Articles Tagged Management

Feb 22, 2010
Why this culture of layoffs hurts good business

“Companies have always cut back on workers during economic downturns, but over the last two decades layoffs have become an increasingly common part of corporate life – in good times as well as bad. Companies now routinely cut workers even when profits are rising. Some troubled industries seem to be in perpetual downsizing mode… …But […]

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Feb 08, 2010
Toyota’s communication lapses are compounding its woes

“When Toyota told the world of the recall of its cars in January, one of its first public statements was made by a Japanese executive who faced television cameras wearing a surgical mask. Masks are common during Japan’s cold season. However, crisis management experts are seizing on the image as a metaphor for a company […]

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Jan 11, 2010
Are managers motivated mainly by money? Think again

“Companies around the world are cutting back their financial-incentive programs, but few have used other ways of inspiring talent. We think they should. Numerous studies have concluded that for people with satisfactory salaries, some nonfinancial motivators are more effective than extra cash in building long-term employee engagement in most sectors, job functions, and business contexts. […]

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Dec 14, 2009
The 5 signs of a dysfunctional Kenyan organisation

“Sign No. 1: Conspicuously posted vision or value statements are filled with vague but important-sounding words like “excellence” and “quality.” Sign No. 2: Bringing up a problem is considered as evidence of a personality defect rather than as an observation of reality. Sign No. 3: If by chance there are problems, the usual solution is […]

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Dec 07, 2009
Are we all faking it in the office?

“…by far the biggest workplace taboo is the truth – or at least any truth that punctures the self-importance of work. A friend tells me that she was recently on a global conference call and each person in turn introduced themselves and said where they were. One person said she was in a meeting room […]

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Nov 16, 2009
Would your organisation have employed Mandela?

“The current job market reminds me of a story about a church committee assigned to hire a new pastor. Numerous well-qualified candidates applied, but none seemed to meet the committee’s requirements. Frustrated with this perfectionism, one of the committee’s members submitted an anonymous résumé with the accomplishments of a certain priest who had lived and […]

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Nov 15, 2009
What’s the point of annual performance appraisals?

Have you had your annual performance review? For anyone working in a large organisation, it’s that part of the year. It’s time for the age-honoured ritual of sitting down with your immediate superior and going through your performance for the year, step by step. Are they not a fine thing, these performance appraisals? Certainly the […]

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Nov 09, 2009
Why promoting from within should be the norm

“A good leader sees the best in his people, not the worst; he is not a scapegoat hunter. He sees winners, and he uses “the rule of 50 percent,” which makes him high on promoting from within. The rule is that if you have anybody in your organization who looks like 50 percent of what […]

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Oct 11, 2009
What’s wrong with Kenyan restaurants?

This week I want to stick a steak knife into the restaurant industry. Running a good eatery should be simplicity itself. Entry barriers are low, if you’re willing to start small; many a world-beating restaurant chain started life as a single food stall somewhere. Yet in Kenya we are running this most important industry very […]

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Oct 05, 2009
Does your organisation pass the teamwork test?

“Managers build their plans and strategies on the assumption that people in their firm are ready and willing to be team players, acting collectively to create or achieve something in the future. The truth, however, is that these attitudes cannot be assumed to exist. In fact, they’re notably scarce. In many firms – even in […]

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Aug 31, 2009
Should you trust job interviews to bring in the best talent?

“When researchers considered a meta-analysis – a broad study incorporating data from every scientific work ever conducted in the field – they found that there’s only a small correlation between first-date (unstructured) job interviews and job performance. The marks managers give job candidates have very little to do with how well those candidates actually perform […]

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Aug 23, 2009
Nairobi City Council – hope or despair?

These days, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about the Nairobi City Council. There are reasons to do both. Let’s get the crying over with first. Was it possible to watch the recently concluded mayoral election in Nairobi and not burst into tears, even if you’re a grown man? For this process stretches […]

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Aug 17, 2009
Bankers beware: a new era of regulation looms

“It is clear that governance failures contributed materially to excessive risk taking in the lead up to the financial crisis. Weaknesses in risk management, board quality and practice, control of remuneration ,and in the exercise of ownership rights need to be addressed in the UK and internationally to minimise the risk of a recurrence. Better […]

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Jul 13, 2009
My 100th BD column: more businesslike AGMs

“Kenyan shareholders may soon have to make do without the Annual General Meeting perks should a move by Safaricom be adopted by other listed companies. The mobile firm’s roster of over 800,000 shareholders – the largest number in corporate Kenya’s history – has pushed it to identify cost-cutting measures during AGMs. Chief among them is […]

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Jun 01, 2009
How sincere is your company’s CSR programme?

