Articles Tagged Success

Jun 02, 2024
Learning from two fascinating football managers

“I will miss him a lot. (He) has been a really important part of my life. He brought me to another level as a manager. I think we respect each other incredibly. He helps me so many times.” The person who said that was Pep Guardiola, manager of Manchester City Football Club, soon after winning […]

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May 26, 2024
Don’t waste time looking for the perfect strategy

When I was starting off in my career decades ago, I really wanted to be a strategy consultant. But there was a problem: how does one learn strategy? There was certainly no subject by that name at universities. It was not taught to any depth in management programmes. So what to do? Naturally, I taught […]

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May 19, 2024
Is it ever enough?

I never thought I would resonate with a book about money. All my life I have had a sceptical mistrust of matters mammon. I have observed the derangement it causes in many: individuals, corporations, even entire cultures. And as I have written here many a time, a manic obsession with money leads to nothing good […]

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Apr 21, 2024
Make yourself a truth worth telling

Let me return to the subject of “fru-fru” today. Regular readers will recall that fru-fru (or frou-frou if you prefer the original French) refers to empty embellishment—frippery for the sake of ostentation, having no substance behind it. In communication and branding terms, fru-fru is feel-good look-good messaging, devoid of meaning. We all communicate, all the […]

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Apr 14, 2024
The essence of a good business? Always the same

The croissant is a commonplace food these days, made all over the world. But a great croissant, it must be said, is difficult to find, even in the capitals of Europe. The best examples of the delicacy have a lightness in the hand, a fineness in the texture, a fluffiness in the mouth that only […]

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Mar 31, 2024
Why contentment is a state we should all hope to attain

What keeps us going? What makes us keep striving to be more, do more, have more? Is it a necessary human trait, to hanker and to grow? We could call it ambition or aspiration. But I also have other words to for you to consider: greed, obsession, and sickness. The need to have and be […]

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Mar 24, 2024
All the talent we ignore will find a home

A few years ago I was having a chat with a Japanese female executive in Nairobi. She worked for a large multinational organization headquartered in Tokyo. The Kenya operation was undergoing restructuring, and her job was one of those affected. “I guess you’ll go back to HQ in Japan,” I asked? “No,” she said with […]

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Mar 17, 2024
What’s really wrong with customer experience? The bosses…

The first book I wrote was an angry one. Crown Your Customer emerged from personally experiencing ridiculous customer treatment, but also from observing customers being treated like cattle all over the place. It was a call to arms both to the providers of customer care, and their victims, to stop the nonsense. In those days […]

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Mar 10, 2024
Next time you hit a difficulty—use it!

The renowned actor Michael Caine was once rehearsing a play scene as a young, aspiring thespian. In the middle of the rehearsal, a chair unexpectedly got stuck in the door of the set, blocking his path. Young Michael froze and didn’t know what to do. He told his fellow, more seasoned actor he couldn’t get […]

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Feb 18, 2024
Are you suffering from the Spotlight Effect?

Picture yourself on a dark stage, delivering the central performance of the day. A spotlight is shining right on you, staying with you as you move. All else is dark. There are hundreds of people in the audience, but you can barely make them out. All their attention is on you: how you look, and […]

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Feb 11, 2024
Some thoughts about longevity in business

Childhood is a place of magical memories—once we have left it. Our first tastes and other sensory pleasures tend to stay with us for life. We develop deep loyalties and could potentially consume our favourite products from our tender years for our entire lifetimes. But there’s a problem. Do those products and businesses still exist? […]

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Jan 28, 2024
Don’t be interesting. Be interested

Sometimes a thought just catches your eye and makes you think. James Clear, he of Atomic Habits fame, sent this out in a recent newsletter: “Don’t worry about being the most interesting person in the room, just try to be the most interested person in the room.” There is such pressure these days to be […]

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Jan 14, 2024
2024 might be a very tough year. That could be great for you

What kind of 2024 are you expecting to have? Across the world, the prognosis is grim at best. Economies are ailing; costs of living have rocketed; business failures are looming; debt burdens are onerous. It’s not going to be an easy year to navigate, even for the most fortunate. But there is something that a […]

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Jan 07, 2024
That’s impossible. Until it’s not

There was once someone who imagined it might be possible to place humans into a vehicle with wings, launch it into the air—and land those passengers back on earth, safely. This had never been done, please note, and it was widely viewed as a crazy, deluded idea. And yet, humans now fly across the planet […]

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Dec 17, 2023
Why do we admire the rich?

