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The QWERTY Complex: Un-jamming our organizations to thrive through change

Today, we are featuring a guest post from Sara Roberts, President and CEO of Roberts Golden Consulting, Inc. She is known for her expertise in large-scale transformation, particularly in driving culture change for enterprise innovation and collaboration, and has provided strategic guidance to dozens of the world’s top global companies over the past 15 years.

Navigating in today’s workplace can be disorienting.  It seems that the minute we reorganize, restructure, merge, shift… we need to do it yet again to keep up with new demands.  We lament, when are things ever going to be normal again? Things are changing so fast.  We can’t possibly keep up!

In our organizations, we often point to ‘agility’ as critical to our success – yet the ironic part is that our organizations are still trying to command and control our way into being more nimble.

What exactly is going on?  For starters, witness the last twenty years.  There’s been an explosion of vastly more information, globalization resulting in larger and farther-flung teams and, not to mention, greater competition coming from unexpected and untraditional sources.  Think: NetFlix and how Blockbuster didn’t see it coming. There has been a serious tectonic shift and our companies are at the epicenter.

In our organizations, we often point to ‘agility’ as critical to our success – yet the ironic part is that our organizations are still trying to command and control our way into being more nimble.  Often times we don’t fully realize that these old hierarchical structures, we’re holding steadfastly to, are unable to process information quickly enough to make the necessary day-to-day business decisions.  We think we can simply optimize to do it better, faster and cheaper but in reality, we need a transformation in our workplaces.

As I was writing this last paragraph, it made me think of a cognitive behavioral theory I recently read about, called “path dependence.”  This term refers to the notion that “something that seems normal or inevitable today began with a choice that made sense at a particular time in the past, but survived despite the eclipse of the justification for that choice.”  For instance, typewriters used to jam if people typed too fast, so the manufacturers designed a keyboard that would slow typists. We no longer have typewriters, but we are stuck with the letter arrangements of the qwerty keyboard.

Let’s ask ourselves: do we really want to be stuck with qwerty organizations?

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He’s Home! Watch Dickinson Explain His Solo Summit of Mt Everest via WebEx

In early May, our friend and Cisco engineer Brian Dickinson climbed Mt Everest. His journey was dramatic, life threatening and amazing. We talked to him before he left home (watch here) and then from Base Camp at Everest (watch here). In this upcoming event, he’ll tell us what happened next. Photo courtesy of Brian Dickinson.

Register now.

At the top of the world, six miles above sea level, Brian became snow blind Read More »

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Social Software That’s Appealing to Business

In business it’s not easy to get everyone to agree, but one thing we all know is this:  whatever helps us finish work faster and do it better is a good thing.  One kind of collaboration technology promises to deliver just that –  enterprise social software – but not all platforms are created equally.

New products are popping up that add a layer of “social” capabilities to existing software – enabling comments, reviews or ranking in software applications, services and mashups, for example. But is this really social collaboration?

In the video below, I share my perspective on what businesses require in enterprise social software, and what will drive full adoption for it among people at work.

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Still Worried Cisco Collaboration Solutions Are Beyond Your IT Skill Level???

Are you responsible for IT or voice services in a mid size company? Do you have 300 or fewer employees? Is your existing voice collaboration solution nearing its end of life, or no longer supported by the original manufacturer? Have you considered a solution from Cisco Systems? Yes Cisco! We are is proud to announce a new foundational voice solution specifically built for companies like yours, the Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition 3000 (Unified CMBE 3000).

Cisco entered the IP communications in the late 1990’s and soon became a market leader. Cisco’s unified communications and voice products historically have been designed for a large majority of the market’s segments.  Cisco’s Unified Communications 300 and 500 series products were designed for businesses with under one hundred users.  The more capable Unified CM Business Edition 5000 and 6000 have more advanced features for organizations with 100-1000 users. Comparatively, the Cisco Unified Communications Manager scales up to 30,000 users per cluster.

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Specialty Software Firm Goes Big With Web Conferencing for Global Sales

As someone who helps manage the collaboration customer success program here at Cisco, I hear about all sorts of interesting ways companies both big and small are using technology to grow their business. When I come across an example that stands out, I like to tell people about it.

Issues Central is a specialty software firm based in Toronto, Canada that develops financial compliance and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Transition software. One of their well-known brands is IFRS PARTNER. Using Cisco WebEx technology with high-quality video, this 25-person company is selling their software around the world in North America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. Just that fact alone is interesting to me, but what makes their story even more compelling is how they’re using web conferencing tools in different ways, depending on the culture they’re selling into.

Issues Central is able to close roughly two-thirds of their North American deals online without a single in-person meeting.

As Charley Best, Issues Central’s vice president, touches on in the clip above, when the sales and marketing team is engaging with customers in Canada or the United States, WebEx serves as a closing tool to compel the prospect to ask for a proposal. As a result, Best estimates he closes roughly two-thirds of his North American deals online without a single in-person meeting.

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