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Celebrating Memorial Day in the U.S.

May 28, 2012 at 8:25 am PST

Here in the United States, we are observing Memorial Day today which honors those men and women that have laid down their lives in our nation’s service.  Here’s a fact I only learned recently about why the flag is only at half staff until noon:

On Memorial Day the flag is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day.

The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.

Here at Cisco, our military focused employee resource group (ERG) is just finishing up its annual spring care package drive to troops overseas.  It is always an education to get Read More »

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Talking about my Generation

I recently read an article by Deloitte and something really caught my attention: voicemail.

Apparently voicemail is antiquated.  It’s out of touch. It’s not an efficient way to communicate with people.

Did you know that? I didn’t. But according to the same article, the reason I didn’t know is because I am too old.

I’m a Generation X-er. I’ve lived through the digital revolution. And whilst I, like any good Cisco employee, love the fruits of technology – the Internet, smartphones, SMS texts, blogs, IWE – I also remember a time when telephones had cords and emails were word-processed and delivered by postmen. And apparently that makes me a whole different ball-game to Generation Y-ers and “Millenials.”

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Is it really funny?

Driving home from the supermarket a few Saturday mornings ago, I switched on the radio to discover a female chef talking very enthusiastically about her collection of knives. I couldn’t place who she was but was suddenly more interested when out of her mouth popped the phrase:

“Anyone who uses a serrated knife for anything other than tomatoes is totally gay.”

I turned up the radio hoping to check what I’d heard was really what I’d heard but there was only silence, as if the chat show host and other guests were deliberating over the need to pick up on the chef’s use of the term gay.

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So you think you know it all?

So you think you know it all?

If you haven’t seen this advert for Carlsberg beer, take a minute to watch it.

Beer’s not my preferred tipple, but I do think this a really clever twist on the way that preconceptions keep us in their thrall (as well as a good ad for lager.)

A series of couples are sold tickets to see a movie. However once inside, they realise that their seats are the last two in the middle of the theatre. And that every other seat is occupied by a Hell’s Angels biker, covered in tattoos.

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Power to the people

It’s widely recognised that the most effective leaders and the best managers are those who consider and understand the impact of what they say and do, on other people.

Who hasn’t been in a meeting where somebody senior has absolutely crushed someone else – often without even realising the effect that might have had on that person’s motivation and wellbeing? Many of us have had the “boss from hell” – the one that bullies or cajoles or frightens others into submission.

In my experience the best bosses are those who lead without taking power from others. They are the people who lead by example, who instil respect and loyalty, and who make others feel empowered to do their jobs well.

But power is not just about being a boss.

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