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

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 31, 2024
Why contentment is a state we should all hope to attain

What keeps us going? What makes us keep striving to be more, do more, have more? Is it a necessary human trait, to hanker and to grow? We could call it ambition or aspiration. But I also have other words to for you to consider: greed, obsession, and sickness. The need to have and be […]

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Mar 24, 2024
All the talent we ignore will find a home

A few years ago I was having a chat with a Japanese female executive in Nairobi. She worked for a large multinational organization headquartered in Tokyo. The Kenya operation was undergoing restructuring, and her job was one of those affected. “I guess you’ll go back to HQ in Japan,” I asked? “No,” she said with […]

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Mar 10, 2024
Next time you hit a difficulty—use it!

The renowned actor Michael Caine was once rehearsing a play scene as a young, aspiring thespian. In the middle of the rehearsal, a chair unexpectedly got stuck in the door of the set, blocking his path. Young Michael froze and didn’t know what to do. He told his fellow, more seasoned actor he couldn’t get […]

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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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Feb 11, 2024
Some thoughts about longevity in business

Childhood is a place of magical memories—once we have left it. Our first tastes and other sensory pleasures tend to stay with us for life. We develop deep loyalties and could potentially consume our favourite products from our tender years for our entire lifetimes. But there’s a problem. Do those products and businesses still exist? […]

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Jan 14, 2024
2024 might be a very tough year. That could be great for you

What kind of 2024 are you expecting to have? Across the world, the prognosis is grim at best. Economies are ailing; costs of living have rocketed; business failures are looming; debt burdens are onerous. It’s not going to be an easy year to navigate, even for the most fortunate. But there is something that a […]

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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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Nov 19, 2023
Does anyone LIKE your business?

I have a question for you: is your business liked by anyone? We don’t usually view businesses in that way, do we? It’s not one of the regular aims of a business, to be held in affection by any party. We are far more transactional than that. We provide a product or service, customers gain […]

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Oct 15, 2023
Being held to high standards early in life pays off

I recently commended a food & beverage manager at one of our leading coastal hotels on the efficiency with which her staff were handling a packed-out dinner service, and the attention to detail they were demonstrating. Rather than bask in the praise, she immediately told me that she had an early mentor to thank for […]

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Sep 17, 2023
Stop using this word, unless…

This word is everywhere. Everyone seems to be using it, without understanding it. What’s the word? Passion. Every human, it seems, is passionate about something these days. I’m passionate about protecting the planet, say some. Others are passionate about social justice. In professional circles, many will tell you they are passionate about corporate governance, or […]

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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 13, 2023
Waiting for a better time? Don’t.

Arthur Ashe was a true trailblazer. He was the first black player to win tennis’s grand slam tournaments. He won Wimbledon in 1975, and became the world’s number-one ranked player in that year. Ashe’s life reflected some very famous words: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” So much said, […]

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Jun 18, 2023
All these things block your learning

Life is complicated. The idea that we learn things in the early stages of our lives and then apply them for the rest of our existence is long dead. We know we have to be lifelong learners; we know we have to be alert to new information and fresh knowledge; we know we have to […]

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Jun 11, 2023
What separates doers from dreamers?

A reader of this column sent me a pointed question recently, which went something like this: Many of us are full of dreams; we have high hopes for our futures, most of which end up unfulfilled. What then separates those who achieve from those who just dream? Great question! Let me have a go at […]

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May 14, 2023
Why letting go of power and position is so hard for so many

Last week I discussed the problem of leadership transitions in family firms. Many founders are unable to make meaningful handovers to new leaders, from either within or outside the business. This problem of refusing to let go of the reins, however, is not confined to family businesses. Let’s take a wider look at the issue […]

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Apr 23, 2023
Does your business have a soul, or just spreadsheets?

I have a lot of time for James Daunt. He is the man trying valiantly to rescue the bookselling trade, against all odds. As a reader and writer I look on, gripped by the hope that bookstores can withstand the onslaught of online sellers and e-books. James Daunt was once an investment banker. In his […]

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Apr 02, 2023
Learning from street hustles

Last week I discussed the Netflix series Street Food Asia. The foodie in me loved looking at the origins and excellence of various dishes: chaat in India; tom yum in Thailand; jajan pasar in Indonesia; putu piring in Singapore. But the student of human endeavour in me was even more impressed. Street food, you see, […]

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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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Mar 05, 2023
Should we be afraid of the new AI?

Is artificial intelligence (AI) finally coming of age? If computers start reasoning and working more like humans, what should we be excited—and worried—about? The world is currently agog trying out ChatGPT, the newest kid on the block. ChatGPT is generative AI: it isn’t intelligent as such, but it has a huge trove of data that […]

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Feb 19, 2023
This one virtue leads to all the others

It is a rare person who can enjoy a degree of success and still stay grounded. Many will start displaying an ugly braggadocio even after making modest progress in life. So what can we say about someone who gains it all—professional acclaim, fame and renown, material comfort, strong familial relationships—but stays humble? Many years ago, […]

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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 11, 2022
Why learn-as-you-go is the only way to do complicated stuff

I have a lot of time for Michael Bungay Stanier. This author and coach in Canada is invariably honest, authentic, and sincere. So open is he that he once wrote out an entire long note on Medium outlining exactly how he self-published his best-selling book, The Coaching Habit. He provided step-by-step guidance on how to […]

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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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Oct 23, 2022
The most valuable currencies of our lives

The financial world is fixated on foreign currencies right now. The current turmoil in international markets has led to a dollar appreciation against most leading currencies, leaving many wringing their hands in worry about all-time lows, as the euro, the pound, the yen and many others continue their steep plunge. A little history lesson for […]

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Oct 16, 2022
The comfort revolution has already happened

Soon after landing my first job located in London’s financial district, I found myself being indoctrinated in the dress codes of the day. Shoes, in particular, were a bugbear of the ruling classes. A gentleman, it seemed, had to be shod by a traditional British shoemaker, one that crafted traditionally handmade leather shoes. Brands like […]

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Sep 11, 2022
The special joy of deserving your earnings

Dr Chao Mbogho is a trailblazer. She has a Ph.D in Computer Science, and is one of our leading researchers, educators, and mentors. She recently tweeted something that caught my eye: “Receiving money that you’ve worked for is such a nice feeling.” I thought immediately: Yes it is! And so many do not want to […]

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Aug 28, 2022
Look for this one trait in your smartest employees

Jeff Bezos is the visionary founder of Amazon, the company that has revolutionised how people buy stuff. We are all e-commerce customers now, because of the trails blazed by Amazon more than two decades ago. Inc. magazine recently reminded us that Mr Bezos was once asked this question: what’s the most important quality you look […]

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