Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Video

Quiet Rooms: Delivering High-Intensity Collaboration Undisturbed

Did you know that 75 percent of business leaders believe in-person collaboration is critical to business success?

Designed to meet the needs of an evolving workforce, organizations are embracing more open workspaces to enable collaboration and give employees choice and flexibility of how they work.

However, while an open office environment can foster collaboration, the lack of privacy can inhibit collaboration when conversing on sensitive information or it can impact the level of concentration during a highly-intensive virtual meeting.

Enter the Quiet Room! Quiet Rooms are enclosed small rooms for individual workers that require concentration or privacy. Keeping in line with the trend of open office collaboration, equipping these rooms with technology, like Cisco personal telepresence solutions, can increase the effectiveness of employees in open workspace environments.

Roopam Jain, Industry Director of Unified Communications and Collaboration at Frost & Sullivan, recently said, “With many employees now working in more open space environments, quiet rooms incorporating Cisco TelePresence systems enable spur of the moment ‘face time’ among team members in dispersed locations without employees having to tie up a larger conference room for a video call.”

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Collaboration Patterns That Accelerate Your Business

This is my fourth blog in a multi-part series.  In my first blog, I introduced insights from Cisco’s Collaboration Work Practice Study and how people value collaboration in the work environment.  In my second blog, I discussed the importance of building trust-based relationships and networks to make collaboration work for you.  In my third blog, I share how you can turn human interactions into business results.  In today’s blog, I discuss patterns of collaborative behaviors and how to leverage them to better support collaborators.

*****

Collaboration can happen at anytime.  Some would describe it as chaotic.   But interestingly enough, through all the collaborative interactions we observed, we saw patterns in the “chaos” – patterns that did not just exist in organizational silos, nor were they simply associated with a job role or personality type.   Throughout the day, people play a variety of roles and experience different types and modes of collaboration.   They go from online to offline, in a virtual meeting to meeting over coffee, have an ad-hoc chat in the break-room and attend a global Cisco TelePresence meeting.

If we pay close attention to the behavior patterns of collaboration we can learn how to better support collaborators and create a more seamless experience. This is where process, technology and the physical and virtual workplace can complement the human behaviors that occur during collaboration.

Accelerating Collaboration through Catalysts and Connectors

“Not everyone is comfortable with collaborating virtually. [A catalyst’s] outreach encourages participation and makes the experience rich and meaningful.”   – Study Participant

In our study, we found that certain types of people play an essential role in not only Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Connected Millennials Entering the Workforce

Earlier this year, CNN reported that the U.S. jobless rate fell to its lowest level since 2008. Positive job growth—and having the talent to fulfill these job openings—is great news for employers, jobseekers, and the economy as a whole.

As the academic year comes to an end, college graduates around the world are getting ready to join that talent pool. This new generation of workers comes from an environment and lifestyle unlike that of their seniors, and they bring assets that are unfamiliar to more seasoned employees.

Let me elaborate for those of us born before 1980. When I joined the workforce some decades ago, faxing, mailing, and wired phones were everyday business staples. Today, each of us has at least one mobile device on hand. (I have three: my cell phone, iPad, and laptop.) And with those devices comes a shift in the ways we connect and communicate, at work and elsewhere. But many of us remember the time when we worked without these devices.

Millennials don’t have that memory. Coming of age in a mobile world makes their views fresh and their needs unique. Every time we bring a new, next-generation hire on board, I wonder, “What can they teach me?” This is the generation that will inherit the economy when we retire. By cross-mentoring each other, we all can do a better job of preparing for that future.

At Cisco, we are starting to see more and more of our customers adapting to accommodate the needs of their connected employees, both young and experienced. We’re seeing them laying the groundwork to encourage increased mobility in the workforce, with collaboration technologies and programs like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) at the office. With BYOD and mobile technology becoming increasingly pervasive in the workplace, collaboration becomes more accessible, and productivity and efficiency improve. And as employees start enjoying the flexibility of working from anywhere, morale reaches a new high.

Connecting your workforce—whether it is multigenerational, multinational, or multilingual—and enabling the Internet of Everything, allows employers to bring together people, processes, data, and things. While first-time workers may lack the experience of their more seasoned coworkers, they’ll flourish more quickly if their need to be connected is fulfilled. As the pace of business continues to increase, it is imperative for executives to act now to make sure that collaboration technology is readily available, to attract Millennials and to engage employees of all generations.

