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Collaboration is Hard: How to Work within Conflicting Points of View

“If someone is very abusive, or very aggressive, I always try to think, why is this person so aggressive? And sometimes by even making a joke, or by trying to get more information about the person…you break the ice. And sometimes you have some surprising results”

Boris Dittrich, Advocacy Director for Human Rights Watch, spoke on collaboration at Cisco’s San Jose campus recently.  He told a story about his time as an openly gay Dutch parliament member:

I was still a member of the national parliament and a leader of my political party. We had created a new government and I was on television every night. So people usually said something when I walked down the street. Usually friendly.

Dittrich then recounted a less friendly encounter he had with a man as he walked from the train station to parliament: Read More »

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Inclusion and Diversity Best Practice: Associate Network Consulting Engineer Program

As part of our commitment to inclusion and diversity (I&D), we at Cisco are devoted to building diversity into our recruiting and hiring process. I would like to share with you a great Inclusion and Diversity Best Practice on how we extended our I&D principles to our recruiting process for our Associate Network Consulting Engineer Program (ANCE), an extensive training and work experience program that provides graduates with the training to be a capable Network Consulting Engineer with our Advanced Services organisation. Read More »

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A world beyond clichés and labels

Whether it’s in a television comedy or a real life scenario, we’ve all experienced those excruciating moments when someone tries too hard to be culturally appropriate and ends up getting it wrong. Many of us avoid attempting shows of cultural awareness for fear of the offence we have the potential to cause.

In a global marketplace, many brands (including our own) are looking to build brand awareness and customer loyalty in new markets where social mores and cultural histories are in marked contrast to their own. Yet customers in new markets can often share needs and characteristics with those in originating markets, making a global brand offering eminently possible.

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The Internet of Things [INFOGRAPHIC]

When we think of being connected to the Internet, our minds immediately shift to our computers, phones, and most recently tablets. This week at Cisco live, I shared that in 2008, the number of devices connected to the Internet exceeded the number of people on Earth.

That’s right. There are more devices tapping into the Internet than people on Earth to use them. How is this possible?

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Deloitte Ride Across Britain – Creating a Human Network to Help our GB Paralympics Team Get to the 2012 Games

Last month, 60 Cisco employees from across the UK & Ireland took part in the Deloitte Ride Across Britain, an epic and challenging 9 day cycle ride starting at the most northerly point in the UK (John O’Groats in Scotland) and finishing at the most southerly point in the UK (Lands End in England). The aim of the event was to raise money to help our Great Britain’s Paralympics team get to the Games in 2012.

For me, this event has a great “Inclusion and Diversity” story threaded through it. With 60 Cisco employees taking their bikes out on the road there was a wide cross section of people involved – men and women of different ages, with a range of cycling experience between them from beginner to expert, from different Cisco offices across the UK.

And one of the great aspects of the event was that participants were able to choose how far they wanted to cycle. We had three cyclists who were able to complete the full 9 days covering a total distance of 974 miles, a relay team of 3 completed each day with 2 out of the 3 of them being on the road at all times, 3 riders cycled for 5 days and several riders who conquered Scotland. But the event was also opened up to a wider group of participants who weren’t open to take on such distances and just wanted to cycle 1 leg of 1 day, about 35 miles.

There were also 3 disabled riders who participated in the cycling challenge, including acclaimed Paralympian Danny Crates. One gentleman became the first hand-cyclist to take part in Ride Across Britain and his determination to complete the full 9 days was a real inspiration to the other riders.  

In addition to our 60 road cyclists, there were also 10 virtual teams competing against each other for the most miles cycled, the most money raised and the best team name. As you can see from the photo, a TechnoGym exercise bike was set up in every Cisco UK&I office and together the teams rode 2216 miles, raised £2230 which is equivalent to over £1 per mile!

The 60 riders created a true “Human Network”. There was no hierarchy; everyone was on a level playing field and like a flock of geese, the riders at the front created an “uplift” for the other riders to cycle quicker and easier because they were travelling on the thrust of another. Those “geese” that fell back through tiredness or injury were supported by other “geese” who stayed with them until help came. Using Mapmytracks we were able to connect our road riders with our virtual riders and the various social networking feed, which further connected and enhanced our Human Network.

Feedback from the event was extremely positive. Our riders really enjoyed the employee engagement the event created and felt truly part of the Cisco family. They enjoyed connecting with people they had never met or worked with before and sharing a life-changing experience. Once riders completed their ride they would hug each other and celebrate their amazing achievement.

For me, Inclusion and Diversity is about opening up opportunities to everyone regardless of age, disability, gender, ethnicity, religion and belief or sexual orientation; it’s about creating a non-hierarchal, diverse, open culture to foster growth and innovation and creating a Human Network. I think the Ride Across is a great best practice of how we can encourage Inclusion and Diversity in our own workforces.

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