Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Manufacturing

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”?

Read More »

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

Productivity Gains Through Culture, Visuality, and Collaboration (Part 4): Building a Business Case for Collaboration

Collaboration is again on my mind as I prepare to board a giant Airbus A380—the largest passenger jet in service today—for the long flight from San Francisco to India via Frankfurt.

I think about the various problems reported about the A380 program. The plane was essentially built in France and finished in Germany. The two locations used different versions of engineering software to design the aircraft’s incredibly complex wiring and electronics. Needless to say, the designs were not compatible, leading to an enormous amount of rework and production delays. This resulted in higher production costs, canceled orders, and billions of euros in lost revenue. It is doubtful that the A380 program will ever be a commercial success for Airbus.

Could more effective collaboration and communications capabilities have prevented this scenario? I think so. In fact, the business case for improved collaboration has never been clearer. Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Productivity Gains Through Culture, Visuality, and Collaboration (Part 2): The Importance of Organizational Culture and Leadership

In my previous post, I described the challenges senior management faces in scaling collaboration capabilities to address business needs and the way work is done today.

Electronic and whiteboard displays, lean practices, and collaboration tools by themselves are clearly not enough. Management needs to take a holistic approach to develop and integrate capabilities in three areas to address the challenge of capturing the next wave of productivity gains: culture and leadership, extended workplace visuality, and pervasive collaboration.

Organizational culture and leadership are probably the single most important factors in enabling gains in employee productivity and innovation that result from knowledge work. Morten Hansen, in his book Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results, provides an excellent perspective on what management can do to identify barriers to collaboration and design solutions to overcome them. Most of these barriers are cultural and particularly severe in large global corporations with multiple business units, complex matrix organizational structures, and operations that span multiple countries. Read More »

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

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month

May is the Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. For those who aren’t familiar, the Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month in May commemorates two major United States events in the Asian American and Pacific Islander history --The first group of Japanese immigrants arrived in America on May 7, 1843 and the transcontinental railroad (thanks to the labor of many Chinese immigrants) was completed on May 10, 1869.  The month of May--to celebrate the Asian-Pacific American traditions, culture, and history--was officially designated by the Congress in the 1990s.

It is June and although this seems a little belated, technically speaking, every month or day for the matter should be a celebration of whatever your heart desires--whether it is your family and friends, your culture, your favorite band… you name it! For Cisco, everyday is a day of inclusion and diversity, and it is evident in Cisco’s extensive efforts in supporting more than 10 different Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), participation and sponsor for world-wide inclusion and diversity events, and so much more.

At the Cisco Asian Affinity Network’s (CAAN) Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month celebration event on June 6, 2012, I learned that Cisco is recognized by Asia Society as a finalist in three different categories for the 2012 Diversity Leadership Forum Awards: (1) Best Company for Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Making Culture More than a Nice Word

June 6, 2012 at 4:17 am PST

At its essence, collaboration is about working together to accomplish a common goal. You can buy all of the latest and greatest tools – and yes, by the way, we have the latest and greatest – but without an organizational culture that supports collaboration, it’s a lot like giving a fish a bicycle. Or a school of fish a fleet of bicycles. Or parachutes to snakes. Or Post-It notes to squirrels.

Organizations like to talk about their collaborative cultures, but it’s often more marketingspeak than an accurate description of the work environment. Culture is one of those feel-good words that makes a business sound like less of a money-making venture and more of a community.

Compared to traditional hierarchies, truly collaborative cultures are characterized by increasing levels of interdependence between leaders and employees. It’s a lot like what Mrs. Blackburn emphasized in my kindergarten class: share, listen, play nicely together. Somewhere along the way to a paycheck, we stop eating paste and stop playing so nicely. Read More »

Tags: , , , ,