Articles Tagged Sunday Nation

May 20, 2018
All that rain, and yet no water

An observant visitor to Nairobi over the past few weeks would have noted an interesting paradox: it has rained and rained and rained and then rained some more in the capital city; and yet the metropolis remains locked in water rationing, quite severely in some areas. If this was your visitor, how would you explain […]

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May 13, 2018
Hail the monomaniacs!

Photo credit: EPA Pep Guardiola lifted the English Premier League trophy last Sunday on behalf of the club he manages, Manchester City. I think we should all applaud, regardless of team affiliation. For me, the most interesting part of Pep’s season came during a game in November. He began berating a player who just been […]

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May 06, 2018
Are you holding on to obsolete knowledge?

London has a unique way of licensing its official ‘black cab’ taxi drivers. They have to pass the ‘Knowledge’ – a test that requires you to memorize every street and landmark in central London, so that you can navigate between any two points in the city entirely from memory. This might require several years of […]

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Apr 29, 2018
How to understand introverts (part three: in the workplace)

Let’s conclude this short series on introversion and extroversion with how it all plays out in the workplace. If you’ve been following the series (this is the third part; part one is here, and part two here ), you’ve understood the essentials about introversion vs extroversion. Here’s a beautifully concise summary, from Concordia University’s Dr […]

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Apr 22, 2018
How to understand introverts (part two: socially)

Who wouldn’t like going to a lively, energetic, fun-filled party? Introverts, that’s who. You may have heard the old joke: someone once organized a party just for introverts so that they would be comfortable with their own kind, but no one showed up… Last week I introduced this short series on introversion by offering a […]

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Apr 15, 2018
How to understand introverts (part one)

I tweet about introverts every once in a while. The responses are always very interesting. Introverts will like and store the tweet; extroverts will often be confused by what’s being said. A few months back I tweeted that I would write a Sunday column about understanding introversion. The response was immediate: do it like yesterday! […]

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Apr 08, 2018
Why good practice matters in business

Nairobi is a building site, wherever you look. Cranes and scaffolding everywhere, countless office blocks and apartment buildings coming up one after the other. New ground is broken every day, even though many of the properties built years ago remain largely unoccupied. The dearth of tenants does not seem to matter to the developers. But […]

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Apr 01, 2018
Facebook and the dark side of new tech

What kind of company can have $60 billion wiped off its value in just a few days – and still be around? The Facebook kind. Facebook has more users than China or India have citizens, and therefore it is just fine – for now. But the Cambridge Analytica scandal – the revelations that the misuse […]

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Mar 25, 2018
What’s the first impression your customer gets?

A prospective customer is considering a domestic family holiday. First, she calls a local airline. Customer: ‘I am interested in your flight-and-accommodation packages for my family.’ Employee: ‘They are all on our website.’ Customer: ‘OK, I had tried that, but I couldn’t find them. All I have on me now is my phone. Let me […]

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Mar 18, 2018
Are you succeeding, or just looking like you’re succeeding?

When Jeffrey Immelt, long-time boss of giant conglomerate GE, held his annual address to investors last May his corporation’s stock was trading at close to $30. He painted a rosy picture of his long tenure, and retired as CEO soon afterwards. Today the stock price is around $15. His successor decided to bare all and […]

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Mar 11, 2018
It’s time for conference venues to raise their game

The conference business is big business. Humans working in organizations have an unending need to meet in their numbers away from their workplaces: for seminars, workshops, roundtables, town halls, celebrations, parties, retreats, jamborees, junkets – or even just regular meetings. Demand is strong, buyers are willing. Sellers should be smiling. I must have commissioned or […]

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Mar 04, 2018
Make kindness a daily habit

Last week we looked at the underrated virtue: kindness. It is easy to be self-absorbed. Some of us are lost in our own egos. Others are trapped in their own miseries. Yet others have no time for anything but their own race to the pinnacles of success. The harder thing is to be aware of […]

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Feb 25, 2018
Kindness, the underrated virtue

Why are some people so important in our lives? Who is it we remember with fondness long after they are gone? What counts when we measure a life? When my grandfather passed away, I was living overseas. I returned to Nairobi for the funeral, and when the body was brought home for final prayers, a […]

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Feb 18, 2018
Are you teaching your kids to cheat?

