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How to Build a Happier and More Efficient Team

For those of us in large enterprises, it’s easy to feel lost in the sea of employees. With the rise of mobility, virtualization, and BYOD, many of us in the tech industry work from home, other offices, or even other countries. Because of this, many of us miss the chance to build good relationships with other team members. People with good work relationships are more productive, and tend to stay around longer.

Recently, my team had a major re-org, and helping new team members feel at home has been on the forefront of my mind. Here are some tips I am following to build a happier, healthier, and even more efficient team:  Read More »

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Patient Experience – Top of the Mind for Healthcare Organizations

October 29, 2012 at 1:32 pm PST

Back in September, I had the opportunity to attend HIMSS APJC in Singapore and was really excited to learn more about the key trends in that part of the world, which houses some of the largest economies, populations, and economic growth.  After talking with several customers and listening to several panel discussions, one common theme kept recurring – patient experience.  It was my belief that patient experience was more of a USA hot-button as healthcare organizations in the USA are being forced by patient “consumerism”, whereby patients want their money’s worth and have a certain level of expectation.  I was surprised to learn that patient experience is more of a global trend and that got me thinking as to what exactly is patient experience and how healthcare organizations are addressing it.

After talking with customers on a world-wide basis, I have learned that customers really do not have a standard definition for “patient experience”.  In fact each one of them has a different interpretation and there are widely divergent views in the healthcare industry.  The 2009 HealthLeaders Media Patient Experience Leadership Survey — covering more than 200 healthcare CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CNOs, directors, senior vice presidents, and other C-suite high-ranking healthcare officials — found that 33.5% of respondents said the patient experience is their “top priority,” and 54.5% said it’s “among their top five priorities.” And most responders thought it would be a priority in the future as well: 45% said it would be their top priority five years from now, and 50.5% said it would be in their top five priorities. Read More »

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Can you see your doctor while at work?

In today’s society, it is really easy to ignore one’s health. Today, I found out just how valuable it can be to have medical care available to me on campus. Here at Cisco, we have about 60 buildings on campus and in a day full of meetings, I walk or drive to the other buildings as needed. There are times when I am so busy that I choose to ignore that cough or yearly exam. And, at what cost? Do I choose to get in the car and drive to my doctor which is 45 minutes away and take at least half a day off with productivity compromise? In the old days, I would say “No way”!

So, today, I joined the ranks of the immediate gratification generation. I found out how to gain access to care in such a way that it allows me to keep working when I need to do so. We have a clinic here on campus named Life Connections (http://www.cisco.com/web/lchc/index.html). Unfortunately, I learned the hard way just how valuable it can be!

I was walking from one building to another and happened to fall. The klutz in me tripped over my pants leg and I fell. I thought I had broken my wrist and could not wait to see the doctor – not to mention the bleeding. Read More »

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Guilford meets Nairobi

It does not matter whether you are in Guildford or in Nairobi, it seems that it is never hard to get 10 and 11 year-old girls to chat. Recently I met about 30 of them over TelePresence, (Cisco’s high definition video conferencing). The aim of the meeting was to inspire them to consider careers in IT in the future and was designed to be a question and answer session. Having introduced myself and explained how I got into the IT industry many moons ago, the floor was all theirs.

 

Questions came flooding at me and the pressure was on to make a good impression. Despite the distance between them, I was immediately struck by the similarities of the girls – all in their smart school uniform, all  smiling at me and a few girls gave me a little wave. Their respective teachers introduced the schools and that was where the similarity ended. The girls in Nairobi were from a deprived slum area whilst the girls from Guildford were mainly middle class. The questions they asked however were very different. Yes I was asked the usual questions such as “How did I get into IT?” “Do I like my job?” “What do I do?” etc .  However the girls in Nairobi wanted to know how I got work, how long did it take me to get there, how many hours did I work and then they asked me probably the most poignant question of the session. “Does your technology help people in drug rehabilitation centres?”  Wow, that question was so telling on many levels! By the way I didn’t know the answer but was able to explain how our technology Healthpresence is enabling doctors and hospitals to see more patients remotely and is extending the reach of healthcare..  The question was also in stark contrast from one of the Guildford girls  who wanted to know  what was the colour of my toothbrush! The last question asked was “ What was my most prized possession?” No prizes for guessing which school asked this one but I hope both schools took a few minutes to think about my response. I said “ it is not a possession as such but my answer is my HEALTH”. 

I then left the meeting so the girls could get to know each other better. I felt very privileged to have taken part and very humbled by the girls in Nairobi. I cannot really imagine what their lives are like on a daily basis or whether or not I inspired them but I hope they left the session with something constructive to talk about! The meeting has certainly left it’s footprint on me, more so than I expected. The children were so similar in their openness, friendliness and willingness to participate. However the use of the Cisco office would have sheltered the girls from Guildford from the harsh reality their new friends from Nairobi face each day and would have made it difficult for them to really comprehend their differences. Hopefully this would have been a good thing – the real understanding that we are not that different from each other after all!

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Steve Jobs Legacy for me – what’s important to you?

October 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm PST

This is a tough blog post for me. Like many folks in the US and around the world I too believe we have lost a genius. From a consumer products perspective Jobs disrupted the animation industry, disrupted the music industry, disrupted the phone industry and disrupted the laptop industry. Disruption for the last  three meant big wins for Apple -- big profits and big market share numbers.

We’re all wondering what was planned next and, despite assurances that Apple will continue to produce innovation and that innovation is in safe hands with the existing management, I have a feeling that the ‘Jobs spark’ will be hard to replicate in the future. I do have confidence that someone or ‘ones’ will appear in the future to continue the innovation the US has been famous for.

Steve Jobs  ‘Righting the Ship’ after he takes the Helm. He’s talking about his predecessor’s approach, not his! That’s why Gates etc. are laughing.

As Managing Editor of the Manufacturing Industry Blog I am allowed the occasional ‘Editorial’ only slightly related to the industry (well, that’s what I’ve decided, anyway!). So this blog is tough because I’m not going to address the innovation issue. I’m not going to address the need for improved education or more engineers or more math students (though they are sadly needed).

No, this blog is about priorities in life. I’ve learned, as many of us have, that Jobs allegedly  delayed getting surgery for his pancreatic cancer by three-quarters of a year, or thereabouts. It is reported that the new biography that’s due out on Monday has some of the details. Now I make no judgment on his choices, I’ll leave that to you as reader, but a “60 minutes” interview that airs on Sunday with biographer Walter Isaacson apparently confirms details that had been speculated upon or widely reported, including that Jobs might have been cured of his “slow-growing” cancer had he sought professional treatment sooner, rather than resorting to unconventional means.

Please don’t judge Steve Jobs, or me. But here’s a similar learning from both of us. I passed a certain age a while ago where I should have had my first colonoscopy. I delayed it. Too busy; not high enough priority; low risk factors; you name the excuses. Four years after that time, in 2010, my wife Julie forced me to have it done. We had a 6 year old and she had just given birth to our second child – a beautiful baby girl.

Unfortunately for me, It was bad news…

Read More »

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