Articles Tagged Success

Nov 11, 2012
How to discover your passion

Do what you love. That is the exhortation commonly heard these days. Every motivational speaker urges you to find your passion; every pushy tweet pushes you to discover your true aptitude – that is how you will do your best work. The late Steve Jobs, in his now legendary address at Stanford University, told us: […]

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Nov 04, 2012
The difference between ordinary and exceptional? It’s a magic nectar…

Listen to a truly great singer singing. Note the effect the song is having on you. Now listen to the same song rendered by a more ordinary artiste. Note the difference in what you feel. The first singer probably invoked deep emotions in you, heightened your senses, made you feel better, even euphoric, about the […]

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Sep 23, 2012
Be average. That’s where the party is

There is a persistent drone in the air of human endeavour, and it goes something like this. Don’t try too hard; it’s not worth it. Don’t try to achieve too much; you’ll fail and it will hurt. Don’t stand out from the crowd; the crowd will shun you and you will be lonely. Be average. […]

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Aug 20, 2012
Applause: in BOP banking and payments, Kenya sets a standard

“The example set by Kenya’s banks when it comes to not only reaching the unbanked, but also making a profit from them, is something that the rest of the world should look to emulate. Banks in large swathes of Africa, Asia and Latin America have undergone huge expansion in the past decade. Many now rank […]

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Aug 05, 2012
Youngsters, you’re lucky to be coming of age in Africa now

Hello there, young Africans. If you are about to reach adulthood around about now, or in the coming few years, you are lucky people. You were born at exactly the right time in Africa’s history. You will be at the heart of Africa’s political coming-of-age and its economic rebirth. Let me explain. When you were […]

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Jul 29, 2012
Four habits that can take employees far

Too many employees feel disillusioned and disenchanted. Too many feel stuck in dead-end jobs with no prospect of growth or advancement. Too many are stagnating on the chair they sit on, petrifying their careers instead of electrifying them. Global surveys bear out this observation. As many as two out of every five employees feel little […]

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Jul 15, 2012
One of the secrets of national success – clean toilets

I was fascinated to read this on the Harvard Business Review blog network recently: “Recently I asked a high-level Singapore official how Singapore’s companies would be able to compete in a world of countries whose companies have greater access to low-cost labor (as in China) and cutting-edge innovation (as in the U.S.). His response was […]

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Jul 02, 2012
Why are we so fond of running multiple businesses in Africa?

“ONE of the many terms Silicon Valley has bequeathed to the business world is “serial entrepreneur”, a label for those restless souls who start one business after another. Perhaps Africa can now contribute another expression: the “parallel entrepreneur”. More than in any other part of the developing world, the continent’s budding business folk create networks […]

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Jul 01, 2012
Be the best YOU that you can be. Someone else is already someone else

Is there a job in the world more difficult than succeeding Steve Jobs? Tim Cook had to take on that role after the legendary Apple CEO succumbed to cancer last year. Imagine yourself in his shoes: taking over from the man who almost singlehandedly created the world’s most valuable company; a master showman lauded and […]

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Jun 24, 2012
Wealth should free us, not enslave us

Picture yourself at the funeral of a very rich person. This person owned much land and had plenty stashed away in plenty of bank accounts. There are many people present at this funeral, as there always are when a wealthy person passes away. The now-expired man of means is being given a fitting send-off. But […]

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Jun 10, 2012
Don’t give up – success may be just around the corner

Picture water dripping onto a large rock. The drops of water seem utterly ineffective in making even the slightest dent on the rock, which is sleek and solid and immovable. The water keeps dripping, for days, months, years. Yet there is no effect on the rock. One day, however, that rock will crumble completely. The […]

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Jun 03, 2012
Appreciate the perfectionists in your midst

While watching a cookery programme on TV the other day, I came across a most interesting word. The word is “kodawari,” and it is in Japanese. The programme in question showed a master sushi maker at work. Sushi has always fascinated me: for its artistry; its painstaking attention to detail; its insistence on the finest, […]

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May 27, 2012
The danger of running before you’ve learned to walk

Tesco is the United Kingdom’s most dominant retailer. For a couple of decades now, the supermarket chain has been all-powerful, accounting for one in eight pounds that Britons spend in shops and commanding 30% market share, in addition to being the nation’s largest private employer. And Tesco is not merely a grocer these days; it […]

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May 07, 2012
Manage the essence, not the message

The biggest problem with the reputation industry, however, is its central conceit: that the way to deal with potential threats to your reputation is to work harder at managing your reputation. The opposite is more likely: the best strategy may be to think less about managing your reputation and concentrate more on producing the best […]