In the game of cricket, there is an honour system. A batsman can be officially ‘out’ (sent back to the pavilion) in a variety of ways; but he can also choose to ‘walk’ if he feels he was out but no one noticed. A parent recently recounted an experience in this regard. Her young son […]

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Feb 11, 2018
Here are some of the invisible mentors who have shaped my life

Last week I told you about invisible mentors – those inspirational figures who are present in our lives and prominent in our successes without ever mentoring us formally or practically. Sometimes we meet these people; sometimes they never know we even exist. And yet they leave their indelible imprint. Think about it: invisible mentors are […]

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Feb 04, 2018
Who is your ‘invisible’ mentor?

Mentorship is all the rage. As young people struggle to come up in the world, they feel they need someone of accomplishment to take them under their wing, guide them, open doors for them. Success, they feel, is much easier to achieve when someone successful shows them how. We grow up being guided by parents, […]

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Jan 28, 2018
No service. No smiles. No future

A customer walks into one of Nairobi’s brand-new mega-malls on a weekday. It boasts many household names in shopping, both local and global. It’s virtually empty. She enters an internationally renowned supermarket. Here, too, customers are thin on the ground. She’s looking for a refrigerator – a sizeable purchase – amongst other things. It’s a […]

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Jan 21, 2018
Is your culture really yours?

I spent some time at a holiday location in December, and I thought it would be interesting to engage some friends in a digital guessing game. I sent them selected photos of my locale; they were then to submit guesses of where on earth I might be. These were the pictures I took and submitted: […]

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Jan 14, 2018
Road safety? Start with purpose

Kenyans are perplexed again by the upsurge in road carnage that takes place every December. The holiday period inevitably brings about even more horrific deaths and injuries on our roads (again). The public inevitably is outraged (again). The government inevitably promises a raft of new measures (again). See you here in January 2019 when we […]

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Jan 07, 2018
How many books will you read in 2018?

How will you measure your achievement in the year ahead? Will it be in terms of money earned? Promotions gained? Holidays enjoyed? Friendships made? Learnings achieved? Kindnesses imparted? I have a simple measure for you to aim for in 2018: books read. Believe me or not: for many people that simple activity – reading books […]

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Dec 31, 2017
The lifelong lesson of sunk cost

It’s the last day of the year – always a good time to reflect on the months that went before. We all do this: we look back, we reminisce, we try to learn from the past. Except, most of us just don’t. We let the past enslave us, not teach us lessons for the future. […]

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Dec 24, 2017
How do you behave at the buffet table?

It’s the holiday season, a time for wining and dining with family and friends. If you are fortunate, there may be some lavish buffets coming your way this Christmas: an enticing range of sumptuous dishes: starters, salads, mains, desserts, afters. I don’t wish to be a party pooper, but I do want to share a […]

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Dec 10, 2017
Which pain are you willing to embrace?

An alum of my leadership programme recommended an unusual book to me earlier in the year. Its title was a deterrent: it is called The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A ****. As this is a family newspaper, I won’t spell out the bleeped letters, but you get the gist. It’s a strange book. The […]

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Dec 03, 2017
Why do leaders cling on to power?

Watching Robert Mugabe cling on to power at the ripe old age of 93 was perplexing. He had clearly outstayed his welcome by decades, not years; the army had been forced to move in to prevent him handing over power to his own wife; and hundreds of thousands of his people had poured into the […]

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Nov 19, 2017
Think hard before taking on established competitors

Google makes the world’s most popular mobile operating system, Android. Nearly two billion mobile devices are powered by this ubiquitous system. Not content with this, Google looked askew at rival Apple some years back and felt envious about the ability to make both software and hardware and to fuse the user experience. Google has the […]

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Nov 12, 2017
Are you doing something, or just posing?

Grace Mungai, a reader of this column, sent me an impassioned email recently. She asked: why are we reducing important occupations or undertakings or positions to ‘brag words’ – things we pretend we are doing, rather than actually doing? Her practical analogy: you can read about, discuss or look at treadmills and rowing machines all […]

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Nov 05, 2017
The invisible issue haunting our elections

And so Kenyans trooped to vote again in a presidential election for the second time in three months. Or not. This election, held against the backdrop of a deeply divided country and the withdrawal of a key protagonist, ultimately yielded a turnout that was a record low. Because so many voting stations stayed empty for […]

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Oct 29, 2017
There are many kinds of silence. Try them

For many people, a silent person in their midst is a cause for concern. Why is he quiet? Why does she not say anything? What’s going on in that head? Why not just come out with it? Quiet people make them queasy. Or they dismiss the silent ones as having nothing meaningful to say. Perhaps […]

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