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

Sep 17, 2012
How a flamboyant airline fell to earth

“With total liabilities of more than $2 billion (Rs.11,100 crore), Kingfisher is operating on a skeleton schedule, with its flying fleet cut to one-fourth, half its pilots gone and the lowest market share of any airline in India. Earlier this month, the airline reported its net loss had widened to Rs.650.78 crore for the quarter […]

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Sep 10, 2012
We need leaders who can part the sea AND take the people across

“There are three classic models of leadership: the first is “autocratic leadership” where the leader manages to get somewhere but doesn’t take people with them, for example Margaret Thatcher. Then there is “charismatic leadership” where the leader takes everyone with him but doesn’t actually get anywhere, Tony Blair being a good example. Finally there’s the […]

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Sep 09, 2012
Leadership cults retard national development

Travel is great for a variety of reasons. One of the most important is the possibility of serendipitously coming across something you might not otherwise have seen. This happened to me recently when I opened a magazine on an airplane to find the following: “There was this one instance when a woman in her early […]

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Sep 03, 2012
Corporate values: a belief system, or a cynical calculation?

“We need to be able to trust pharmaceutical companies. We expect banks to be run and populated by honest people, to keep our money safe, and to give us our money back when we need it. We want oil companies to have a strong culture of engineering professionalism and commitment to health and safety. If […]

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Jul 16, 2012
A very important strategic question to ask yourself

“I remember a time in the middle of 1985…I was in my office with Intel’s chairman and CEO, Gordon Moore, and we were discussing our quandary. Our mood was downbeat. I looked out the window at the Ferris wheel of the Great America amusement park revolving in the distance, then I turned to back to […]

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Jul 08, 2012
Good leaders are interested in windows, not mirrors

Do you want to know how to spot a good leader? Here’s a simple test: Good leaders spend more time looking out of windows than into mirrors. Let me explain. Good leaders are insatiably curious about the world. They are always interested in what’s going on, in how things work, in what’s changing and what’s […]

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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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May 28, 2012
How the “Shareholder Spring” is rocking many a board

“The corporate world is emerging from several weeks of boardroom turbulence dubbed the “Shareholder Spring.” In annual meeting after annual meeting around the world, boards have been taken to task by investors and other stakeholders on a wide range of issues: remuneration, board composition, competence, diversity, voting control, dual stock, and more. In the meantime, […]

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May 13, 2012
We lost a decade in reforming Kenya’s state corporations

Back in 2003, we thought we had put the era of truly horrible state corporations behind us. The new government of the day, swept into power in a massive rejection of the failures and excesses of the 1990s, promised to reform the public sector and revitalize all of Kenya’s dead or dying parastatals. A good […]

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Apr 30, 2012
A great leader takes the blame when things go wrong

“Pep Guardiola has defended Lionel Messi after his penalty miss as good as cost Barcelona a place in the Champions League final. Messi has enjoyed an extraordinary run of form in the past four seasons, scoring 63 goals in all competitions this season alone. However, he failed to find the net in either leg of […]

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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 11, 2012
This corporate “Mugiithi” dance is out of date

If you attend a corporate retreat in Kenya, you just know what you’re going to do during the outdoor dinner, don’t you? After sufficient alcohol has been imbibed and inhibitions have been sufficiently loosened, you will undoubtedly do a “Mugiithi” dance. This is where you form a human train with the leader at the front, […]

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Feb 27, 2012
It’s time to think “What-if”

“A tumultuous 12 months that saw revolutions in the Middle East, a worsening debt crisis in Europe and a tsunami in Japan has set the tone for corporate activity in 2012. Caution, flexibility, nimbleness and deep knowledge of host countries are more important than ever, executives and their advisers said at the World Economic Forum’s […]

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Feb 06, 2012
Yes, CEOs: you WILL need to understand and engage with social media

