"CEOs can't wait to read Sunny Bindra's articles every week."

May 11, 2014
If you want nothing done – form a committee

I had a problem with my jaw recently. I was following Nigeria’s problems with the Boko Haram terror group, and the recent truly horrific abduction of nearly 300 schoolgirls. The girls have been missing for weeks, and fears abound that they have been sold into slavery in neighbouring countries. Few of us can truly appreciate […]

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Apr 27, 2014
What the Manchester United débâcle reveals about succession planning

I knew I would have to write this article; the only question was how soon. In August last year I tweeted: “Pep Guardiola will be just fine; David Moyes will not.” I was responding to the appointment of Guardiola and Moyes as managers of two of the top teams in world football: Bayern Munich and […]

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Dec 08, 2013
In honouring Mandela, please don’t do these two things

Nelson Mandela is no more. You have read gushing tributes, noble quotations, effusive obituaries. Bear with me here; I come to bury the great man, not to praise him. Great he undoubtedly was. For one man to have demonstrated the resolve, patience, dignity, forgiveness and unselfishness that he did is a most unusual occurrence, one […]

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Nov 03, 2013
Why can’t we tell the truth any more?

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Ancient wisdom from the Bible, and a phrase we are fond of repeating in Kenya. Why, I don’t know, as we have steadfastly avoided the truth for decades. Most belief systems around the world revere the truth. The wise have always told […]

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Sep 02, 2013
My final ‘Thought Leadership’ column: the business of doing business

This will be my final column in the Thought Leadership series in this newspaper. The column began life in August 2007 and tried to bring you the best business insights from leading books and publications – and elaborate on those insights in a Kenyan and African context. In this valedictory piece, I would like to […]

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Jul 01, 2013
How prepared is your board for this world of rapid change?

“Technology is making boundaries between industries more porous and providing opportunities for attacker models. For example, in the banking industry, online consumer-payment products such as Square—a mobile app and device that enables merchants to accept payments—are challenging traditional payment solutions. Free Mobile, a French telecommunications attacker, has captured significant market share by offering inexpensive mobile […]

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Jun 23, 2013
Leadership lessons from a retiring manager

A certain someone became manager of an institution when I was still a greenhorn at university. He retired last week, having clocked a full 26 years in the job, at a time when I myself entertain thoughts of retirement. In those years I have changed jobs, even occupations, several times; the gentleman I refer to […]

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May 10, 2013
Please don’t become a leader. Unless you’re ready to do it properly

(First published in the TQM Journal, Volume 25, Issue 2, 2013) Everyone wants to be a leader. Almost no-one understands what being a good one actually means. Leadership is aspirational because I think by being appointed ‘leader’ I will announce this to the world: I have arrived. I have the title on my business card. […]

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Apr 22, 2013
Why we’re all moving away from ‘Big Man’ leadership

“For most of modern history…going back to medieval times, the dominant way people put up buildings was by going out and hiring Master Builders who designed them, engineered them, and oversaw construction from start to finish, portico to plumbing. Master Builders built Notre Dame, St Peter’s Basilica, and the United States Capitol Building. But by […]

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Apr 21, 2013
How important is it to be popular?

I once sat down on one of London’s landmark big bridges. Right on the road, I mean. During rush hour. I was sitting with my fellow students from university to protest the stand of the government of the United Kingdom, and in particular that of its leader at the time, one Margaret Thatcher, on the […]

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Apr 14, 2013
Now, let’s get down to business

Kenya has much to be proud of. It has come through a general election with maturity and respect for legal process. It has formed a new government with hardly a drop of blood being shed. It has set an example to Africa. For this, we must thank the winners for not gloating or basking in […]

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Apr 01, 2013
Why the high and mighty keep tumbling

“In “The End of Power” Mr (Moses) Naím, a former Venezuelan cabinet minister now ensconced at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a think-tank, argues forcefully that rigid pyramids of power are collapsing. Micropowers are learning how to frustrate macropowers. Bigwigs are finding it harder to wield power and harder to hold on to it. […]

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Mar 17, 2013
What a new government can and can’t do for you

And so we wait some more. We have a new president-elect, but must wait to have a new president. For there is the not-so-small matter of a court case challenging the result. Most people I have spoken to, from all sides of the political divide, are suffering from severe election fatigue. Many would just want […]

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Mar 04, 2013
Your new work as CEO: leading the moonshots

“I worry that something has gone seriously wrong with the way we run companies. If you read the media coverage of our company, or of the technology industry in general, it’s always about the competition. The stories are written as if they are covering a sporting event. But it’s hard to find actual examples of […]

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Feb 24, 2013
Meet a last-minute contender for the presidency

