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Improve Decision-Making: Collaborate to Engage

This is the second of a four-part series. Part I introduced decision-driven collaboration. Upcoming posts will explore evaluation and execution.

Better decisions don’t necessarily come from the existence of better information. The information is usually somewhere in the organization, but there’s no benefit to the decision-making process unless people actually use it. Executives often don’t take full advantage of all the specialized knowledge that employees can contribute. Maybe they don’t know the information is there. Maybe they know it must be somewhere, but don’t know how to get it. Or, well, maybe they’re just not looking for it in the first place.

Improving the decision-making process comes as a result of evolving ideas around collaboration and by connecting people and empowering them to work together. Cisco IBSG calls this “Decision-Driven Collaboration” and outlines three core elements that build upon one another in the decision process:

  • Collaborate to Engage: Identify key contributors, solicit input, share ideas.
  • Collaborate to Evaluate: Shape the matter to be decided, consider viable alternatives.
  • Collaborate to Execute: Make a clear decision, align relevant parties, put it into practice.

Although the executives in an IBSG survey rated their own decision-making ability highly, the managers and individual contributors were (surprise!) not nearly as confident in the decisions handed to them to execute. Making critical strategic decisions without engaging the right people and information in your organization should be a candidate for a new definition of risk in the next edition of the dictionary, followed closely by leaping out of an airplane minus a parachute.

Just ask Borders. Borders missed the online retailing boat in a big way. How big? Read More »

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Desktop Virtualization and Cloud: Fueling a New Collaborative Workspace and Creating a New User Experience

Have you stopped to think about how much your desktop has evolved over the past 5 years? Many elements from it have evolved, some have disappeared, and others are still there as they were before. But why haven’t they all changed at the same pace? To me, the answer is in the quality of the experience those elements provide, and the possibility to have your full desktop environment on whatever device you choose.

Take, for example, the personal computer. For many of us, that device became mobile years ago without sacrificing much performance but adding a lot of convenience and new capabilities. Many of us use a smartphone and the availability of new touch-screen computing devices, such as tablets, have considerably changed the way many people interact with applications and information.

But it does not seem to me that we are looking at the “convergence” of those devices into one “universal device” that will replace all those three and deliver the features, capabilities, and convenience we enjoy from all three form factors. Why?

From the user experience perspective, the mobile revolution helped us to be “free” from fixed office locations but it did not provide ease of use, flexibility and capabilities for all the use case scenarios that traditional desktop accessories offer. Most users (me included) would struggle to Read More »

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How Does Corporate Culture Impact a Company’s Success?

Culture exists in any organization, whether created through careful design and implementation, or through natural development as a company grows.

What exactly is “corporate culture”?

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Nobel Peace Prize Concert and Visioning Open Society

For the past 10 years, Cisco has had the unique privilege of sponsoring the Nobel Peace Prize Concert. This sponsorship has provided Cisco the additional opportunity to host global public sector leaders for a public services forum. I attended last month, where the theme of the forum was ‘Visioning Open Society’ and provided attendees the  opportunity to meet with eighteen government and education leaders from Japan, South Korea, Bulgaria, the United States, Sweden and more.

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Collaborating to Improve Decision Making

Decisions have consequences. It’s a simple fact that not even my fourth grader will dispute. But if it’s so simple, why do organizations often have so much trouble making good decisions? Or, knowing the potential consequences, why do they pay little attention to how they go about the whole decision-making process?

It’s easy to find outside factors at which to point fingers when things go wrong – economy, competitors, politics, weather, Mercury in retrograde – but honesty requires that we acknowledge that internal factors and poorly made decisions are at the root of most major organizational failures. But it seems that most leaders aren’t ready for that level of self-reflection. Just ask them.

Cisco IBSG asked more than 1,000 executives to rate the ability of their companies to make successful decisions on critical issues — such as corporate strategy, acquisitions, product launches, and entering new markets — 71% chose Read More »

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