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

Jun 23, 2024
Value your instincts, but reinforce them with learning

As a teenager, I would be often found in what was Nairobi’s leading second-hand bookshop of the time, off Koinange Street. Booklovers thronged this shop, and the array of popular titles available was surprisingly good. I was there every week or so, trying to make my meagre pocket-money go further by buying used books rather […]

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Apr 14, 2024
The essence of a good business? Always the same

The croissant is a commonplace food these days, made all over the world. But a great croissant, it must be said, is difficult to find, even in the capitals of Europe. The best examples of the delicacy have a lightness in the hand, a fineness in the texture, a fluffiness in the mouth that only […]

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Mar 03, 2024
Where might your next great hire be hiding? Inside your organization

Your big company is looking to fill a key position. Where do you look? Out in the job market, naturally! Put out an advert, talk to a headhunter, put the word around. It seems to be a natural instinct. But should it be? Looking externally is certainly the easier option. Surveys show that in-house recruiters […]

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Dec 03, 2023
What this CEO’s chaotic sacking revealed

Picture this scenario: The board of directors of an iconic organisation decides to fire its well-known CEO, without warning, issuing a cryptic announcement to that effect and appointing an interim CEO from within the organisation to hold fort. That stuff happens often, so nothing too extraordinary thus far.  All hell breaks loose, however. It turns […]

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Nov 26, 2023
How to bring the humanity back to your business

I have been saying to businesses large and small for decades now: there’s an affection button that you must press. It’s the button that, once activated, creates the emotion: “I like these people.” That is one of the most potent feelings in business, yet it’s also the most ignored. Last week I showed how small, […]

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Sep 10, 2023
A culture of service is a huge business advantage

A recent experience at a hotel made me pause and reflect. I had looked over the wide array of desserts available in the lunch buffet, and chosen a nice looking mousse in a long-stemmed glass. After carrying the sweet dish back to my table, I noticed that the dessert spoon already laid out there was […]

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Sep 03, 2023
How engaged are the employees where you work?

Employee engagement is a very big deal. Much of what differentiates mediocre organizations from excellent ones is this very simple thing: do the people who work there care about their work? Will they give of their best, and will they go the extra mile? High employee engagement, though, is very rare! The people at Gallup […]

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Aug 27, 2023
What would you do if you faced this business dilemma?

Gary Vaynerchuk, serial entrepreneur and digital marketing evangelist, begins his new book, Twelve and a Half, with an interesting anecdote. GaryVee, as he is known on social media, runs VaynerMedia, a creative agency. He tells us he once had to attend a very difficult meeting with a leading client. This stemmed from a bad mistake […]

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May 07, 2023
The tricky challenge of evolving the family business

Look at this list of companies: Walmart, Ford, Bosch, Aldi, Tata, Toyota, Hermès, Maersk, Samsung, Dangote, Bidvest, BMW. Quite a roll-call, huh? What do they have in common? They were all family founded. Family businesses are a really big deal in the world. Surveys around the globe regularly suggest that they contribute close to two-thirds […]

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Apr 16, 2023
Why do you ask for customer feedback?

You’re familiar, I’m sure, with the guest feedback survey that hotels send out to those who have stayed with them. You click a link, provide some ratings based on your experience of the hotel, and perhaps some more detailed points if you have the time or inclination. That opportunity, however, is typically provided soon after […]

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Mar 19, 2023
Why do we still tolerate bullies in our organizations?

We all know about bullies at school. They seemed to be ever-present when we were being educated. The kids who were bigger and more aggressive than others, who then intimidated and tormented their smaller and milder-mannered schoolmates. Bullying was rampant when I was in school, and it led to some severe issues in those unfortunate […]

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Jan 22, 2023
This airline’s recent meltdown has lessons for us all

Southwest Airlines has been the business-education world’s poster-child for the longest time. It started life half a century ago as an upstart low-cost disruptor, and grew steadily to become a huge airline—and a hugely popular one. It now has more than 700 aircraft, and it is also, in an industry dogged by regular downturns and […]

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Dec 18, 2022
What do your organisation’s core values actually say?

Let me apologize in advance: I am about to upset a bunch of people this Sunday. If you are part of a large corporation, I want to discuss your core values. You know, those lofty things on your walls, your computer screens, your office mugs. They are supposed to be your guiding lights; your noble […]

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Dec 04, 2022
Pour some praise, not just cold water

You are a young child, nervously taking your report card to your parents. You have done quite well, a few ‘A’ grades; some ‘B’s; one ‘C’. Your father looks at the report. He scans down with his finger, stopping at the single ‘C.’ He frowns and puts the piece of paper down. He admonishes you […]

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Nov 27, 2022
Who innovates, and why?