Kenya was stunned this morning by the news that a court has ruled a ninth presidential contender must enter the fray, and will feature in tomorrow’s second televised debate. The Sunday Nation caught up with Dr Charlatan Sungura to get to know him. Q: Dr Charlatan, it is a pleasure to meet you. A: Please, […]

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Feb 11, 2013
The time for big-ego leadership is fading fast

“Take time to learn. Learn the people. Learn the organization. Leaders need to leave their ego outside the door before they come in. You cannot know everything. You can never be the alpha and the omega. I have worked with people who were too full of themselves. There have been people who fill up the […]

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Feb 10, 2013
Welcome again, Kenyans: the election matatu race is on

There is a short history lesson l like to provide for our youngsters in Kenya, every time we approach a general election. In the 1980s, Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki led the same government. In the 1990s and in 2002, they were on opposite sides, and vociferously so. In 2007, they were together again, […]

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Feb 04, 2013
What’s the point of Davos, if no one trusts leaders?

“Less than one fifth of the general public believes business leaders and government officials will tell the truth when confronted with a difficult issue. There also is a growing trust gap between institutions and their leaders – globally, trust in business is 32 points higher than trust in business leaders to tell the truth; trust […]

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Jan 27, 2013
We ignored the poor, so now they will choose their own leaders

He was born into poverty, one of seven children. He agitated against the iniquities and elitism of his society from an early age, often violently. He eventually formed a political movement that focused exclusively on the problems of the poor, and it quickly gathered a large following. He was supported to the hilt by the […]

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Jan 13, 2013
Apply these 4 tests before you vote

The time for Kenyans to select new leaders is upon us again. We go to the polls in just a few weeks time. Will we choose wisely? The precedents are not good. We know very well that most Kenyans do not choose leaders on merit. They choose them mostly on tribe. Your kinsman is your […]

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Dec 30, 2012
What I wish for Kenya in 2013

This is my last column of 2012, and what better way to bring the year to a close than to make some wishes for the year to come. I gaze at 2013 with a mixture of hope and fear, as it is that most potentially catastrophic Kenyan annum, an election year. So first and foremost, […]

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Dec 24, 2012
Here’s what you do with mistakes: own up to them

“The reason we did Maps is we looked at this, and we said, “What does the customer want? What would be great for the customer?” We wanted to provide the customer turn-by-turn directions. We wanted to provide the customer voice integration. We wanted to provide the customer flyover. And so we had a list of […]

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Dec 16, 2012
Nairobi’s new governor should make rain a blessing again

Rain is a blessing. From childhood, we denizens of Africa are made to understand that adage. Rain is a gift of the gods, a nourishing of the parched earth beneath our feet. It causes a sudden and mysterious splashing of green all around us. It causes our food to grow and our spirits to soar. […]

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Nov 26, 2012
This board has only one thing left to do: resign

“Hewlett-Packard’s $9.7 billion acquisition of Autonomy seemed like a bad idea long before Tuesday’s allegations of an accounting scandal made clear it was a deal that should never have happened. It’s the latest in a cavalcade of costly blunders at HP. The Silicon Valley pioneer has squandered billions of dollars on ill-advised acquisitions, compounding the […]

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Nov 18, 2012
Missing Person: The Kenyan We Want

New roads. New railway stations. New ports. New connectivity. That’s the Kenya We Want, right? We know infrastructure is at the heart of development, right? We know that infrastructure investments will power the economy to Vision 2030 and Middle Income status, right? Wrong. Do you wonder why we build a new ‘super’ highway only to […]

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Nov 12, 2012
As Hurricane Sandy showed, a crisis is a leader’s true test

“Prior to Sandy’s landfall, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had brutally attacked President Obama’s leadership credentials in his keynote address at the Republican convention. And President Obama was focused on his re-election campaign, increasingly attacking Republican positions. But a crisis makes strange bedfellows, and this week, these political enemies together toured the damage, comforted victims, […]

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Oct 22, 2012
This is exactly what’s wrong with big business

“Air carriers may be flying through rough weathers, but their top executives have got handsome pay hikes, including the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of crisis-ridden Kingfisher Airlines, who has emerged as the second-highest paid among all his peers at the Vijay Mallya-led UB Group. Among the country’s three listed airlines also, Kingfisher CEO Sanjay Agarwal’s […]

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Oct 07, 2012
Decisions are easy when you don’t suffer the consequences

It must be easy to starve the education sector of funds, if your own children are not affected by the decision. If your offspring invariably go to private educational institutions, here or abroad, I imagine it is not difficult to wield the axe and say, “We can’t pay, won’t pay.” Your kids will be just […]

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