Articles Tagged Success

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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Oct 07, 2018
In the machine age, the human’s answer must be to become even more human

(Photo by Andy Kelly on Unsplash) I had the pleasure of hosting some people from the future earlier this week. Let me explain. No, I haven’t discovered a time machine. I did not whisk in my guests from a future era by reassembling their molecules in the here and now. I was actually hosting futurists […]

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Sep 30, 2018
No, visionaries don’t have to be jerks

Elon Musk is widely recognized as a visionary. He cofounded PayPal and then moved on to a dizzying range of businesses: electric vehicles, energy generation, machine interfacing, even space travel. His aim always is to completely revolutionize every industry he turns his hand to. None of the new ventures is a concrete success just yet; […]

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Sep 23, 2018
How will you look back on your life?

Last week I wrote on this page about the importance of saying NO many times in life – of not chasing after every vaguely interesting thing; of setting your own priorities and agendas; of understanding the power of focus. It’s funny how serendipity works. A day or so after writing that column, I found myself […]

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Sep 16, 2018
To be really successful? Say NO

I’m about to write something down that may be one of the most important things you will ever read. It was said by Warren Buffet, and here it is: “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” If that sentence immediately made perfect sense […]

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Sep 09, 2018
To succeed better, get more…sleep

How much sleep did you get last night? How many hours do you get on average? So many commitments, no? So much work waiting, so much travel, so much to do with the family, so many social commitments, so much time taken in front of screens large and small these days…it feels natural that it’s […]

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Sep 02, 2018
How serious are you about excellence? Your next 5 minutes will tell us

Tom Peters co-wrote the first business bestseller, In Search Of Excellence. I was a teenager when it came out, and I looked through my father’s copy. I lacked the experience to make any real sense of it, but I remember thinking, for the first time, that perhaps one could find a calling and a profession […]

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Aug 10, 2018
Lessons in customer experience from a trillion-dollar company

I often look at how badly so many companies do this thing called “customer experience” and I wonder. Do you guys understand the power, the unique value of having customers who take joy in the experiences you give them – instead of feeling frustration and anger? If you did understand, why would you regard your […]

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Aug 05, 2018
Who grows the beans, who eats the chocolate?

Chocolate is one of the world’s most beloved sweet treats. It is consumed pretty much everywhere. You are probably a chocolate lover. So where does your favourite brand of chocolate come from? A recent white paper from data provider Gro Intelligence gathered the facts: Europe dominates the production, consumption and exportation of chocolate – and […]

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Jul 22, 2018
Another World Cup, a familiar set of lessons

It’s time again to dissect what just happened at the FIFA World Cup, and see what we can learn for our own lives. Regular readers of this column will know that this is something I do every four years. In 2010 I wrote that to win in football (or any collective, team-based endeavour), four ingredients […]

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Jul 15, 2018
My 800th Sunday column: the importance of writing well

This column records my 800th appearance on this page. It’s been a great ride, for more than 15 years now. I thought I should commemorate the milestone by focusing on something that seems to be losing its importance in the modern world: good writing. By this I mean good writing coming from you. We all […]

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Jul 08, 2018
Are you playing corporate snakes and ladders?

Do you remember Snakes and Ladders? Back in the day when board games were pretty much the only indoor games we had, this one was a favourite. You tried to progress up a board by throwing dice; in your path lay ladders (that helped you jump up several levels); and some nasty snakes (that brought […]

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Jul 01, 2018
Bricks or clicks, those who play for distinction win

Retail seems to be a tough business to be in right now, anywhere in the world. Consumers seem to prefer the convenience of online browsing and buying. They get things delivered to them rather than venture out into inclement weather and frustrating traffic; they curl up on couches rather than brave public transport. As online […]

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Jun 24, 2018
The WHY and HOW of reading books

Half the year is gone. How goes the book-reading? I’ll soon be opening book number 35, so I’m well ahead of schedule. How are you doing? I hope you’re still up for the #50BooksIn2018 challenge. A quick recap: why a numerical target? Because humans respond to quantified challenges. Why 50 books? That’s the stretch target […]

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Jun 17, 2018
AI is right here, right now

I recently received an email from the folks over at Medium, an online publishing platform I subscribe to. Here’s what it said: “Hello! It looks like you’re into artificial intelligence, so we rounded up a few of our favorites for you this week. Because you’re a member and an avid reader, we want to make […]

