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

Nov 22, 2015
Waiting for Pope Francis, champion of the poor

“Lombardi had served as the spokesman for (pope) Benedict, formerly known as Joseph Ratzinger, a man of Germanic precision. After meeting with a world leader, the former pope would emerge and rattle off an incisive summation, Lombardi tells me, with palpable wistfulness: “It was incredible. Benedict was so clear. He would say: ‘We have spoken […]

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Oct 11, 2015
Three words that may ruin you one day

Lawyer Mugambi Nandi recounted an interesting episode on Twitter recently. He was sitting in the back of a taxi when an ambulance appeared, siren blaring. Mr Nandi’s driver, like many others on that road, refused to give way. The lawyer took umbrage and ordered the taxi driver to give way, to little avail. He even […]

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Sep 13, 2015
How to tell if a company is heading for trouble

Last week on this page we discussed the “dead-horse strategy.” There is only one sensible strategy to follow if your horse is dead: dismount. Many of us, nonetheless, don’t do sensible strategies: we try to fund, motivate, whip or imagine the dead horse back to life. The column raised many a laugh, but also a […]

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Aug 30, 2015
Leadership lessons from what the waitress told me

I was sitting in a restaurant looking at a sushi menu recently. There were many delectable-sounding options on offer, and I wondered what to choose. I decided to ask a waitress for advice. Here’s what she said. “Please try the chef’s signature sushi roll. He thought long and hard about it and experimented with various […]

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Aug 16, 2015
There may be much more corporate distress to come

For years now, I have been warning of many a corporate collapse to come, on this page and elsewhere. We have been seeing unprecedented speed of change in technology; the far-reaching impact of demographics; and gradual handover of power from producers to consumers. Globally, many a dominant company has been laid low. Japan’s giant Sony […]

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Aug 09, 2015
So Obama came to Kenya. So what?

The visit was epic. As I wrote here last week, US president’s long-awaited visit to Kenya had it all: spectacle, glamour, drama, sensation. New words entered our vocabulary, and even our child-naming lexicon: POTUS, Air Force One, Marine One, The Beast. And then he was gone. And a thoughtful Kenyan must ask: so what? After […]

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Aug 02, 2015
Three observations from #ObamaInKenya

The visit to Kenya last weekend by US president Barack Obama brought us to a standstill, watching every bit of the ride: planes, helicopters, automobiles, protocols, speeches and all. Allow me to make three simple observations. First, Kenya received publicity that we simply could not have bought. This was pure gold. We were in the […]

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Jul 19, 2015
More on leadership, according to Pope Francis

Last week I introduced Pope Francis’s refreshing take on leadership. We focused on the “diseases” that afflict the egos of leaders around the world. This week I want to dwell on the maladies of leadership that manifest themselves in the work of leaders, and those that are particularly prevalent in this part of the world. […]

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Jul 12, 2015
The Pope’s message on the diseases of leadership

Pope Francis is proving to be refreshingly different. He is giving his own office a good shakeout, shedding it of static doctrine. He also has wise things to say on a wide range of issues. Recently, he gave an address to the Roman Curia, and focused on the challenge of leadership. That caught my eye. […]

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May 10, 2015
Service fails because people don’t care enough

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 […]

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Mar 15, 2015
No, the answer is not more security for the Big People

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 […]

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Jan 25, 2015
We should all talk a little less and do a little more

Talk, talk, talk. Everyone talks. They talk incessantly. They chat, analyse, pontificate. They debate and discuss. They love to hear the sound of their own voices. People gather in seminars, workshops, conferences, off-sites. They yap for days. Then they gather the results of all that was declaimed and bloviated in elaborate reports, complete with detailed […]

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Dec 21, 2014
Do people really change that much?