Last week I discussed some examples of rapid and effective innovation, highlighting the “YO!” chain of sushi restaurants. That business could have taken a fatal hit from the COVID-19 pandemic, given the high-touch nature of its business; but lo and behold, it’s still alive, still kicking, still growing. Others didn’t experience that fortunate an outcome. […]

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Nov 20, 2022
How one business overcame a major setback

I’m a great lover of sushi, and many years ago I came across my first kaitenzushi restaurant, in Hamburg of all places. This involves a conveyer belt snaking through an eatery, winding its way past diners. Chefs prepare their offerings in advance and place them in little containers on the belt. Diners look at what’s […]

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Oct 30, 2022
Want to join a board? You’ll need to be able to think in these three ways

Lots of people want to join boards. Who wouldn’t? To be a member of the board of directors of a reputable organization bestows great esteem, does it not? It’s an impressive line in your resumé, an eye-catching feather in your cap. Of course you want that. Wait, do you really? Being a board director is […]

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Sep 04, 2022
About to give feedback? Read this first…

Feedback has become a touchstone of management practice. We are encouraged to give feedback, and to receive it. We ask for it, and we dole it out. We believe this will help us all improve our performance by understanding our strengths and weaknesses—through the views of those who work or interact with us. Wherever you […]

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Jul 24, 2022
How many in your organization would leave tomorrow?

The year 2003, for those who can remember it, was a time of great optimism in Kenya. A new government was in place, installed by the voters after a prolonged period of autocracy and economic stagnation.  That optimism caused me to leave employment in order to seek greater fulfilment in my work; and it also […]

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May 22, 2022
How companies get to celebrate their 100th birthdays

Large corporations don’t really have long lives. It is estimated that the average lifespan of a large American company is under 20 years these days. Many enjoy short-lived success, and then just fail and go bankrupt. Others get merged or acquired. Why should this be? As I wrote in my book The Bigger Deal, corporate […]

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Apr 17, 2022
Where does great customer care come from?

I’m writing this sitting in an organization where I’ve had a surprisingly good customer experience. That is rare enough to make me pause and reflect. Why is it that some can pull this off, but most fail quite miserably? First, here’s what was good. It started from the front entrance, when the security guard jumped […]

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Nov 14, 2021
To offer great customer experience, first deliver great employee experience

Someone close to me, visiting from abroad, was left confounded recently. He had gone to one of our leading retailers in Nairobi to buy a laptop for his family here. He had chosen the model. He had the money ready. He was ready to take it home.  Oops. It turned out the shop didn’t actually […]

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Nov 07, 2021
Not holding on to staff? Mind the hidden costs

You can leave this job anytime. There are many more where you came from. Hundreds out there would die for your job.  Have you uttered those words as an employer? Or had them uttered to you as an employee? They are commonplace, even right now in the 21st century. Many of those who employ others […]

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Sep 19, 2021
Should we let go of outdated dress codes?

Some years ago, I stood up in a boardroom to address the assembled directors. I had been asked to speak to board members on trends in governance and strategy. Before I could speak, however, a hand was raised. A visibly peeved director asked me why I was addressing that room, a gathering of the high […]

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Sep 12, 2021
Are you a good customer?

My first book was Crown Your Customer. It was an early attempt to chronicle the supremacy of the customer. Your business only succeeds if your customers are happy, I wrote, and if they are happy enough to keep buying from you. Place the customer at the centre of your world, and you won’t regret it. […]

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Aug 29, 2021
How much unnecessary pain do you inflict on your customers?

Some years back I was the facilitator for a strategy retreat for a leading corporate, and checked into a hotel for the event. It was a high-level affair; all board members and senior executives were present. A top-notch hotel had therefore been chosen, to cater for the senior attendees and deliver an excellent service experience. […]

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Jul 25, 2021
Less is more. A life lesson

Less is more, good people. Less is more. If you’re about to give a long speech, cut it in half. If you are presenting a slide deck, reduce it to a third of what you planned. And cut away all the superfluous text on every slide as well. Why? Because when you overdo it, it’s […]

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Jun 27, 2021
Can you eat your own dog food?

Many years ago, I was frustrated by an airline’s constant lateness. A batch of clients heading for our leadership programme had again been delayed by many hours, causing big disruption to our carefully laid out schedule. This had become a regular, predictable occurrence. The hotel manager waiting with me told me: “It’s a shame that […]

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