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What Makes a Telework Program Successful?

The Cisco telework program has evolved over the years from a convergence of top-down company practices with bottom-up changes in employee expectations. From our experience we have learned how several factors can make flexible work a success for everyone.

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Clear policies and company culture. Cisco has adopted a flexible policy that enables many employees to telework, based on their job requirements and their manager’s approval. Where necessary, this policy is customized to reflect country-specific laws and employee entitlements. Also important is creating a company culture of trusting employees to work responsibly, strong performance management practices and finding the right balance of autonomous and collaborative action.

But a successful teleworking program requires more.

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Virtual Work Works, But Don’t Confuse Technology with Change Management

April 3, 2013 at 4:33 pm PST

I was in a brainstorm meeting about my team’s next-generation strategy last week, and we made a number of random connections that knitted together a pretty big idea — the kind of dot-connecting that only happens when people with different (and sometime conflicting) perspectives trust each other in the pursuit of an important goal.

Five of us worked on the idea, but only two of us were in the room physically together. Yes, I’ll say it out loud:  three people were working from home.

Much has been said and written recently about the value of working virtually, and I don’t think you can sub-divide mobility into “at home” and “on the road.” Social technologies, video and mobile platforms make it easy to work from just about anywhere.

But as leaders, we have to resist the temptation to confuse technology with change management -- despite our love affair with technology. Any time technology brings a sea-change transformation to the way humans do stuff, especially work stuff, we can’t forget that people work in organizations — and organizations are an amalgam of culture, processes and technology.

All of Cisco’s experience has taught us that Read More »

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Systematic Transformation in Higher Education: The Intersection with Technology in a Journey Toward the Future (Navigating Culture)

March 23, 2013 at 12:34 pm PST

AM73036Part 3 of A Six-Part Series: Transforming Higher Education in the US

This six-part series will focus on transformation of the traditional higher education system in the United States. The Need for Change and  Shared Challenges were the focus of the previous chapters in this series.

From Cisco’s experience with higher education institutions in the U.S., those that are implementing change well are laser-focused on three critical areas: the ability to address questions of culture, to modernize teaching and learning, and to scale and propagate change across multiple, often divided, siloes within their institutions.  Also, these institutions are using technology to manage each area more effectively.

Technology plays a critical role within each of these sectors, and if used wisely and artfully, can help to accelerate innovation and change. The rate and speed at which institutions need to change will never happen without technologies such as a solid core infrastructure, wired and wireless networks that enable ubiquitous connectivity, collaboration tools that provide seamless and robust communications, and new social collaboration platforms that support and extend the interaction of multiple communities, and ultimately, create a federated higher education society.

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Social Media Is Like Stir-From-the-Bottom Yogurt, Culture and All

Security and its integration with social media continues to be a topic of conversation amongst my colleagues in Security Intelligence Operations. We observe how “being connected” has become an integral part of many lives around the world: each voice has an opportunity to be heard, provided those voices are given unfettered access to the Internet. It’s somewhat like an electronic ecosystem of democracy. And like a democracy, the results of those voices participating in a global conversation are not always well understood or appreciated. I believe that this is due in part to those conversations being filtered through two unavoidable lenses: national borders and culture. Jean Gordon Kocienda provides an excellent analysis on the challenges faced by nation states. In this post, I’d like to offer up some thoughts on the cultural implications of the global conversations taking place in social media.

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Inside the Collaboration Crystal Ball: Four New Year’s Resolutions to Speed Up Your Organization

January 24, 2013 at 6:21 am PST

Organizations of all types enter 2013 with one key priority:  how do they move faster and execute with greater agility while still remaining flexible and adaptable to the rapid changes in markets?

CEOs around the world are looking to collaboration as their top strategy to increase the speed of their organizations. Why?  Because collaboration eliminates the friction that slows organizations down — whether that friction comes from people or processes.

The amount of friction in your organization is directly proportional to your ability to speed up your team.  Friction is sometimes purposeful, such as passive-aggressive behavior.  Other times friction comes from processes that create decisions without any clarity or a clear definition of success.

Here are four New Year’s resolutions for all leaders to Read More »

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