Articles Tagged Management

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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Oct 17, 2008
The shameless excesses of irresponsible corporations

“The world’s largest insurance company, AIG, spent $440,000 on a lavish corporate retreat at one of California’s top beachside resorts a few days after accepting an $85bn emergency loan from the US government to stave off bankruptcy. Details of the week-long getaway enraged legislators at a congressional hearing yesterday where AIG’s former bosses were accused […]

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Sep 12, 2008
Don’t ask for references – they are useless

“Many employers ask job applicants for personal references. Justification for this practice is beyond me. There’s no valid reason to believe that these references will help you to identify potentially high-performing employees. The reality is this: We all have friends who will say or write positive reviews of us. If every job candidate can provide […]

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Sep 05, 2008
The HR function must raise its game

“…surveys show that business leaders around the world are deeply concerned about the intensifying competition for talent, (yet) few companies make it an integral part of a long-term business strategy, and many even try to raise their short-term earnings by cutting talent-development expenditures. Other factors compound the difficulties of recruiting enough appropriate talent: minimal collaboration […]

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Aug 29, 2008
The expatriate manager is a declining species

“Executive expatriates are expensive, as many multinational firms have learned. Moving a manager to a factory or corporate office in Dubai, Russia, or India can be a costly experience after providing relocation dollars, tax equalization, and housing allowances. For that reason and others, Western and non-Western companies competing in emerging markets are dramatically reducing the […]

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Aug 15, 2008
Teams: Why 2+2 is not always 4

“In the late 1920s, a German psychologist named Max Ringelmann compared the results of individual and group performance on a rope-pulling task. He expected that the group’s effort would be equal to the sum of the efforts of individuals within the group. For instance, three people puling together should exert three times as much pull […]

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Jul 25, 2008
The Ambani brothers are still snatching each other’s toys

“A bitter rivalry between two Indian billionaire brothers has scuttled negotiations to combine two of the developing world’s largest mobile-phone carriers. South Africa’s MTN Group Ltd. and India’s Reliance Communications Ltd. called off talks Friday over a potential multibillion-dollar deal that would have created a wireless giant. Behind the collapse of the talks is the […]

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Jul 20, 2008
Simple common-sense rules for wannabe investors

When at a certain stage in my life I finally managed to generate some surplus cash (it took a long time), I immediately decided to invest in some stockmarket shares (as many do). I started reading the financial press trying to seek out a real winner of a company to back. I noted that many […]

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Jul 18, 2008
If you want to achieve nothing – hold a mega-conference!

“So the summit ended as such summits always do. The delegates agreed on the importance of the problem, the urgent requirement to spend more money: they emphasised the need for co-ordinated action, and resolved to meet again in future to reach the same conclusions. If you have no substantive analysis or common principles beyond acquiescence […]

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Jul 13, 2008
The AGM circus shows our financial immaturity

The amazing success of the Safaricom IPO confirms that we are on our way to becoming a shareholder democracy, does it not? Hundreds of thousands of new shareholders have been brought into the bosom of capitalism, and are basking in the promise of the new wealth that will follow – yes? Anyone who thinks we […]

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Jul 11, 2008
Multi-tasking can kill you, kill your career

“…In a 2005 Australian study published in the British Medical Journal, researchers interviewed, during a 27-month period, 456 hospitalized cell phone users who had each been involved in a crash. The scientists combed the drivers’ call records to see how cell phone use affected their driving. Whether they talked hands-free or with a phone clasped […]

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Jun 13, 2008
Want to think better? Use your legs!

1. You learn 20% faster immediately after exercise than after sitting still. 2. If our ancestors sat still in the savanna for eight hours straight…they became somebody’s lunch. Our brains developed while we walked about 12 miles a day, seven days a week, for several million years. 3. The brain’s executive functions – higher-order capacities […]

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May 30, 2008
Lessons from Heathrow’s Terminal 5 meltdown

“The gleaming 3.4bn pound new terminal at Heathrow Airport was opened to the public…and immediately went into meltdown when its baggage system failed. Over the course of five days, more than 250 flights were cancelled, and 20,000 pieces of luggage were separated from their owners. The chaos was a serious embarrassment for BAA, the Spanish-owned […]

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Apr 18, 2008
Lessons in talent management – from Singapore’s Lee

“It had taken me some time to see the obvious, that talent is a country’s most precious asset. For a small, resource-poor country like Singapore, with 2 million people at independence in 1965, it is the defining factor. …To get enough talent to fill the jobs our growing economy needed, I set out to attract […]

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Apr 13, 2008
Why we need EVEN more ministries!

Having given the matter sufficient thought, I now conclude that we need even more ministries than we think we do. That is my position and it will never change, not ever. It is clear from the justifications being bandied about for 40-odd ministries that whatever is important in Kenya must have a ministry in charge […]

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Apr 11, 2008
Are you thinking enough about how you communicate?

“A sticky idea is one that people understand when they hear it, that they remember later on, and that changes something about the way they think or act. That is a high standard. Think back to the last presentation you saw. How much do you remember? How did it the change the way you make […]

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Apr 04, 2008
What does it take to get on the ‘most admired’ list?

THE WORLD’S TOP 10 MOST ADMIRED COMPANIES: 1. Apple 2. General Electric 3. Toyota Motor 4. Berkshire Hathaway 5. Proctor & Gamble 6. FedEx 7. Johnson & Johnson 8. Target 9. BMW 10.Microsoft Fortune (March 24 2008) Fortune magazine and Hay Group give us the World’s Most Admired Companies list every year. Only companies with […]

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Mar 28, 2008
Danger always lurks in the procurement function

“A potato buyer at the supermarket group Sainsbury’s has been arrested on suspicion of accepting bribes of up to 3 million pounds from a supplier. John Maylam, a senior buyer at the supermarket chain who has been with the company for more than 10 years, was arrested last week after police raided residential and business […]

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Mar 23, 2008
Why do we keep messing things up?

If you didn’t know where “Muthurwa” was in Nairobi, I guess you do now. Recent goings-on around that part of Eastlands have all of Nairobi in a spin – and a completely unnecessary one. First we had the fiasco of the new hawkers’ market. The people who perch on pavements and alleys in the city’s […]

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