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May 06, 2012
The ‘Uta do?’ culture that kills quality standards

Whatever happened to “First-Time Quality?” It seems to have become an irrelevance in Kenya today. The idea is simple enough. If you get something right the first time, you don’t have to incur the cost of inspections, revisits, rework or repeat jobs. If you pay acute attention and maintain a high standard when you do […]

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Mar 12, 2012
In business, as in soccer, strategies require time to play out

“Our strategy requires time to play out. It is a strategy designed to build sustainable long-term value for our constituents, beginning with serving our customers best. The performance metrics that matter to us are not the typical Wall Street trailing financial output indicators. Instead, they are the metrics that reflect industry thought leadership, high customer […]

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Mar 04, 2012
Why should one examination make or break a child’s life?

Another year, another set of Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education results. And another year in which parents, children and the media go into a seemingly uncontrollable frenzy about the significance of the results. I have written about this peculiar phenomenon before, and no doubt will again. For I fail to understand why we have to […]

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Feb 19, 2012
Are you a happy-clappy optimist or a sour pessimist?

Do you get the feeling that slowly, painfully, a new Kenya is being born? So do I. The old guard are being forced to concede ground; the old ways will soon be consigned to history. A new Kenya, one fit for the young and the connected as well as the decent and the discerning, will […]

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Jan 29, 2012
How good are the parts the world doesn’t see?

Looking at Apple’s fourth-quarter 2011 results is enough to boggle the mind. Which company do you know that grows its revenues at more than 70%; that sells a million (expensive) iPhones every three days; that sells more phones every day than there are babies born in the world; and that is currently worth more than […]

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Jan 23, 2012
To become better at business, read more…novels

“1. Reading stories can fine-tune your social skills by helping you better understand other human beings. 2. Entering imagined worlds builds empathy and improves your ability to take another person’s point of view. 3. A love affair with narrative may gradually alter your personality—in some cases, making you more open to new experiences and more […]

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Jan 01, 2012
May these be the things you achieve in 2012

I attended a graduation ceremony recently, and was struck by something said by one the graduands, a class president. She quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson, certainly one of the more quotable people who ever passed through this planet. Here is the quotation:    “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and […]

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Dec 05, 2011
If it’s just about you, nothing will outlast you

“The I.B.M. lesson, Mr. Palmisano said, is never become wedded to what you make, but to the values the corporation stands for. After all, I.B.M. started out making clocks, scales, punched card tabulators, and cheese slicers (“the world’s fastest at the time,” he noted). “The history of business is a bone pile of companies that […]

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Oct 02, 2011
To succeed tomorrow, say these 3 words today

There are three words you need to be able to say often if you are to have any success in today’s world. Those three words are: I DON’T KNOW. Those are in fact the three words most people of accomplishment are least likely to say. We are conditioned by our education, and indeed by early […]

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Sep 25, 2011
Why the standard CV hides what we really need to know

Microblogger @oshinity3 tweeted an arresting thought recently. To paraphrase, she asked people whether they still stated on their curricula vitae the fact that they were skilled in MS Word/Excel/PowerPoint, etc. Most people do. Why, asked @oshinity3, does this still matter? What she’s pointing out is that people have an ingrained tendency to freeze into one […]

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Sep 19, 2011
Here’s a little secret about sustained product success

“We’re always searching for that secret formula, that magic pixie dust to sprinkle over our products, services, books, causes, brands, blogs to bring them to life and make them Super Successful. Most marketing-related buzzwords gain traction by promising pixie dust results if applied to whatever it is we make, do, sell. “Add more Social!”. “Just […]

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Aug 21, 2011
Success comes from daily habits, not natural talent

Haruki Murakami is widely regarded as one of the world’s most interesting, original writers. His novels frequently combine elements of the bizarre and the mundane, the surreal and the banal in such odd measure that the reader is left baffled, rattled, disturbed – but always interested. Murakami has won numerous awards and accolades, and has […]

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Aug 07, 2011
To succeed in today’s world, you must dare to matter

“We are surrounded by Bureaucrats, Note Takers, Literalists, Manual Readers, TGIF Labourers, Map Followers, and Fearful Employees.” That’s Seth Godin describing what most people in the world do. Last week, I asked you all whether you are “Godfreys” – just a random name I chose for all the people described above. So look at the […]

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Jul 31, 2011
Do you stand out from the crowd? Unlikely…

Have you ever read a book where you want to stand up on your bed (that’s where I read) and clap on every other page? Seth Godin’s Linchpin is just that book for me. It is a manifesto, a call to action, a drumroll. So you can imagine how fortunate I felt to meet the […]

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