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

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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Jun 16, 2013
Know what you are: entrepreneur or employee?

I see it all the time: employees complaining about their jobs. The spiel goes something like this…”what’s the point of working so hard, when we don’t see any of the gains? Poor old me just gets her miserable salary, minus deductions, while the owners of the enterprise pocket the real money.” It’s a common whine, […]

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May 26, 2013
The Germans play for the long term

Last night, the 2013 UEFA Champions League final was played. I have no idea who won, as this column’s copy deadline is long before Saturday. But I can safely predict that a German team took home Europe’s premier club football trophy. This, of course, is not because I have particularly strong powers of prophecy; it […]

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Apr 15, 2013
You need to be better, not just cheaper

“Frustrated by the lack of rigorous research, we undertook a statistical study of thousands of companies, and eventually identified several hundred among them that have done well enough for a long enough period of time to qualify as truly exceptional. Then we discovered something startling: The many and diverse choices that made certain companies great […]

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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 11, 2013
Why always being late is a discourtesy, and costs money

“How did it get to be “OK” for people to be late for everything? Because as far as I am concerned, it’s not OK. In recent years it seems that a meeting set to start at 9 am, for some people means in the general vicinity of any time which starts with the numeral ‘9’. […]

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Feb 17, 2013
This Sunday, meet a special street sweeper

Let’s all take a break from Kenyan election mania this Sunday, and focus on something that actually makes a difference in our lives. Regular readers of this column will know that it searches high and low to showcase common people who show uncommon wisdom, unknown people who need to be known, and little people who […]

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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 03, 2013
Tribe is the least important element of success in the 21st century

Once upon a time, this thing called ‘tribe’ mattered a great deal. When all our livelihoods were dependent on soils, rivers and pastures, your tribe helped you secure those vital resources for ‘your’ people. Your tribe kept you safe and kept you fed, so you were right to feel loyal. Once we started to urbanize […]

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Jan 21, 2013
In 2013, you’ll have to overcome your fear of social media

“I recently taught a workshop on crisis communication at a top business school. Afterward, a mid-career executive came up to me with a question. But it wasn’t about how to handle rogue employees, or industrial accidents, or philandering CEOs. Instead, it concerned a far more personal sense of crisis: her overwhelming fear of public criticism […]

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Jan 14, 2013
Your best New Year resolution is to plan to fail

“Loss aversion grips many organisations. Far too often, new ideas are turned down because they will probably fail, without seriously asking whether the small chance of meaningful success might outweigh an inexpensive failure – even if that failure is highly likely. Most resolutions are things we decide to do because we’re convinced they will be […]

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Jan 06, 2013
5 guides to real prosperity in 2013

It is customary as the year begins to wish everyone a “prosperous” New Year. Why so? Why is being “prosperous” more important than being just “happy”; and why will “wishing” it make it happen? So I thought I would kick off 2013 with something more tangible: a guide to what might make genuine riches come […]

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Dec 17, 2012
Don’t moan about this over-connected world; gain from it

“Over the summer I invited a few friends and colleagues to my house for lunch. When they arrived, hugs and greetings were exchanged and my guests headed for the dining room while I finished up in the kitchen, mixing the homemade potato salad, and, well, let’s say “supervising” the grilling out on the patio. While […]

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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 30, 2012
How much longer will women be kept away from the top table?

There is a simple, widely observable incongruity in the higher planes of business life. Where are all the women? Specifically, where are all the women when it comes to decision-making and direction-setting? Look at the upper echelons of corporate life, and you will see only a few token feminine faces. This situation is found even […]

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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 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 22, 2012
The smartphone revolution continues apace

Looking at my mobile phone bill the other day, I noticed that the part of the bill generated by making calls has been falling steadily, while the data component has been rising. That reminded me: just over two years ago, I wrote on this page that the future of your business lay in the palm […]

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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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Apr 22, 2012
Why waiters (or their guests) can’t predict the weather

I was sitting by my favourite ocean (there is only one) the other day (I was on a break, remember) and I noticed some ominous-looking dark clouds over the ocean. I asked a passing waiter whether he thought it might rain. He looked at the sky, and said with gratifying certainty: “No chance. Those clouds […]

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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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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 19, 2011
You should enter high-growth industries – right?

“Managers often mistakenly assume that a high-growth industry will be an attractive one. Wrong. Growth is no guarantee that the industry will be profitable. For example, growth might put suppliers in the driver’s seat, driving up the industry’s costs and limiting profitability. Or, combined with low entry barriers, growth might attract new rivals, thereby increasing […]

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