June 2019

Teach your people how to fail

There is a natural fear of failure in the human being, because bad failures can have really bad consequences. The wise amongst us, however, know that it is our failures that actually lead to our real successes - provided we know how to deal with them.
Bad leaders treat failures by their teams as scars and taints, and chastise and berate people for failing. Good leaders view failures as invaluable learning opportunities. When their people fail, they pick them up; they don't impose dire consequences; and most importantly, they ensure that real lessons are learnt about what went wrong. Then they let the team continue, better and stronger.
Next time your people fail at something, hold back from quick judgements and easy blame-games. Offer some comfort, and learn some deep lessons together. Do this as a habit, and you may find genuine wins lying in wait.

The cloud kitchens are coming

No, they won't be in cloud-cuckoo land; cloud kitchens are built on clouds of powerful data. Imagine you had lots and lots of data about which are the most popular dishes in an area, mapped by location and time of day. You would know exactly what to cook, where and when. As more and more women enter the workforce around the world and families have intensely busy lives, eat-in food is a huge phenomenon. Combine that big trend with big data, and you get the cloud kitchen: a no-frills, no-tables food production area focused on just the right dishes, served by a delivery network. Who has the data, though? The 'aggregators' who use their popular apps to deliver on restaurants' behalf. Many of them are now integrating backwards to create cloud kitchens serving up the most in-demand dishes. The result is a remarkably efficient food-at-your-doorstep phenomenon. Watch out for major developments on this front.

Convenience Store Woman, by Sayaka Murata


“I love this moment. It feels like 'morning' itself is being loaded into me. The tinkle of the door chime as a customer comes in sounds like church bells to my ears. When I open the door, the brightly lit box awaits me - a dependable, normal world that keeps turning. I have faith in the world inside the light-filled box."

Yes, I'm recommending that you read a novel, in a business newsletter. For any thoughtful businessperson, some of the best insights about the human being - as employee, as customer - are found in the pages of great literature.
Convenience Store Woman is one of my picks of the year. It is a slim, quirky and delightful little book, about a very unusual woman who adores her work as a shop assistant. It has many insights about the role of business in society, and how women struggle to stay afloat earning a living in a patriarchal world full of rigid expectations. Read it, and you will learn how your best employees may be the least showy and least conventional - if only you can open your eyes to the value they bring.

Don't be a jerk, be on time!


Are you one of those people perpetually late for everything? Do you always laugh it off as just one of those things, and tell people to loosen up? Please stop. You are costing yourself, other people, your organization and even your nation a great deal. Watch this 3-minute video to understand why being on time matters. And if you're always on time, share it with those who aren't! Click above.
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