Articles Tagged Sunday Nation

Vote
Jun 18, 2017
What’s behind all these shock election results?

As miscalculations go, this one was epic. Theresa May, prime minister of Britain, had no need to go back to the electorate. She had a decent majority in parliament and a whopping lead in the opinion polls. Misguidedly, she called a snap election. Now she has no majority, has lost the confidence of her party, […]

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No
Jun 11, 2017
3 words to stop saying in your organization

I spend a lot of time interacting with boards and senior teams in leading corporations. In boardrooms and workshops, in strategy retreats and seminars, there are three words that of late you are guaranteed to hear. I usually play a mental ‘bingo’ game to count how many minutes it takes for the first of the […]

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Arsene Wenger
Jun 04, 2017
The enigma that is Arsène Wenger

(Photo credit: Sky Sports) Arsène Wenger is the most successful foreign manager ever in the English Premier League. He has been at Arsenal Football Club for 21 years, in which time he has clocked up 16 trophies. His brand of football is, at its best, breathtaking: fast-flowing, creative, highly technical soccer. Even fans of rival […]

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smartphone-1790833_1920
May 28, 2017
How to blend old and new to succeed in the future

Last week I pointed out that the journey to ‘digital’ is not straightforward; the thinking leader will have to blend what is new and what is timeless in order to succeed. ‘Analogue’ in this sense does not just refer to things that you can touch and feel, like printed books and bank branches and fountain […]

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Voting
May 14, 2017
There are no wasted votes

Kenyans are notorious for voting in herds. We get stampeded like cattle towards the candidate of the moment, the one that is likely to win. For national posts we get swayed by tribal overlords who tell us it is our duty to support ‘our candidate’ against ‘theirs.’ For local elections we wait to see which […]

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Book
May 07, 2017
Reading 50 Books every year: your questions

Greetings, book-lovers. How are you doing with #50BooksIn2017? I just completed my 16th book of the year, so I’m more or less on track. What about you? I started the #50BooksIn… hashtag to try and persuade more and more of you to read books. I am delighted to see so many of you writing or […]

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Angry
Apr 30, 2017
Losing your temper often is easy, and pointless

I was revisiting Seth Godin’s graceful little book Graceful the other day, and came across this: “The guy in front of me in line (maybe he was in front of you, once, too) has every right to be upset with the clerk. She’s not making it easy for him to buy his ticket, and after […]

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Masks
Apr 23, 2017
Your leader, the psychopath?

I have advised many, many CEOs in my time, but I’ve never envied them. They get a pile of money, certainly. But, as I saw Lucy Kellaway pointing out in the Financial Times the other day, CEOs are also often lonely and paranoid; the time they spend with their families is so little that they […]

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United Airlines
Apr 16, 2017
United breaks guitars. Also, people

If you’re even vaguely connected to the internet (or a television set), you know what happened. United Airlines took a passenger off a plane. And now the whole world is angry about it, and United’s brand is in ICU. On Monday, videos taken by Dr David Dao’s fellow passengers went viral all over the world. […]

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Robot face
Apr 09, 2017
Your life, with robots

Let’s continue our examination of robotics, begun here last week. Donald Trump wants to bring basic jobs back to America. He thinks assembly-line workers, coal-miners etc should be Americans. His grand idea seems to be that the jobs will come back by slapping tariffs on foreign products coming into the country. If only he’d ever […]

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Ball number 1
Mar 26, 2017
Your one thing is not your only thing

I wrote here two weeks ago that every business has its one thing – the thing it must deliver above all others. For restaurants, the one thing is the taste of the food; for banks, it is trust; for hotels, hospitality. You can think about what yours is in your industry: the one thing that […]

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Siren
Mar 19, 2017
We can’t let trust disappear from our lives

The other day I was caught in the usual Nairobi traffic jam, in a taxi with a driver I did not know. We heard an ambulance siren blaring behind us, and most cars in the gridlocked queue began making way by climbing onto the pavement. But not everyone did this. To my surprise, even my […]

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standout, special, winner
Mar 12, 2017
What’s the ‘one thing’ in your business?

The Michelin star is a time-honoured guide to excellence in the the restaurant business. Way back in the 1920s, the Michelin brothers recruited a team of mystery diners – or restaurant inspectors – to visit and review restaurants anonymously. In 1926, the Michelin Guide began to award stars for fine dining establishments, initially marking them […]

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Axe
Mar 05, 2017
Is your organization cutting costs? Do it properly

As more and more companies declare profit warnings and significantly worse results, cost containment is all the rage again. You will hear a lot more in 2017 about ‘reorganizations’ and ‘rightsizing’; ‘efficiency’ and ‘leanness’ will become the prevailing buzzwords in boardrooms. I always wonder: if you want to become the ‘right’ size now, which size […]

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referee's whistle
Feb 26, 2017
Who’s the most important person in the game?

