The Peculiar Kenyan

Where do you find good people?

by Sunny Bindra on July 5, 2015 · 2 comments

in Sunday Nation

I am often asked: “Where do I find good people for my organization?” Good employees are scarce, and employers seem to struggle to find them. They imagine there is a secret to this process, and they want to uncover it. You can’t blame them, for an organization is a collective endeavour: without excellent team members, [...]

{ 2 comments }

You want to charge a high price? Justify it

28 June 2015

Walmart, with a strategy predicated on low prices, is the company with the highest revenue in the world. But Apple, with a strategy predicated on high prices, is the world’s most valuable company. Volkswagen fights for volume leadership in vehicles with Toyota globally. But recently, an interesting thing happened: Porsche, a part of the VW [...]

2 comments Read the full article →

“Where are you calling from?”

21 June 2015

I called a hotel to book a table for lunch last week. The conversation went something like this: Me: “I’d like to book a table for lunch, please.” Hotel: “Where are you calling from?” Me: “My house.” Now then. Why should “where I’m calling from” be a matter of concern to the hotel? I think [...]

7 comments Read the full article →

Jail the real criminals, not minor traffic offenders

14 June 2015

Regular readers may recall I was arrested a while back. Irregular ones may need reassuring that it was for a minor, inadvertent infringement of road rules that technically constituted an offence. I looked the arresting officer in the eye and asked him why he wished to arrest me, a generally law-abiding person who takes great [...]

2 comments Read the full article →

We need to act now on Nairobi pollution

7 June 2015

What’s the biggest killer in the developing world? Given our propensity to engage in senseless and unending armed conflicts, you might be forgiven for thinking war was the biggest culprit. Not so. If you have been following much-publicised recent global campaigns, you might also think diseases such as malaria and HIV-AIDs are the most lethal [...]

2 comments Read the full article →

Are you handling customers, or mishandling them?

31 May 2015

Why do so many of our companies not know how to handle customers? Why do most of us fail in this elementary test of business? Imagine a customer lodges a complaint about your business somewhere: comes in person, calls, emails, tweets, messages, posts an update on Facebook – whatever. Here are the typical responses. First: [...]

4 comments Read the full article →

Innovation is all about connections

24 May 2015

The year was 1970. A man was with his family at a busy airport, lugging two very heavy suitcases. An airport employee walked past, pushing a heavy piece of machinery fairly easily on a large wheeled trolley. An “aha” moment occured. The man, Bernard D. Sadow, looked at the trolley, looked at his suitcases, and [...]

2 comments Read the full article →

Why are we helpless? Because we learned to be

17 May 2015

Why do so many of us feel so helpless so much of the time? We think there’s no point in protesting – nothing will change. We think there’s no point in applying – the jobs are already allocated to insiders. We think there’s no point in aspiring to run our own businesses – we’ll just [...]

3 comments Read the full article →

Service fails because people don’t care enough

10 May 2015

Solomon Maundu asked me a question on his blog (and on Twitter) recently: “Is the reason the public service is bad at service delivery that most public servants do not take pride in their jobs?” In other words, do I think that bad service delivery and a lack of pride in work are connected? Do [...]

3 comments Read the full article →

Xenophobia comes from small minds entertaining small thoughts

3 May 2015

Xenophobia never died. That intense, irrational hatred or fear of “the others” is alive and kicking. It thrives, paradoxically, in South Africa, a country whose rebirth was predicated on the principle that “separateness” was wrong. It emerges, predictably, in Greece, where immigrants provide a convenient scapegoat for self-inflicted economic woes. It even threatens, bafflingly, to [...]

4 comments Read the full article →

What madness make us clap for swindlers?

26 April 2015

Sometimes I wonder: is there something put in Kenyans’ drinking water that makes so many of us mad? This thought occurred to me as I watched a so-called “pastor” invited to a high-ratings show. Nothing wrong with that, you might say: except that this man of the cloth, ahem, was recently exposed as being no [...]

3 comments Read the full article →

A racist restaurant and the danger of the single story

19 April 2015

A Chinese restaurant in Nairobi was operating a blatantly racist admission policy. It was exposed. Kenyans were understandably outraged. Sensing the the collective anger, the authorities took action. The restaurant is now closed, and the owner faces charges in court. Will we now live happily ever after? I suspect not. Life is never that simple. [...]

2 comments Read the full article →

The one word no one is saying after the Garissa attack

12 April 2015

The need to write something immediately after the horrific slaughter of our students in Garissa was overwhelming. I had to resist, though. An event this brutal and unprecedented requires some reflection and some perspective. And so I have been able to observe the reactions of others. I looked on aghast as the supposed perpetrators of [...]

2 comments Read the full article →

Which of these were April Fool headlines?

5 April 2015

This column continues its campaign to make April Fool’s Day a national holiday in Kenya. This is because we take foolishness to peculiar heights year after year. The Daily Nation, like most newspapers, has a tradition of creating a spoof story every year on the day that honours fools. My point is this: around these [...]

0 comments Read the full article →

No, don’t cut the serviettes in half

29 March 2015

You’ve probably been in those joints. The ones where the serviette is surprisingly small and thin. And you’re only given one. How does that happen? A member of staff sits down with a whole packet of normal-sized serviettes, and proceeds to cut each one in half. That’s how. After that, the same person will probably [...]

4 comments Read the full article →

So, how’s the smartphone revolution treating you?

22 March 2015

What does losing weight have to do with smartphones? Five years ago I wrote on this page that the future of your business lay in the palm of the hand. Not in the lines of fate supposedly embossed there; but in the device that I expected to be ever-present in most palms by today: the [...]

0 comments Read the full article →

No, the answer is not more security for the Big People

15 March 2015

Gangland-style executions are firmly with us in Kenya. A spate of recent incidents, all with the same calling-card: professionally executed hits that target specific individuals. Couple that with the ever-present threat of terrorism, and lots of Big People are worried. What is interesting is what the Big People think they should do in response. Members [...]

3 comments Read the full article →