Articles Tagged Management

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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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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