Articles Tagged Management

Oct 18, 2020
Why do big, successful businesses freeze?

Two entrepreneurs sat nervously. They were at the headquarters of a business one thousand times their size, with an audacious proposal. It had taken them months to convince the big man to even meet them. The meeting did not take long. The answer was a flat no. Goodbye. The year was 2000. One one side […]

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Oct 11, 2020
Is your product too useful to ignore?

Google Maps has more than one billion active users. Nine zeroes. I use it every day. You probably do too. It’s just too damn convenient to ignore, isn’t it? It maps the city out perfectly, tells you where the traffic is and which roads to avoid, estimates pretty accurate arrival times, and allows you to […]

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Aug 30, 2020
The future of work is all about offering choices

When my son was in his first year of formal schooling, I asked him which of the subjects he was being taught he liked the best. He answered without hesitation: “Golden Time.” It turned out Golden Time was that hour of the week when the young kids were allowed to choose what to do. They […]

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Aug 23, 2020
How good is your team? Here’s a different way of looking at it

FCB vs FCB was supposed to be one of the interesting matchups in football this year. FC Bayern duly faced off against FC Barcelona in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League recently. It ended in a debacle. The Germans took the Catalans apart, beating them 8-2 – an unheard-of scoreline in the upper echelons […]

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Jul 12, 2020
Where do you go to learn how to be successful in business?

So your life’s aim is to run your own business. You want to be an entrepreneur and a founder and create a hit corporation. Where do you go to learn how to do this? There are two main paths many people seem to follow. The first is to study business or entrepreneurship as a subject. […]

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May 31, 2020
Businesses just got reminded of some old wisdoms

Some businesses have really suffered in this coronavirus pandemic; others are weathering the storm quite well. That might seem obvious, since some industries as a whole are better placed in this crisis. We can’t compare the fortunes of airlines and hotels right now with those producing home entertainment, say.  My point is a little different. […]

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May 17, 2020
Remote working is here to stay, so learn how to do it properly

Are you all Zoomed out yet? If you’re a busy executive, I bet you are. I bet you have had WAY too many virtual meetings in the past few weeks. Social distancing has forced so many of us to work remotely from each other, and to rely on the video conferencing products of Zoom, Microsoft […]

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May 10, 2020
Is your team working well from home?

When so many of us were sent packing by the coronavirus to work from home, one CEO told me: “This is terrible. My people can’t work from home.” We know what he meant, don’t we? That he could not trust his people to do what’s necessary when they are not being watched from 8.00 am […]

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Apr 12, 2020
Get ready for ‘uncomfortable innovation’

The comfortable don’t innovate. I’ve been saying that to businesses and writing it on this page for years. Now I have my words ringing in my own ears. My business depended on gathering people – to teach them, advise them, provoke them to think and do things differently. Suddenly (thank you, coronavirus) no-one can gather […]

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Mar 29, 2020
Now more than ever: the steering wheel must connect to the tyres

More than a decade ago I asked on this page: is Kenya’s steering wheel connected to its tyres? The imagery is half-comical: of leaders merrily spinning the steering wheel thinking they are driving the car; the vehicle, meanwhile, goes where it wants. The issue was very serious, though; I raised it in the light of […]

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Jan 26, 2020
Wisdom about human nature provides the digital edge

I pressed SUBMIT. And then my heart sank. I was trying to pay an overseas credit-card bill. My local bank has a useful online banking system that means I can do this sort of thing in my own bedroom. Back in the bad old days, I used to leg it to my bank branch once […]

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Nov 24, 2019
Are you stuck in a ‘BS’ job?

Last week I started a discussion here about the meaning of work – and how rare it is to find work that lends meaning to our lives. Most of us get our first jobs out of sheer economic necessity, and don’t have the luxury of wondering about the worth of what we do. Later on, […]

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Nov 10, 2019
Will Uber run out of road?

Uber is a very big deal, and I was enthusiastic about it long before any of us experienced it in Kenya. Can anyone doubt the achievement? Uber revolutionized the taxi business by conceiving a marvellous mobile app that connected people seeking rides with drivers willing to offer them. By tapping into an unused stock of […]

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Oct 20, 2019
Sending people home is not a badge of honour

You give your employer the best years of your life. You work hard, you follow instructions, you are loyal, you wait patiently for promotions. You make your job your life, and don’t wish to work anywhere else. Then, a new CEO arrives, full of new ideas. This leader looks at you and other long-standing employees […]

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Jul 21, 2019
Hammering your employees is self-defeating

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay Many years ago, I ran a seminar on customer excellence for a leading corporation. When my presentation was over, I began taking questions from the floor. The first question was this: ‘What should we do about bad customers?’ I offered what I thought was a comprehensive answer. To my […]

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Jun 23, 2019
Is your organization doing stuff the exact same way?

Image by Alexander Antropov from Pixabay We are a major bank. We are holding our annual general meeting with shareholders. We need some good photos. What should we do? I know, why don’t we take one of the chairperson, CEO and a shareholder all pretending to point to something in the annual report? Excellent idea. […]

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May 05, 2019
Are your customers enthusiastic about giving you their time?

Photo by Djim Loic on Unsplash Last week I explained: I compete for your attention against Netflix. Time spent with me on this page needs to have a higher payoff for you than switching to streaming something on your device. Netflix, too is competing for your attention. Not just against a local TV channel, but […]

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Apr 21, 2019
So you sacked a manager. So what?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay Last December, José Mourinho was sacked as manager of Manchester United, one of the world’s richest and most trophy-laden football clubs. His firing was almost universally welcomed by United’s faithful fans. A caretaker replacement, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, was appointed in his place quickly. He has since gone on to […]

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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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