“As I jogged down Wall Street in New York in October through the barricades, police horses, and thousands of activists, something became clear. The masses had self-organized and social media had added yet another social movement to its résumé. At the same time, something else became clear to me. Much higher than street level, in […]

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Jan 30, 2012
Learn from the disastrous leadership of this ship captain

“The Italian cruise ship the Costa Concordia sank off the coast of Tuscany last Friday night, after smashing into rocks off the island of Giglio. The 114,500-tonne vessel, carrying 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew, hit a submerged reef at 9.42pm, after the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, had steered it to within 200m of shore to […]

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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 16, 2012
To really understand a business, don’t talk to the CEO

“I long ago realised that to understand a business I would learn much more by talking to people involved in day-to-day operations than the chief executive. They represented “what is really going on here?”” JOHN KAY, Financial Times (January 3, 2011) The excerpt shown, from Professor John Kay’s regular FT column, caught my eye. I […]

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Jan 15, 2012
A country of Big People and Little People

In Kenya there are Big People, and there are Little People. There are very few Big People, and very, very many Little People. The Big People call all the shots and make all the decisions, and the Little People obey. The slightly bigger Little People spend all their time and effort trying to become Big […]

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Jan 02, 2012
2011 was a bad year for business leadership

“This was a year, sadly, when examples of poor leadership (bad decision-making, selfish actions and inexplicably bone-headed moves) seemed to outnumber the good.” JENA MCGREGOR, The Washington Post (Dec 19, 2011) As we end another year, we in the business world have to concede an uncomfortable fact: 2011 was not a great year for corporate […]

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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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Nov 21, 2011
Is there a skill every leader must have?

“”We hired a new CEO, but had to let him go after just seven months,” the chairman of an East Coast think tank complained to me recently.” His resumé looked spectacular, he did splendidly in all the interviews. But within a week or two we were hearing pushback from the staff. They were telling us, […]

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Nov 14, 2011
How many employees would like to leave your organization?

“Employee loyalty is dropping around the world, according to new global analysis of Mercer’s What’s Working™ survey. The research, conducted among nearly 30,000 employees in 17 geographic markets between the fourth quarter of 2010 and the second quarter of 2011, shows that the percentage of workers seriously considering leaving their organization has risen since the […]

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Oct 31, 2011
Don’t rush to join that board

“Female executives packed the room as former Xerox CEO and Chairman Anne Mulcahy took the stage at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit to share her best and worst practices on building boards. Throughout her career, Mulcahy has sat on boards of six public companies, three non-profits, and one privately held international company. “Sometimes, I did not […]

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Oct 24, 2011
Should your next CEO be an insider or an outsider?

“On the face of it, scouring the world for a superstar makes perfect sense. Surely a great manager can make all the difference to an ailing firm? Jack Welch boosted General Electric’s market capitalisation by 4,500% at a time when its old rival, Westinghouse, was disintegrating. Surely management skills are portable? What other justification is […]

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Oct 17, 2011
5 warning signs of a horrible boss in the making

1. Kisses-up and kicks-down: “How does the prospective boss respond to feedback from people higher in rank and lower in rank?” 2. Can’t take it: “Does the prospective boss accept criticism or blame when the going gets tough?” Be wary of people who constantly dish out criticism but can’t take a healthy dose themselves.  3. […]

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Oct 09, 2011
Is any leader serious about honouring Wangari Maathai?

Wangari Maathai deservedly got a state funeral, the first ever for a woman in these parts. She warranted it, for rarely has a Kenyan received such global acclaim. But here’s the thing: once the funeral is over, and we have stopped shedding the requisite tears, how are we going to honour her memory? The fact […]

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Oct 03, 2011
Ugly boardroom battles are killing great companies

“Really, Hewlett-Packard? This is what’s become of the company of Bill and Dave — not just the founders of HP, but the founding fathers of Silicon Valley? Three CEOs in six years. Two of those CEOs who embarrassed themselves with inept campaigns for elective office. The other CEO who managed to get tossed out of […]

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