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Fast Company Cover Story on Cisco

imageFast Company’s December/January cover is on our favorite company…you got it: Cisco. Reporter Ellen McGuirt takes an in-depth look at our company’s collaborative management leadership model and our technology strategy.A few of my favorite quotes:

“Cisco, (Chairman and CEO John) Chambers argues, is the best possible model for how a large, global business can operate: as a distributed idea engine where leadership emerges organically, unfettered by a central command.”

and

“Chambers wants nothing less than a total redesign of the corporation as we know it. Starting at the top: “You won’t have to depend on the CEO anymore.” About those Cisco execs who left, he says he came to realize that “some people need a command-and-control environment.” But that’s not the way of the future: “We now have a whole pool of talent who can lead these working groups, like mini CEOs and COOs. We’re growing ideas, but we’re growing people as well.” In fact, he says, “where I might have had two potential successors, I now have 500.””

I hope you enjoy reading it.

Managing in a Challenging Economy

There have been a number of media reports on our expense control measures and what we are doing to manage our business in this challenging economy. On our Q1 FY ’09 earnings call, we announced that we will be reducing our expenses for FY09 by over $1B from our annualized expense run rate given the challenging macroeconomic environment. We will target reductions in travel and discretionary-related expenses, including offsites, outside services, equipment, events, trade shows, marketing and other activities. As part of this effort, we will also implement a year-end shutdown of the US-Canada theater from December 29, 2008, through January 2, 2009 (note that January 1 is already a holiday). There will be some exceptions for targeted business-critical teams including technical assistance services and channel partner and customer product ordering services. While this is not our first year-end shutdown as we followed this longstanding Silicon Valley practice in our early years as a company, it is our first in over a decade. Given the difficult macroeconomic conditions, we believe our cost control focus at this time is appropriate while still providing our partners and customers with critical services over the year-end period.Post-earnings we also posted this video of Chairman and CEO John Chambers stating, in part, that while we will undertake appropriate expense management initiatives in the current environment, we will also make some calculated investments into areas where we believe we can accelerate development and Cisco’s leadership.

2008 Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility Report Online

Corporate citizenship has long been a priority at Cisco and we are proud to be partners in initiatives that make a difference in many global communities. Education initiatives, responsible management and CSR governance, energy efficient measures for our buildings and networking technology solutions for customers–are just some of our investments we have made in products, cash and expertise. With today’s release of Cisco’s fourth annual CSR report, our role in responsible business practices and social investment is top of mind for the company.Corporate citizenship was also the focus of an event hosted by The Economist in San Francisco earlier this week. As a participant in the conference, it was great to exchange ideas and hear perspectives from different business leaders on the role corporate citizenship plays in their respective organizations. Cisco chairman and CEO, John Chambers, talked about driving social and economic impact through corporate citizenship with Matthew Bishop, senior business writer for The Economist and Randa Ayoubi, CEO of Rubicon, during a TelePresence conversation shown at the conference. Research findings relating to the role of corporate citizenship in business can also be found in The Economist report”Corporate Citizenship: Profiting from a Sustainable Business.” Post by Tae Yoo, SVP, Corporate Affairs

Marilyn Nagel on Diversity & Inclusion at Cisco

I recently sat down with Marilyn Nagel, director of diversity and inclusion at Cisco, to gather her insights on why these topics are imperative to Cisco and its employees. In this Q&A, Marilyn responded to the following questions:How do you define diversity and inclusion?What kind of employee resource groups does Cisco offer?What is your favorite thing about the work environment at Cisco?

What are you putting on your Network for the holidays?

Before Oprah Winfrey became the poster child for Amazon’s Kindle, there was just one voice we trusted to tell us which gadgets to buy: The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg.Fortunately, Oprah’s newfound love of gadgets hasn’t put Walt out of business and he and some tech-loving friends came to Silicon Valley last night to take us on an entertaining romp through the gadgets every self-respecting valley executive will be snapping up this holiday season.Naturally, we at Cisco (Cisco sponsors the Churchill Club) were looking out for fabulous networked stuff and we weren’t disappointed. Here’s our short list of favorite networked gadgets you just won’t be able to live without this holiday season!6. Can’t get enough network access? Then in-car Wi-Fi is here for you! Apparently, Chrysler is about to start offering the service in new vehicles!5. Love that place in the suburbs, but hate the cell phone reception? No problem…build your own cell tower! It’ll only cost you about $99.00 for the privilege of helping all your neighbors get a signal too! Check out the Airave Femtocell from Sprint.4. Is getting directions from a GPS device not quite enough for you? How about this new gadget from Garmin. Apparently, it tells you when you’re breaking the speed limit too! 3. The network’s all around you. You can work from anywhere, effortlessly. Great, isn’t it? Well yes, until three of you need to gather around a mobile phone to do a conference call from client’s conference room. Well, how about a mobile speaker phone to get you wired for sound.2. Got your boarding pass online, but forgot to print it off before you got to the gate? No problem! Open up the Web page on your phone and print to your Pentax pocket printer. Now that’s mobility!1. Animatronic, singing, lip-curling latex Elvis. Okay, so he’s not networked, but come on! A singing, robot Elvis! What more do you want? If your gadget appetite hasn’t quite been fulfilled by Elvis and our short-list, you can get a bigger fix of last night’s stuff from Kara Swisher at the All Things Digital blog