I was once in an airport immigration queue, awaiting clearance to re-enter my homeland. The queue was long, and we were all tired after a long flight.  A very well known business tycoon came in from a different flight. He took a look at the line in front of passport control and walked right past […]

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Nov 26, 2023
How to bring the humanity back to your business

I have been saying to businesses large and small for decades now: there’s an affection button that you must press. It’s the button that, once activated, creates the emotion: “I like these people.” That is one of the most potent feelings in business, yet it’s also the most ignored. Last week I showed how small, […]

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Nov 19, 2023
Does anyone LIKE your business?

I have a question for you: is your business liked by anyone? We don’t usually view businesses in that way, do we? It’s not one of the regular aims of a business, to be held in affection by any party. We are far more transactional than that. We provide a product or service, customers gain […]

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Oct 29, 2023
We can be true to ourselves even as we thrive in a group

A close reader of this column pointed out to me last week that my recent offerings are displaying a certain pattern. When I asked him to elaborate, he pointed out that there is recurring theme, and it’s all about authenticity. Rereading my own work, I saw his point. In recent weeks I have highlighted three […]

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Oct 22, 2023
Do you have the courage to be disliked?

Years ago I was watching The Simpsons, that cartoon series with a real bite to it. Young Bart faced a moral dilemma at school, and was asking his dimwit father, Homer, for advice: “Dad, is it more important to be popular, or to do the right thing?” Homer’s quick response: “You’ve gotta be popular, son. […]

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Oct 15, 2023
Being held to high standards early in life pays off

I recently commended a food & beverage manager at one of our leading coastal hotels on the efficiency with which her staff were handling a packed-out dinner service, and the attention to detail they were demonstrating. Rather than bask in the praise, she immediately told me that she had an early mentor to thank for […]

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Oct 08, 2023
Could you have a more successful business by NOT competing?

Last week I offered some life advice: don’t compare, don’t compete. The key points were these: that you will have a richer life if you focus on yourself, not others; that you will actually thrive more by comparing yourself against your earlier selves rather than outsiders; and you will be released from the daily angst […]

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Oct 01, 2023
We have richer lives when we are not consumed by competition

You’re a schoolchild, doing your best in your lessons. You get good grades most of the time, sometimes exceptional ones. You’re not top of your class, but you’re in the mix. All is well, right? Not really. Because your teachers and parents keep pointing you to the achievements of your classmates who are clocking the […]

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Sep 17, 2023
Stop using this word, unless…

This word is everywhere. Everyone seems to be using it, without understanding it. What’s the word? Passion. Every human, it seems, is passionate about something these days. I’m passionate about protecting the planet, say some. Others are passionate about social justice. In professional circles, many will tell you they are passionate about corporate governance, or […]

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Sep 10, 2023
A culture of service is a huge business advantage

A recent experience at a hotel made me pause and reflect. I had looked over the wide array of desserts available in the lunch buffet, and chosen a nice looking mousse in a long-stemmed glass. After carrying the sweet dish back to my table, I noticed that the dessert spoon already laid out there was […]

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Sep 03, 2023
How engaged are the employees where you work?

Employee engagement is a very big deal. Much of what differentiates mediocre organizations from excellent ones is this very simple thing: do the people who work there care about their work? Will they give of their best, and will they go the extra mile? High employee engagement, though, is very rare! The people at Gallup […]

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Aug 27, 2023
What would you do if you faced this business dilemma?

Gary Vaynerchuk, serial entrepreneur and digital marketing evangelist, begins his new book, Twelve and a Half, with an interesting anecdote. GaryVee, as he is known on social media, runs VaynerMedia, a creative agency. He tells us he once had to attend a very difficult meeting with a leading client. This stemmed from a bad mistake […]

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Aug 13, 2023
Waiting for a better time? Don’t.

Arthur Ashe was a true trailblazer. He was the first black player to win tennis’s grand slam tournaments. He won Wimbledon in 1975, and became the world’s number-one ranked player in that year. Ashe’s life reflected some very famous words: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” So much said, […]

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Aug 06, 2023
Are you a complacent incumbent? You’re inviting disruption

Disruption, says Scott Galloway, is more about the incumbents than the disruptors. What does the Stern School of Business professor mean? In his words: “Disruption is driven by stasis and the incompetence of incumbents.” We have seen this again and again. Take the taxi rides business. Sure, Uber arrived with a game-changing business model and […]

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