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

Dec 08, 2019
Welcome aboard the Education Express, kid…

Hurry up, kid, don’t look so nonchalant. You nearly missed the train – and that would have been catastrophic for you. You must take this very, very seriously. Your entire life is at stake. I am your ticket inspector. Show me your ticket, please… Very good. It seems you have been getting good grades so […]

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Dec 01, 2019
Are you working on anything that will outlast you?

A question for you: do you remember something called the ‘Zune’? Not really, I guess. Another question: do you remember something called the ‘iPod’? Of course you do. Both were MP3 music players. Here’s the thing, though. The Zune, made by Microsoft, was the far superior product, in most respects. And yet it failed miserably […]

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Nov 24, 2019
Are you stuck in a ‘BS’ job?

Last week I started a discussion here about the meaning of work – and how rare it is to find work that lends meaning to our lives. Most of us get our first jobs out of sheer economic necessity, and don’t have the luxury of wondering about the worth of what we do. Later on, […]

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Nov 17, 2019
How meaningful is the work you do?

Our newly released census results show that Nairobi keeps growing. With nearly 4.4 million people, this is one huge collection of humans. Not on the global scale, of course; there are several megacities with more than 20 million people; one of those may breach 40 million soon. Revered scientist James Lovelock thinks we follow the […]

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Nov 10, 2019
Will Uber run out of road?

Uber is a very big deal, and I was enthusiastic about it long before any of us experienced it in Kenya. Can anyone doubt the achievement? Uber revolutionized the taxi business by conceiving a marvellous mobile app that connected people seeking rides with drivers willing to offer them. By tapping into an unused stock of […]

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Nov 03, 2019
No, it’s not ‘just business.’

‘It’s just business.’ I’ve lost track of how often I’ve heard those words, uttered by businessfolk to justify bad behaviour. Also: ‘business is business.’ It’s as though there is something magically wonderful about being in business that gives you a free pass. Businesspeople are so heroic that we must give them some leeway, allow them […]

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Oct 27, 2019
Two words to carry around with you

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss is just one of the finest novels anyone will ever read. I picked it up again after many years and found myself mesmerised all over again. It has two words that are repeated over and over, acting as a motif in the life of one of the main […]

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Oct 20, 2019
Sending people home is not a badge of honour

You give your employer the best years of your life. You work hard, you follow instructions, you are loyal, you wait patiently for promotions. You make your job your life, and don’t wish to work anywhere else. Then, a new CEO arrives, full of new ideas. This leader looks at you and other long-standing employees […]

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Oct 13, 2019
Going beyond ‘Customer Service Week’

Did you survive Customer Service Week? I say that only half in jest. That week, just concluded, has become a big deal now. It’s a global phenomenon. Businesses all over the world focus on remembering their customers and appreciating them. Much fanfare ensues. Special events, colourful outfits, gifts and freebies, social media campaigns light up […]

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Oct 06, 2019
To survive, lead the change – don’t deny it

Last week I warned that many large corporates were in ‘slow puncture’ mode – with their current business models deflating slowly, all the while pretending all is well. I had referenced Marks and Spencer, Britain’s once iconic, now troubled retail giant. In the days since, another icon bit the dust. Thomas Cook, a huge travel […]

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Sep 29, 2019
Is your organization a slow puncture?

Marks and Spencer, one of Britain’s venerated corporate icons, fell out of the FTSE 100 stock index this month. It is hard to describe how central M&S has been to British retailing. It is 135 years old, and when I was a young man studying in London, it was discussed as a case study in […]

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Sep 22, 2019
To recognise yourself, look down

Customer: ‘I need a rope.’ Shopkeeper: ‘What’s it for?’ Customer: ‘Suicide.’ Shopkeeper: ‘That will be two hundred shillings.’ Customer: ‘What? That’s too much. I’ll buy it elsewhere.’ Shopkeeper: ‘What does it matter to you? You’re about to die anyway! That was a scene from a movie I watched decades ago. I laughed at the time, […]

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Sep 15, 2019
Why do people keep selecting bad leaders?

Let me tell you about a certain country. A century ago, this country was regarded as one of the most promising of the future. It was richly endowed with a very diverse trove of natural resources, and had a GDP per capita higher than that of France or Germany. It attracted immigrants from far and […]

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Sep 08, 2019
Give your brain a little workout today

How are you doing with my annual book-reading challenge? I found, somewhat to my surprise, that I have already clocked 50 books this year with a full four months left in the calendar. I’m not quite sure how this happened. Perhaps pushing all of you to read more books has spurred me on as well. […]

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Sep 01, 2019
Wake up, retailers. The writing’s on the wall.