Two football teams run out onto the field and take their positions. Who is the most important person on the pitch? Is it one team’s star striker going for a record number of goals? Is it the other team’s veteran midfield general? Or is it that agile new goalkeeper, widely expected to be one of […]

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success online
Feb 19, 2017
What young service providers must learn

Even though I advise people on digital disruption, I am not immune to the phenomenon myself. A writer and business advisor must keep up with changing times; I cannot count on the old ways of consuming business content staying relevant. And so over the past few years I have been on a personal journey of […]

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CIA SABOTAGE MANUAL
Feb 12, 2017
How to destroy an organization from within

There’s more than one way to defeat an enemy. As the best spies know, you don’t just mount external attacks; you also work to weaken your enemy’s organization from within. In 1944, the precursor of America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), created something called the Simple Sabotage Field Manual. This […]

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suicide
Feb 05, 2017
Why your business will probably commit suicide one day

One of my favourite Nairobi restaurants just closed down. Given the paucity of people willing to make and serve food to a consistently excellent standard in these parts, I don’t have many favourites. In fact, I don’t need more than the fingers of one hand to count them. So losing even one of them is […]

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Teamwork
Jan 29, 2017
Is it you or is it the team?

You’re a star, you know you are, and so does everyone else. You have deep talent, and it’s all personal. At school, you clocked the top grades, or excelled in sports, or were the best artistic performer of your era. In your career, you’ve always been the big cheese. Success seems to surround you; you’re […]

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Obama leaves
Jan 22, 2017
So farewell, Barack Obama

Photo credit: The White House (adjusted) When Barack Obama entered the world’s most powerful office for his first term, I expressed my delight on these pages that such a rank outsider could make it to the very top. I had high hopes that he would do a stellar job of changing America for the better. […]

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mobile digital
Jan 15, 2017
What’s your ‘DQ’?

I’m pretty sure you’ve taken (or were forced to take) an IQ (intelligence quotient) test at some time in your life. You may even have have done some sort of EQ (emotional quotient) test. But have you ever taken a ‘DQ’ test? Try this quick quiz: 1. Can you accurately describe what Snapchat is? 2. […]

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Consequences
Jan 08, 2017
Things improve if the consequences are real and personal

A lifetime of observing people and societies has taught me one thing: people only behave if the consequences of their actions are visited upon them, personally. Why do Nairobi nightclub owners continue to bombard their neighbours in residential areas with music played at insane decibel levels? Because their own children are not studying for their […]

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reading books
Jan 01, 2017
How many books will you read in 2017?

A year ago I wrote here that it is possible to read 50 books in a year. Provided you love and value books, that is. I put it down as a challenge to bibliophiles, ardent or lapsed, to raise their game. Having thrown down the gauntlet, I found myself accelerating. At the year-end, I clocked […]

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exploding cake
Dec 25, 2016
To succeed next year, look away from yourself

The human being is fixated on itself. Since we perceive life only through our own consciousness, we place ourselves at the centre of our existence. And we spend our lives fretting about our own selves: what we have and don’t have; what we need and want; what we feel entitled to; what we should and […]

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Angry slum child
Dec 18, 2016
Societal failure looks like this

It’s an interesting photograph. In the middle there is a sparkling new Rolls Royce parked in a city street; clearly, the owner is doing very well. But wait, to the left there seems to be an open drain running alongside the glittering car. And to the right of the limousine a very young child is […]

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work, job
Dec 11, 2016
The pleasure of just doing your job well

The other day, and much to my surprise, I came across a public servant who seemed to take enormous pride in just doing his job well. In Kenya. If you’ve picked yourself up from the floor, let me continue. I encountered a thorny issue, and contacted the relevant government department to try and sort it […]

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Masks
Dec 04, 2016
You can’t force employees to be happy

An employee of Trader Joe’s recently filed an unfair labour practices charge against the company in the US. Thomas Nagle was reportedly fired by Trader Joe’s in September; his offences apparently included an “overly negative attitude” and not smiling warmly enough. In his performance reviews Nagle had been criticized for not greeting a manager with […]

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Cape Town
Nov 27, 2016
What lies behind consistently good customer service?

I love visiting Cape Town. During a recent business trip, I paid more attention to exactly what I like about that city. Certainly, it has a beautiful setting, where a raucous ocean meets the majestic Table Mountain. Certainly, it is a culinary capital and has great food choices. Certainly, it is one of the best-run […]

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