage again. You will hear a lot more in 2017 about ‘reorganizations’ and ‘rightsizing’; ‘efficiency’ and ‘leanness’ will become the prevailing buzzwords in boardrooms. I always wonder: if you want to become the ‘right’ size now, which size […]

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Feb 12, 2017
How to destroy an organization from within

There’s more than one way to defeat an enemy. As the best spies know, you don’t just mount external attacks; you also work to weaken your enemy’s organization from within. In 1944, the precursor of America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), created something called the Simple Sabotage Field Manual. This […]

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Jan 15, 2017
What’s your ‘DQ’?

I’m pretty sure you’ve taken (or were forced to take) an IQ (intelligence quotient) test at some time in your life. You may even have have done some sort of EQ (emotional quotient) test. But have you ever taken a ‘DQ’ test? Try this quick quiz: 1. Can you accurately describe what Snapchat is? 2. […]

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