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

Mar 02, 2014
To succeed properly, allow yourself to fail

My son was fired from his job the other day. And his father was delighted. He’s only ten years old. And the ‘job’ was as manager of a leading football team. In a popular video game. I spent time earlier this week with successful entrepreneurs, listening to their life stories. And here’s the thing about […]

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Feb 23, 2014
How Kenyan farmers quailed at quail farming

Quail eggs were hailed as the answer to all ailments; prices began rising fast; enterprising Kenyans rushed in to make money; supply surged and prices fell back sharply; many were left nursing wounds and cursing their luck. In that sequence of events lies many a lesson for peculiar Kenyans. Let’s unpick a few this Sunday. […]

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Feb 09, 2014
Watch all these jobs disappear

This column often highlights the various technological disruptions that will change all our lives – for better and for worse. As I have written before, this is a time of phenomenal economic and technological change, and the ramifications will be felt far and wide. One of the issues we will have to deal with in […]

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Feb 02, 2014
Your apathetic employees can bring your business to its knees

During the recent holiday season, I took a taxi from the hotel where I was staying, to go and visit a nearby shopping mall. The driver was courteous and polite. He maintained a very clean and pleasing vehicle. He was solicitous and considerate, and did everything possible for his customer’s convenience, such as driving carefully, […]

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Jan 26, 2014
Wisdom lies in accepting your own foolishness

How many times do you want to be wrong before you’ll accept you’re not infallible? I often watch some of the more cocksure folks amongst us strut from one bad decision to another – while never once acknowledging their own mistakes and errors of judgement. The blame is passed swiftly, scapegoats are found quickly, and […]

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Jan 12, 2014
Doing more with less

In my first year at university, I was like most students around me: finding my way in the world; straining to understand my own identity and place; yearning for experiences, the more the merrier. My budget was tight, though. Like most of my fellows, I spread my money as far as possible, seeking the cheapest […]

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Jan 05, 2014
Success is no longer a train you board with a ticket

To succeed in the world to come, you won’t be boarding trains with tickets; you’ll be jumping off planes with parachutes. These are fast-changing, enormously disruptive times. Success is no longer about playing safe, being predictable, or following schedules. That’s how it was when I was growing up. Children were told to pick safe subjects; […]

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Dec 29, 2013
3 words to use (and mean) this year

As another year draws to a close, many of us will be sitting down to reflect on the months that passed, and those to come. Kenya is fifty years old now, and we should use this milestone to engage in deep introspection, not just frenzied celebration. It is not the number of years that matter, […]

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Dec 22, 2013
Beware of inventing a simple cause for every effect

Here’s a scene from one of my favourite comic strips: Dilbert’s ‘pointy-haired boss’ walks in looking sleepy and bedraggled. He tells everyone that he’s started sleeping very few hours every night, because he read that some of the most famous geniuses in history slept just four hours per night. That’s ridiculous, right? But what if […]

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Dec 01, 2013
Four advance clues about character

I run a leadership programme. One of the key aims is to help leaders, current and future, develop a deep understanding of strategy. I have been a strategy advisor for much of my life, and love the subject deeply. Nonetheless, I always end the strategy module with the following quotation from US General Norman Schwarzkopf: […]

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Nov 17, 2013
Which new technology will disrupt your life next?

Early in 2010, I wrote here that the future of your business might well lie in the palm of your hand. I was referring, of course, to the unstoppable rise of mobile computing. Since then, the smart, mobile, connected device is in more than a billion hands globally – and is expected to be in […]

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Oct 27, 2013
Whatever business you’re in, a surprise is coming

I’ve always liked taking photographs, so I’ve always had a camera. My wife prefers moving images, so she’s always in the market for a video camera. We both hate talking on the phone, so we carried mobile phones more out of necessity than choice. Here’s the thing. Those three consumer items – camera, videocam, phone […]

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Oct 20, 2013
Your success comes from solving the problems of others

I like Alain de Botton. Ostensibly, he’s a philosopher. But unlike most people who tag themselves with that description, he is a very interesting man. The focus of his work is not abstruse concepts, but the practical realities of life. He also keeps up a barrage of erudite tweets. One of those is the reason […]

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Sep 08, 2013
Kenya’s ‘tenderpreneurs’ are killing its entrepreneurs

Our enterprise culture is one of Kenya’s greatest assets. Kenyans have a ‘can-do’ attitude, often overcoming great odds to establish businesses small and large. The rate at which we start businesses and sustain them is the envy of our neighbours. It is the engine that drives economic growth and creates employment, formal and informal. What’s […]

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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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Aug 04, 2013
Please don’t start a business. Unless…

I want to be my own boss. I want to work for myself, not for others. I should be enriching myself, not a bunch of strangers. A common echo, seductive in its simplicity. Who wouldn’t want to be self-directing, not answerable to others, keeping all the fruits of one’s labour? The answer is this: YOU […]

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Jul 29, 2013
Great career advice: look for rocket ships

“Eric responded with perhaps the best piece of career advice that I have ever heard. He covered my spreadsheet with his hand and told me not to be an idiot (also a great piece of advice). Then he explained that only one criterion mattered when picking a job – fast growth. When companies grow quickly, […]

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Jul 28, 2013
Don’t be a brand; just be a better person

It’s all the rage these days: how are you managing your brand? Not your company or product brand, please understand: your personal brand. You, as a person and individual, now have to worry about how your brand is looking to the world. You will even be told to manage multiple sub-brands: your leadership brand, your […]

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Jul 22, 2013
If cost-cutting is your main strategy, you’re done

“There are no surer signs of the inadequacy and delinquency of corporate leadership than that cost efficiency should feature as the dominant issue facing the company, and that the tactics of outsourcing, shared services, reorganization and other short-term palliatives are being paraded as the main drivers of future profitability.” JULES GODDARD & TONY ECCLES ‘Uncommon […]

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Jul 21, 2013
Are you laughing your way to the bank or the graveyard?

Which of the following things have happened to you of late? You want to buy a product for your home. You have spoken to a vendor and agreed a house visit so that installation can be done. You take time off from work to do this. The vendor, however, does not show up. At all. […]

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Jul 08, 2013
Where is your business’s greatest enemy?

“Companies are rarely brought low by external forces. The majority of corporate crises, sometimes called “stall points”, when revenue growth slackens dramatically or even reverses, are self-inflicted. The two root causes of stall points are myopia and complacency. Myopia is the failure to recognize market discontinuities until it is too late to respond effectively. Complacency […]

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Jun 30, 2013
Why do you do that thing you do?

When I arrived as a fresh-faced student in London many years ago, I discovered a strange phenomenon. There were two types of newspaper in Britain: very large, very serious ones like the Times, Telegraph and Guardian; and much smaller, utterly vapid, even idiotic ones like the Sun and Mirror. Reading the two types was like […]

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Jun 24, 2013
Kenya has great runners, so why not footballers? An economist explains…

“At the London Olympics, Kenyans won eleven medals, two of them gold. Although more were expected, Kenya remains the global powerhouse in running…Many other countries can only dream of achieving Kenya’s Olympic performance. At the same time, Kenya is underperforming in many other sports, especially in the nation’s other favourite: football. Why such a difference?” […]

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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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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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