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

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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Sep 18, 2011
Leadership is about preventing disasters, not reacting to them

I am so very tired of writing about disasters. And I am sure you are so very tired of reading about them. It was a bad week. First a ferry sank off Zanzibar. Several hundred people, including little children, were thrown into the sea. More than two hundred are believed to have died. Next, fuel […]

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Sep 04, 2011
Lessons in traffic management from a small island

I was fortunate enough to sit atop the Singapore Flyer recently – the world’s biggest observation wheel. At its apex, the Flyer is as high as a 42-storey building, and offers unparalleled views of the famous Singapore skyline, its busy port – even of neighbouring Indonesia, across the water. Being a Peculiar Kenyan, however, I […]

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Aug 29, 2011
Are all your leaders from one ‘tribe?’ Trouble will soon follow…

“(Research in Motion) is run by a ‘good ole’ boy’ network from Southern Ontario. Though I actually believe there can be advantages in this close-knit, trust-based social ecosystem, it is unacceptable in this day and age that a global brand should have the vast majority of its citizens derived from a section of a small […]

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Aug 14, 2011
Another famine caused by people, not nature

I have been trying to avoid mentioning our current famine, as I thought I had written all I could about famines in the past. Clearly not, though, judging by the actions and utterances of those who ought to know better. Seven years ago, I wrote some articles on this page about famines and the right […]

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Aug 08, 2011
The very subtle job of leading the board

“Today, greater professionalism is expected of a Chairman. S/he must possess a range of ‘soft skills’ and have the ability to coach new board members (especially executive directors); handle debates with skill; tease out concerns; orchestrate and unite an often disparate group; recruit the right people; and effect behavioural change where necessary. The chairman needs […]

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Aug 01, 2011
Long-serving CEOs, learn from the fall of Arab dictators

“Some CEOs of long tenure must have gotten a slightly queasy feeling as they watched the recent events in the Arab world. Even if they bear no resemblance at all to Hosni Mubarak or Muammar Qaddafi—even if they are the most competent and benevolent of leaders—they may well feel horror at how rapidly the fortunes […]

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Jul 25, 2011
When the founder becomes the problem in the business

“In the US they call it the “Murdoch discount”. This is the amount by which US analysts reckon shares in News Corporation are depressed because of the controlling stake held by the Murdoch family; about 40 per cent of the B voting shares, although only 13 per cent of the share capital. Analysts never like […]

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Jul 18, 2011
When do these business leaders spend any time in their OWN businesses?

“Timothy Post (@timothypost): #tcdisrupt I’m beginning to think that “startups” are what entrepreneurs do when they’re NOT jetting to all the tech conferences each month.” TWITTER (24 May 2011) This column has been quoting and analyzing interesting stuff from books, journals, magazines and newspapers for years now. It’s time to move with the times and […]

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Jul 17, 2011
Murdoch’s media morality tale

Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, so long a global behemoth, is in serious trouble. Commentators are scrambling to make sense of the events that led to the closure of a 168-year-old newspaper, the News of the World (NOTW) – until last Sunday Britain’s most popular newspaper. It won’t end there. The shenanigans at NOTW threaten to […]

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Jun 12, 2011
Why is Kigali so clean and orderly?

After years of procrastination, I finally made it to Kigali recently. I had, of course, heard what you have all heard: that it is an African city that is clean and orderly. I was, of course, sceptical. Seeing is believing. Even so, the evidence of my own eyes was hard to believe. The roads and […]

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May 02, 2011
If you think leadership is all about you, you’re dead wrong

“THE LONE RANGER: This is the “I need to do it myself if it is going to get done right” leader.  News flash, you are NOT a leader if you are doing everything and deciding everything.  Being a leader is about empowering others, motivating them to act like an owner.  A lone ranger may feel […]

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Apr 18, 2011
My best advice for managing perceptions – just be yourself

“Executive coach Elizabeth Kuhnke offers some simple tips that can make the difference between being perceived as powerful or merely part of the pack. 1. Consider your stance. Place your hands facing each other and steeple your fingers. This forces your palms apart and, whether you are sitting or standing, your arms will take up […]

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Apr 04, 2011
Is your consultant strengthening or weakening your organization?

“A good consultant wants clients ultimately to be able to make their own good decisions—but the better a client develops the skill for the organization, the less it needs the consultant. So perhaps even well-intentioned consultants unconsciously build, with their clients, their own prisons—a set of invisible bars reinforced by a mindset that leaders always […]

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Mar 21, 2011
Do people have more energy or less after talking to you?

