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Wag More, Bark Less

November 2, 2007
at 12:00 pm PST

I was taking my 8-month old son for a walk the other day and saw a bumper sticker that said “Wag More, Bark Less.” This is a good philosophy and I think, in large degree, we practice this at Cisco. For us, the customer is always right and we know we don’t exist without them.The next day, a big piece on Cisco was published by Fortune magazine, written by former managing editor Rik Kirkland. The sub-head states, “Cisco fell hard, went through a wrenching period of reinvention, and is now stronger than it has ever been.” It is a good piece and worth the read and definitely made me want to wag more than bark, if you will.It also made me think about the piece I worked on with current managing editor of Fortune, Andy Serwer, back in May of 2000. Entitled, “Two Questions about Cisco: Is John Chambers the Best CEO on Earth? (and) Is It Too Late to Buy His Stock?” We’re in the middle of our quiet period as we report earnings for Q108 next week, so I cannot comment on the second question even if I could. As to the first question Andy asked, I’m certainly in the affirmative camp. I’ve been at Cisco for nearly 9 years and have been working with our CEO for most of that time. He is good. He is smart. He’s also a nice guy, which really goes a long way when working with him. He is demanding, but also willing to listen. And, most importantly, he’s willing to change with the times and, in most cases, lead those changes.Case in point is our new video blogging at the company. We’ve done a couple video blogs with him and after the second one he said, “Every week I’m in the office, I want to do one of these.” He recognizes that video and blogs are important ways to communicate and he’s willing to invest his time in doing it and not just talking about it. This anecdote is certainly indicative of how he approaches change…he embraces it.This sounds a bit like a suck-up-to-the-CEO blog entry and it isn’t meant to be. It is just a stream of consciousness entry on what I’m feeling as a Cisco employee of late, which, really the Fortune piece brought to the forefront. If you’ve followed Cisco in the past few years, you know we’re doing okay. I think that a “wag more, bark less” approach has contributed to some of our success.And, because I haven’t found a way to make a picture of my aforementioned son relevant to this blog entry, I’ll just post it here and let you know that he is definitely a “wag more, bark less” kind of guy as well.Jack Pooh.jpg

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2 Comments.


  1. Right, but what would be the point to post a suck-up-to-the-CEO blog entry anonymously? I wish there would be more Cisco employees that brave! I am getting acid here but the point I am trying to make is that anonymity on the Internet besides its many disadvantages have a lot of advantages as well. Assuming I am Cisco employee, this sort of comment will put a rather big dent in my career if not posted anonymously. However i have to say I was pleasantly surprised to see that the my post was not censored like I assumed it will happen. This shows a certain kind integrity that I have not expected. Maybe Cisco it is truly changing. Getting back to the main topic of the blog entry Wag More, Bark Less”" I think that the market environment today makes the big dog bark less than it used to do. A very good book on the dynamics of “”bark”" and “”wag”", assuming you have not already read it, is Axelrod’s “”The Evolution of Cooperation”"( http://www.amazon.com/Evolution-Cooperation-Robert-Axelrod/dp/0465005640/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-2076526-3192152?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1196964525&sr=8-1 )”

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  2. This sounds a bit like a suck-up-to-the-CEO blog entry and it isn’t meant to be”"Yes this is suck-up to the CEO of the most disgusting kind. Please guys have some decency and do try to maintain your dignity.Earnhardt note: I have decency and dignity and actually use my real name when posting.”

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