My two biggest pieces of advice for companies looking to hire from this next generation are these:  First, leverage their always-connected lifestyle as an advantage to your business objectives—not as a setback. The way they play is also the way they work. Because of technology advancements, it is now completely viable for us to deliver the infrastructure for this lifestyle in the workplace. Second, encourage your entire workforce to participate in a knowledge exchange, wherein Millennials share tech know-how and senior workers share business acumen.

There is an amazing synergy going on that results from the new generation’s approach to work, the seasoned experience of older workers, and today’s mobile, collaborative technologies and architectures—and this synergy amounts to a big win for everyone.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Build Team Trust … Fast.

How to encourage people to do what they say they’re going to do.

Trust is weaved into almost every aspect of our lives. I trusted that my car would get me to the airport this morning, that the pilots and crew would get me to Washington D.C., and that my cab driver would find my hotel. This all comes so naturally. So why does the role of trust in collaboration inside organizations remain such a mystery?

For more than 150 years, organizations have been organized in silos that breed internal competition for resources. The psychology of competing with your teammates for resources, in turn, encouraged an insidious way of working:  passive-aggressive behaviors where humans work side-by-side but work subtly against each other even though they are employed by the same firm.

Trust anchors every successful collaborative team.

We researched at Cisco the most important factors in creating trust on collaboration teams, and the single most important factor is revealing:  do people do what they say they are going to do?

As leaders, it is up to us to be overtly aggressive at vanquishing passive-aggressive behaviors and building real, human trust.  We have no choice in our hyper-connected world where change is constant and work is increasingly global, mobile and virtual. As distance and time condense, it stresses out the calmest of us as we scramble to meet deadlines while working with people that likely we’ve never met.

So what’s the key to building team trust?

“Replace uncertainty with clarity. Articulate the team’s purpose and establish up front what you expect from each member.”  The Collaboration Imperative

How to build a team charter

A team charter helps clarify a team’s purpose, role, shared goals and scope; a charter eliminates ambiguity of expectations. As leaders, we can make a team charter the focal point around which the team builds healthy collaboration habits.

It’s possible to move beyond your gut feel and hope trust develops on your team; it is possible to operationalize it. Trust is too important to, well, just trust that it’ll happen. To that end, we’ve found that a team charter is most effective when it is composed of five elements:

  1. Team purpose:  describes specific challenges, opportunities or tasks the team will address (and also expectations).
  2. Team role:  teams form for different reasons.  Know why your team exists – is it to align a group around an initiative?  Is it to execute a priority together?  What are the different roles of individuals on the team?  Read more about various team roles in Chapter 5 of “The Collaboration Imperative”.
  3. Shared goals:  most collaborative teams have people from different backgrounds, functions and even companies. Make sure despite your differences, you’re all chasing the same goals. These goals allow you to create a specific definition of what success looks like and allow you to map your goals to performance management
  4. Scope:  establish well-defined boundaries of what you hope to do. These “guardrails” allow you to say no to ‘scope creep’! This helps members determine their time commitment and helps the team as a whole stay on track.
  5. Establish ground rules. Put ground rules in place for team procedures and processes (including meeting logistics), how you use your time together, who makes final decisions, how to resolve conflict, and how respect and courtesy are paramount.

A team charter is a powerful means to enable trust-building on your collaboration teams.  Keep in mind that a team charter should be paired with a common vocabulary. Sweat the details of your team’s vocabulary. Ask if everyone on the team has the same definitions in their heads for the vocabulary you are using to articulate the charter.  Don’t let the definition of a word be the reason trust is derailed!

The management science is pretty clear here:  teams that trust each other outperform teams that don’t. Are you outperforming?

Ron

Tags: , , , ,

TelePresence and WebEx Together – Giving Our Customers the Best of Both Worlds

Peanut butter and jelly. Sonny and Cher. Ying and yang. Can you think of other things that go together so well? I couldn’t until March’s Enterprise Connect when we announced that Cisco TelePresence and WebEx were uniting to deliver voice, two-way HD video and content sharing to any employee.

webex tp

Why is this significant? With tens of thousands of Cisco TelePresence endpoints and more than 30 million active WebEx users, we wanted to make B2B video collaboration easier than ever. By combining our market leading Web conference solution, WebEx, with the market leading enterprise high-quality video capabilities in our telepresence solutions we are enabling a seamless meeting with anyone, anywhere, on any device.

Optimized to work with any standards-based video endpoints, Cisco TelePresence and WebEx helps organizations broaden the reach of video collaboration and simplify the experience for all participants.

What can our customers expect by bringing together these two powerful collaboration tools?

I’ve outlined a few benefits below:

Read More »

Tags: , , , , ,