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Cisco Employees Paddle to Fight Cancer

July 11, 2014 at 6:00 am PST

barbara_chiuThis post was written by guest blogger Barbara Chu, Managing Director of Cisco Hong Kong and Macau

Under the throbbing beat of the drum and supported by lots of cheering supporters, our devoted Cisco Dragon paddlers dashed to the finish line at the Hong Kong Stanley International Dragon Boat Championship, while achieving the goal of raising HK$100,000 (US$12,900) for the Hong Kong Cancer Fund.

Life is not just about work, and that is why we initially brought Cisco employees together to form the Cisco Dragon team back in 2007 – not just to enter the championship that takes place every year on the Dragon Boat Festival (the 5th day of the 5th lunar month, usually in June) at Stanley Beach in Hong Kong, but also to encourage work-life balance and facilitate the well-being of our employees, and our friends and partners.

Cisco Dragon dashing to the finish line

Cisco Dragon dashing to the finish line

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Cisco Senior Leaders Mentor Students in STEM

June 14, 2014 at 8:30 am PST

This week in 9 Cisco offices around the world, 220 senior executives modeled some of Cisco’s core values by volunteering to mentor 400 students in STEM (science, technology, education and math). Cisco has been actively engaged in helping the communities in which our employees live and work since the company started in 1984. We do that by donating resources and product to global and community nonprofits and by encouraging our employees to volunteer. Cisco’s volunteer program started in 1992 and often includes matching cash grants for hours that employees work.

Cisco CEO John Chambers addresses Cisco senior leaders and 100 Girls Scouts at Cisco Headquarters in San Jose, CA

Cisco CEO John Chambers addresses Cisco senior leaders and 100 Girls Scouts at Cisco Headquarters in San Jose, California

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Creating Environments for Better Employee Engagement

February 5, 2014 at 10:42 am PST

I recently wrote about the importance of laughter at work. Laughter isn’t the only indicator of employee engagement, but it’s a good one. There have been times in my career where it seemed that my team’s leaders considered laughter as a sign that people weren’t serious enough about their work. (My current team is seriously amused – serious about our work and consistently amused in general.)

These organizations operated according to invisible “all work and no play” mantras. And those were gray places indeed. Places with little collaboration, innovation, and motivation. Places where people showed up, clicked through ominous task lists of multitasking, and went home. Places with little energy. Places with low employee engagement.

Improving employee engagement is gaining emphasis as organizations realize that they can set up all the processes and objectives they want, but people and organizational culture make the difference. Read More »

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Employee Engagement Goal: Encourage Laughter

January 22, 2014 at 7:27 am PST

I like to laugh. I find humor in all sorts of places and situations. Often unlikely ones. I’ve laughed in the most appropriate of situations and some of the most awkward. And I laugh at work. A lot.

Frankly, I think the Food and Drug Administration should have a recommended daily allowance for laughter along the lines of those identified for Vitamin C, Iron, and Riboflavin.

Peter Bregman recently had a great post on Harvard Business Review blog network. In “Why You Should Treat Laughter as a Metric,” Bregman writes about the lack of laughter as a symptom of a problem within organizations. And he suggests that increasing the opportunity for laughter should be a leadership priority. Read More »

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Finding More Time through Better Collaboration

January 7, 2014 at 12:04 pm PST

“Time is an illusion.”

―Albert Einstein

Time is an illusion. And an obsession. And apparently time is endangered because everyone is trying to save time, find more time, use time more wisely, or just plain stop time.

Time is of the essence, after all. And in the wonderful world of business, it always seems that we’re trying to find ways that let us move faster. We want to reduce the time it takes us to do what we do, whether it’s responding to customers, making decisions, adjusting to market trends, or getting the latest-greatest whatever-it-is to market.

You can’t reduce an illusion, but you can find ways to be more effective and make better use of the time you have.

Executives and managers consistently believe they need at least 20% higher performance from employees to meet their business goals, according The Corporate Executive Board, in its report “The Future of Corporate IT, 2013–2017.”

That’s a tough number to hear from the employee side of that equation. Maybe I spend time with the wrong crowd, but I don’t know too many people who consider their performance to be only 80% of their potential. So where does that additional 20% come from? Is it an illusion too? Read More »

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