A busy schedule means I don’t get out and about as much as I used to, so I jumped at the opportunity to go around Nairobi for a whole morning recently, looking for furniture and household items with the family. It would be a good chance to look at how our retailers are doing, I […]

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Aug 25, 2019
Who owns your data? Do you care?

Photo by Rishi Deep on Unsplash You upload a photo from your holiday (click). You search for a product (click). You like someone’s post (click). You add a new friend on a social network (click). You make a purchase on a website (click). You receive an emailed receipt (click). You express your opinion in a […]

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Aug 18, 2019
Institutions don’t educate you; you educate yourself

A troubled young man came to see me recently. He had just completed his first year at a world-famous college, and was sorely disappointed. He recounted his many disappointments. Crowded lectures attended by many hundreds of students for the flagship courses. Classes also too big to provide any meaningful interactions. Aloof teachers paying little attention […]

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Aug 11, 2019
Technology fail? A human can rescue that…

Photo credit: www.foliosociety.com Do you know The Folio Society? If you’re a bibliophile, you probably do. They create beautiful special editions of classic books. Books done the old-fashioned way: in hardcover, usually cloth-bound; with premium paper and elegant typography; and given a new twist by specially commissioned illustrators. A book-lover’s delight. But expensive. Surely that’s […]

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Aug 04, 2019
How many things do you take for granted?

Photo by Lee Scott on Unsplash A recent mishap with household plumbing brought home an oft-forgotten truth; it is only when you lose something that you realise how important it is to you. In this case, lugging buckets of heated water around brought home the value of being able to have a shower when you […]

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Jul 28, 2019
Is this Facebook’s ‘M-Pesa’ moment?

Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash In every talk I have given to banking groups in recent years, I have warned them that future competition will be nothing like what they have been used to. The biggest threats to their future will not come from other bankers, because those guys are just as confused and […]

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Jul 21, 2019
Hammering your employees is self-defeating

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay Many years ago, I ran a seminar on customer excellence for a leading corporation. When my presentation was over, I began taking questions from the floor. The first question was this: ‘What should we do about bad customers?’ I offered what I thought was a comprehensive answer. To my […]

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Jul 14, 2019
Many clouds, many thunderstorms

I predicted on this page a few years ago that the home delivery business would explode. It did. We are all getting so many more things delivered to our homes now. Not just meals, but also drinks, groceries, medicines, books and much more. It was obvious that this would happen. As more women enter the […]

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Jul 07, 2019
Don’t stay too long; it will end badly

The history of nations and organisations is replete with examples of leaders who just won’t let go. Even when their time is emphatically and visibly up, too many just can’t detach themselves from the habits and trappings of power. These stories usually end badly. I explained here last week: there is a time and a […]

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Jun 30, 2019
Knowing when to change your life

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay ‘To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…’ Ecclesiastes conveyed it so well in the Bible. But who is really paying attention? Do we […]

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Jun 23, 2019
Is your organization doing stuff the exact same way?

Image by Alexander Antropov from Pixabay We are a major bank. We are holding our annual general meeting with shareholders. We need some good photos. What should we do? I know, why don’t we take one of the chairperson, CEO and a shareholder all pretending to point to something in the annual report? Excellent idea. […]

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Jun 16, 2019
Who is paid NOT to understand?

Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay Do you sometimes wonder why a perfectly reasonable position is often rejected by very intelligent people? You might lay an argument out, back it up with solid facts – and still encounter vehement opposition. Surprisingly, this resistance often comes not from the ignorant or the uneducated, but from those who […]

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Jun 09, 2019
The tyranny of exams and grades

Image by Pexels from Pixabay My son will be doing his ‘O’-level exams in the near future, and I was recently discussing his subject choices with him. I was trying to understand which subjects he enjoyed doing, and which ones he just had to get through. The aim was to pinpoint what his future might […]

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Jun 02, 2019
How to say no. Nicely

Last week I discussed JOMO – the Joy of Missing Out. You should live your life on your own terms, not caught up in the priorities of others. Many of you then asked me: but how do I say no so often? It can be considered rude to decline invitations. I may lose my friends […]

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