“Our high performers create enthusiasm for things… They create energy, and even though this is intangible it generates client sales and follow-on work as it gets other people here engaged in and supportive of what they are doing.” ROBERT I. SUTTON Good Boss, Bad Boss (2010) Bob Sutton is that rarity: a professor who talks […]

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Mar 06, 2011
Leaders, pay attention to the fruit-seller who changed the world

Kenyan leaders, I know you don’t read much. Your time seems to be wholly consumed by midnight meetings, political plots and ugly utterances. So I thought I would offer you an executive summary of the story of a man who has just changed the world. Please read this as your driver overlaps through our 24/7 […]

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Feb 14, 2011
Happy employees create happy shareholders

“…companies with high levels of engagement (65 percent or greater) outperformed the total stock market index and posted shareholder returns 19 percent higher than average in 2009. Still not convinced? Companies with disinterested employees (40 percent or less engagement) had a total shareholder return that was 44 percent lower than average.” COURTNEY RUBIN, www.inc.com (20 […]

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Feb 06, 2011
Bad things happen when leaders become detached from followers

Like a tidal wave the people came, and kept coming. They had had enough, and had nothing to lose. Only a complete removal of those who led them would appease them. Day after day after day they piled into the streets. They made their own country ungovernable and froze its economy. It was only a […]

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Jan 30, 2011
Open letter to Kenyan CEOs, part 2

Dear Kenyan Chief Executives Last week I wrote to you to point out that if your company’s customer service sucks, there’s only one real culprit – the person you greet in the mirror every morning. Some of you may have taken umbrage at that suggestion, so do allow me to elaborate in this second part […]

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Jan 23, 2011
Open letter to Kenyan CEOs, part 1

Dear Kenyan Chief Executives As we launch deeper into 2011, and as many of you sit down to plan your strategic priorities, I thought it apt to plant some ‘thought seeds’ in your magnificent minds. You will know, I am sure, that the core of your business is your customer. Business is an ecosystem, but […]

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Jan 10, 2011
Is your CEO just a big baby?

“Until last week, I had always thought that it was the worst CEOs that had so much in common with two-year-olds. Both groups tend to swagger round with a wide-legged gait. Both say “mine” a lot and are exceedingly bad at sharing. Both have short attention spans. Both lack common sense and have issues with […]

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Jan 09, 2011
We need less No-Drama Obama and more Barry Oh!

Isn’t it time we Kenyans gave Barack Obama a mid-term report? We take a special interest in his presidency, after all. Two years ago I waxed entirely lyrical about Obama’s ascendancy to the world’s top job. That a black man, with Kenyan origins to boot, had made it so high was indeed cause for celebration […]

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Dec 20, 2010
Over the X-mas holidays, will your smartphone be on or off?

“BlackBerrys on or off while on holiday? Definitely on, Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of communication services giant WPP, told this newspaper recently. Off, said Tamara Mellon, founder and chief creative officer of shoemaker Jimmy Choo. When it comes to e-mails, Ms Mellon said, “holidays are a no-go zone”. Sir Martin suggested that those squinting […]

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Dec 13, 2010
Here’s a strange word to bring into your workplace: kindness

“The signature of my first book, In Search of Excellence (written with Bob Waterman), was a six-word phrase: “Hard is soft. Soft is hard.” As Bob and I examined the problems besetting US corporations circa 1980, we believed they and their advisers had got things backwards. We said that in the end it was the […]

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Dec 06, 2010
Try leading from the back of the boat

“If you think about how you steer a boat, it’s always from the back, and I’ve moved toward the back of the boat. Initially, my sense of leadership was to be the military general out in front of the troops and the first one rushing into battle. You have to be a leader. You have […]

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Oct 03, 2010
India’s games shame should be a wake-up call

India’s shame is nearly complete. You will not have failed to notice the utter mess the country has made of the preparing for the ongoing Commonwealth Games. “Shining India” was meant to showcase its newly acquired global prowess by holding an event to make the world sit up and take notice. Well, the world did […]

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Aug 16, 2010
When is it time to let go of your organisation?

“How do owner-managers know when and by how much to loosen the apron strings? And how do they choose who should take over responsibility for their precious offspring? Mayank Patel, founder of Currencies Direct, a UK-based foreign exchange and international payments business with turnover of £1.2bn ($1.8bn, €1.4bn), says he knew from the start in […]

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