Back in the nineties, Kenyans were really fed up of their leaders. The country was in dire straits, and there seemed to be no light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel. In those days, our only symbols of hope were a group of people not in government: opposition politicians, young activists, […]

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Dec 14, 2014
If you want true leadership, first know what it is

What does it mean to lead human beings? Last week I wrote that in the wild, leaders are often just the biggest, most ruthless animals. And they take most of the spoils. Here in the human race, a race in which I can write these words and you can read them, an entirely different model […]

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Dec 07, 2014
Learning the wrong lessons from nature

A few years back I was sitting in the balcony of a famous game lodge in the Tsavo reserve, taking a short break while running some executive education seminars. I was gazing upon a watering-hole, against the magnificent backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro, unveiled. Suddenly, the bushes next to the watering hole parted, and a massive […]

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Aug 24, 2014
Use this golden rule to make people matter again

Can we run this world as though people matter? Of course we can. Henry Hazlitt showed us how, way back in 1946: “The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely […]

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Aug 17, 2014
We are running our world as though people don’t matter

What’s the most common thing you hear political and business leaders say about Kenya’s insecurity problem? That it’s having a bad effect on the economy. That as tourism implodes, economic purchasing power heads south. That as fear pervades the nation, the investment climate suffers. What’s wrong with this picture? All of the above is true, […]

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Jul 20, 2014
Why Germany won, Brazil lost, and Africa under-performed again

Football’s World Cup comes and goes every four years, and in its wake it alway leaves some valuable lessons. This column tries to chronicle them, so here is the 2014 edition. In 2010 I wrote here that to win in football (or any collective endeavour) four ingredients are necessary: first, a great ethos and common […]

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Jun 29, 2014
Ever wonder why we make way for the Big People?

You’re stuck in traffic. If you live in Nairobi as I do, there’s nothing special in that statement. We’re mostly stuck in traffic jams, most of the time. It’s the way we’ve become, numbed into the acceptance that wasting time in a vehicle is a natural state of being. Kenyans talk about jam so much […]

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Jun 22, 2014
Divided, we fall

Let us not just count the dead. Let us see that it is someone’s loving father, someone else’s only child, a family’s income-earner who has been snuffed out. Terrorists ran amok again in Kenya last week, massacring the residents of Mpeketoni in Lamu County for hours. The full death toll is yet to be confirmed. […]

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Jun 01, 2014
Why the fights for flags and titles?

Why do so many of our leaders in this country fight tooth-and-nail for titles, like “your excellency” or “the honourable” – even when they are worlds away from being either excellent or having any honour whatsoever? Why are there ugly squabbles perpetually happening for the right to fly the national flag on vehicles, or to […]

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May 11, 2014
If you want nothing done – form a committee

I had a problem with my jaw recently. I was following Nigeria’s problems with the Boko Haram terror group, and the recent truly horrific abduction of nearly 300 schoolgirls. The girls have been missing for weeks, and fears abound that they have been sold into slavery in neighbouring countries. Few of us can truly appreciate […]

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Apr 27, 2014
What the Manchester United débâcle reveals about succession planning

I knew I would have to write this article; the only question was how soon. In August last year I tweeted: “Pep Guardiola will be just fine; David Moyes will not.” I was responding to the appointment of Guardiola and Moyes as managers of two of the top teams in world football: Bayern Munich and […]

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Dec 08, 2013
In honouring Mandela, please don’t do these two things

Nelson Mandela is no more. You have read gushing tributes, noble quotations, effusive obituaries. Bear with me here; I come to bury the great man, not to praise him. Great he undoubtedly was. For one man to have demonstrated the resolve, patience, dignity, forgiveness and unselfishness that he did is a most unusual occurrence, one […]

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Nov 03, 2013
Why can’t we tell the truth any more?

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Ancient wisdom from the Bible, and a phrase we are fond of repeating in Kenya. Why, I don’t know, as we have steadfastly avoided the truth for decades. Most belief systems around the world revere the truth. The wise have always told […]

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Sep 02, 2013
My final ‘Thought Leadership’ column: the business of doing business

This will be my final column in the Thought Leadership series in this newspaper. The column began life in August 2007 and tried to bring you the best business insights from leading books and publications – and elaborate on those insights in a Kenyan and African context. In this valedictory piece, I would like to […]

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Jul 01, 2013
How prepared is your board for this world of rapid change?

“Technology is making boundaries between industries more porous and providing opportunities for attacker models. For example, in the banking industry, online consumer-payment products such as Square—a mobile app and device that enables merchants to accept payments—are challenging traditional payment solutions. Free Mobile, a French telecommunications attacker, has captured significant market share by offering inexpensive mobile […]

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Jun 23, 2013
Leadership lessons from a retiring manager

A certain someone became manager of an institution when I was still a greenhorn at university. He retired last week, having clocked a full 26 years in the job, at a time when I myself entertain thoughts of retirement. In those years I have changed jobs, even occupations, several times; the gentleman I refer to […]

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