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Jun 10, 2018
Have the greatest respect for other people’s time – and your own

Dov Frohman was a legendary CEO of Intel Israel. When he was a young manager, he sent global chief executive Andy Grove a five-page proposal for shifting the Jerusalem production line from memories to microprocessors. The proposal came back, unread, with just a stamp on it that said: “Please respect my time.” This is recounted […]

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Jun 03, 2018
Two footballers, a winner and a loser

(Photo via fourfourtwo.com) The UEFA Champions League final took place last weekend. The team expected to win, Real Madrid (a record holder in this competition) won 3-1. The challenger to the throne, Liverpool FC, was vanquished with some ease. No news there, so why are we discussing it this Sunday? I want to zoom in […]

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May 13, 2018
Hail the monomaniacs!

Photo credit: EPA Pep Guardiola lifted the English Premier League trophy last Sunday on behalf of the club he manages, Manchester City. I think we should all applaud, regardless of team affiliation. For me, the most interesting part of Pep’s season came during a game in November. He began berating a player who just been […]

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May 06, 2018
Are you holding on to obsolete knowledge?

London has a unique way of licensing its official ‘black cab’ taxi drivers. They have to pass the ‘Knowledge’ – a test that requires you to memorize every street and landmark in central London, so that you can navigate between any two points in the city entirely from memory. This might require several years of […]

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Apr 29, 2018
How to understand introverts (part three: in the workplace)

Let’s conclude this short series on introversion and extroversion with how it all plays out in the workplace. If you’ve been following the series (this is the third part; part one is here, and part two here ), you’ve understood the essentials about introversion vs extroversion. Here’s a beautifully concise summary, from Concordia University’s Dr […]

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Mar 18, 2018
Are you succeeding, or just looking like you’re succeeding?

When Jeffrey Immelt, long-time boss of giant conglomerate GE, held his annual address to investors last May his corporation’s stock was trading at close to $30. He painted a rosy picture of his long tenure, and retired as CEO soon afterwards. Today the stock price is around $15. His successor decided to bare all and […]

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Feb 25, 2018
Kindness, the underrated virtue

Why are some people so important in our lives? Who is it we remember with fondness long after they are gone? What counts when we measure a life? When my grandfather passed away, I was living overseas. I returned to Nairobi for the funeral, and when the body was brought home for final prayers, a […]

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Feb 18, 2018
Are you teaching your kids to cheat?

In the game of cricket, there is an honour system. A batsman can be officially ‘out’ (sent back to the pavilion) in a variety of ways; but he can also choose to ‘walk’ if he feels he was out but no one noticed. A parent recently recounted an experience in this regard. Her young son […]

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Feb 11, 2018
Here are some of the invisible mentors who have shaped my life

Last week I told you about invisible mentors – those inspirational figures who are present in our lives and prominent in our successes without ever mentoring us formally or practically. Sometimes we meet these people; sometimes they never know we even exist. And yet they leave their indelible imprint. Think about it: invisible mentors are […]

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Feb 04, 2018
Who is your ‘invisible’ mentor?

Mentorship is all the rage. As young people struggle to come up in the world, they feel they need someone of accomplishment to take them under their wing, guide them, open doors for them. Success, they feel, is much easier to achieve when someone successful shows them how. We grow up being guided by parents, […]

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Jan 07, 2018
How many books will you read in 2018?

How will you measure your achievement in the year ahead? Will it be in terms of money earned? Promotions gained? Holidays enjoyed? Friendships made? Learnings achieved? Kindnesses imparted? I have a simple measure for you to aim for in 2018: books read. Believe me or not: for many people that simple activity – reading books […]

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Dec 31, 2017
The lifelong lesson of sunk cost

It’s the last day of the year – always a good time to reflect on the months that went before. We all do this: we look back, we reminisce, we try to learn from the past. Except, most of us just don’t. We let the past enslave us, not teach us lessons for the future. […]

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Dec 10, 2017
Which pain are you willing to embrace?

An alum of my leadership programme recommended an unusual book to me earlier in the year. Its title was a deterrent: it is called The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A ****. As this is a family newspaper, I won’t spell out the bleeped letters, but you get the gist. It’s a strange book. The […]

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