“As firms grapple with a brutal economic downturn, they are taking a long, hard look at the resources they devote to everything from supporting charities to making their activities carbon-neutral. That is hardly surprising: cutting back on CSR, or “sustainability” as it is sometimes known, would seem to be a quick and relatively painless way […]

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May 25, 2009
Manager bullies may be killing your organisation

“As we burrow deeper into the recession, companies around the world are cutting costs in all the usual ways—by reducing headcount, slashing capital budgets, and trimming overheads. All these measures are vital. But in their quest to root out inefficiencies, companies should also be focusing on the hidden but substantial costs of supercilious and overbearing […]

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May 18, 2009
Business lessons from 2008’s economic meltdown

“After 2008, it’s understandable that the average American would be as mad as hell at America’s business leaders. Executives, even in a good year, tend to rank towards the bottom in credibility with the public…The current economic crisis provides all the ammo for a populist backlash, as you – and your portfolio – know too […]

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May 04, 2009
Your job-grading system may be the problem

“Most companies grade their employees’ jobs using some kind of ranking or rating system based on job evaluation. The grades assigned are intended to assess fair pay for people doing the same work, and are usually public, like the letter grades of schools. In theory, these systems are supposed to help people manage their careers, […]

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May 03, 2009
Knee-jerk layoffs will harm your organisation

During boom times, this is what companies say: “Employees are our greatest asset. We are nothing without our staff. We are a people business. Our greatest mission is to nurture talent. The only sustainable competitive advantage is what we do with people.” Blah, blah, blah… During recessionary times, this is what companies say: “Challenging global […]

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Mar 17, 2009
The Edge: Growing the Family Business – out this Friday, 20 March

The Edge is a quarterly management knowledge journal, carried as a free pullout in the Business Daily. This Friday (20 March), The Edge will focus on the business model that drives the Kenya economy: the family firm. Please make sure you get your copy. It will contain a compendium of articles by those who study […]

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Feb 01, 2009
Why are our shops so awful?

I remain stunned by the experience offered to customers by our supposedly excellent entrepreneurs. I am particularly appalled by our retail shops, most of which are woefully, bafflingly bad. I am in the market for a couple of computer printers. A relatively straightforward issue, you might think, since we seem to have a large number […]

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Dec 22, 2008
Sleep deprivation will cost your business

“It’s clear that sleep deprivation can lead to disastrous workplace mishaps, with some of the worst accidents on record, including the meltdowns at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, occurring between 2 and 4 a.m., when the effects of sleep deprivation are most pronounced. But what happens to team dynamics and problem-solving capabilities when one or […]

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Dec 14, 2008
Why more visitors go to South Africa

They say travel broadens the mind. But often I find it just heats it up. I have just returned from South Africa, a country that receives 8.5 million international visitors every year. I stayed at the V&A Waterfront, which is the country’s biggest tourist attraction, drawing over 20 million foreign and domestic visitors annually. Kenya […]

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Dec 11, 2008
The Edge – Managing the New Generation – out today

The Edge, the Business Daily’s quarterly management series, is out today. The Edge is a free pullout in today’s Business Daily, and is produced jointly with Strathmore Business School. I am the Consultant Editor for the series. This issue focuses on the new challenges of people management: recruitment, retention, motivation and reward. It is a […]

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Dec 08, 2008
Want to learn about business? Read a novel

“Even though everyone can now afford books, still no one reads. It is not just the factory workers who don’t read: managers don’t either. And what they don’t read in particular is novels. I have just asked two senior executives what it is that puts them off. Both said the same thing: I don’t have […]

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Oct 31, 2008
In a crisis – do nothing!

“For many of us, it’s decision time. What do we do with our investments? Do we sell our stocks? Rethink our retirement? With the warning lights flashing, our natural instinct is to react. But that very moment, when the need to make a decision feels strongest, might very well be the time to do nothing […]

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Oct 24, 2008
Why you must keep a contrarian on your team

“…suppose you imagine yourself and a group of experts who seem to have converged on an enlightened opinion which has arguments to support it, and it has prominent influential people saying that. It can be difficult for someone to stand up in that room and air what seem to be half-baked or half-formed doubts about […]

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Oct 19, 2008
Is too much positive thinking dangerous?

Positive thinking has been the mantra of the modern world for quite a while now. Spiritualists, life coaches and business leaders all agree: there is nowt to be gained from negativity. We must all think positive, be positive and do positive – and all positive things will happen to us. No-one likes a doomsayer or […]

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