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Discover Your Collaboration Persona: How do you “show up” in an increasingly visual, mobile, social and virtual world?

September 25, 2012 at 6:11 am PST

I was lucky enough to meet GE CEO Jeff Immelt at a Cisco event some years ago and interview him on the topic of leadership.  My biggest takeaway from listening to him:  leadership is about how you “show up.”  In other words, it’s how we act and behave in everyday situations that define our leadership persona.  I’m pretty sure he meant it literally, as in how we “show up” in the physical world.

But how do we “show up” as leaders in a world where work is increasingly done on a mobile phone or tablet, or using a video chat, web conference or Telepresence?  This is one of the great leadership challenges of this hyper-connected world: as a leader you will need to know what I like to call your “Collaboration Persona” – that way in which your leadership style shows up when you’re not in the physical world.

How should you approach building your Collaboration Persona?  Here are three steps:

1)      Know yourself:  Whether it is in the physical world or virtual, how we show up should authentically represent who we are.  Click here to take a quick online assessment to discover your authentic communication style (Click on the green “Take Survey” button). This confidential assessment is a bit like the Myers-Briggs test and provides you with a customized profile of your unique communication style; it reveals how you naturally process information, and how you prefer to deliver that information to others. Most importantly, the assessment provides a simple vocabulary to communicate your style to others. Are you conceptual or analytical?  An introvert or an extrovert?

My co-author Carl Wiese and I cover this topic extensively in the third chapter of our book, The Collaboration Imperative, entitled “Get Real about Communications. Click here to learn more about The Collaboration Imperative.

2)      Know where you excel as a “Virtual Star”: Just as you play to your strengths in the real world, play to your strengths in the virtual world.  Here are some examples:

  • If you are a conceptual thinker, you will excel when the team needs someone to explain the aspirations of a decision, such as a vision. These thinkers will be good on video presentations during virtual meetings. It’s not that conceptual people aren’t good in online discussion forums where the medium calls for more precise language; it’s more about playing to the strength of conceptual thinkers – they love talking about ideas and tapping into that passion on video is a great way to play to one’s strengths.
  • If you are an analytical thinker, you will excel at “making it real” when communicating a decision to your team.  These thinkers are outstanding in virtual mediums where precision communicates best – such as online question and answer sessions and discussion forums.  Again, it’s not that analytical thinkers aren’t outstanding on video, where the communication is sometimes more free-flow; it’s that online Q&A and discussions forums play to the strong logical nature of analytical thinkers – they love communicating the steps taken, the process used, and the supporting facts of a decision.

3)      Get out there and practice on your medium:  When you align your communication style to these new forms of communication, you’ll find it easy to participate in the increasingly virtual, mobile, social and visual work environment that your teams leverage to get better, more productive results every day. You can’t underestimate how your team will appreciate your unique efforts at participation in the world they live in.

Follow me on Twitter: @RonRicciCisco

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Free Blanchard Event – Manager’s Guide to the Emotional Workplace

August 14, 2012 at 7:50 am PST

“Life is not a straight line — there will always be ups and downs along the way.

“We cannot always sail on the crest of a wave. Situations do not always work out; our vision does not always become a reality and too often, we don’t come home with the gold, or even the bronze!” says Carol Spiers in Managing Pressure at Work: the Crying Games.

She goes on to offer six suggestions for finding ways to move on when the feelings are getting in the way at work. But what if you are the manager in this situation and you need to provide guidance to a member of your team? This webinar can help.

Register Now or after Aug 22, Watch On-Demand

A challenging economic cycle, increased expectations, and an accelerated pace are all combining to create an environment where managers need to be at their absolute best to successfully deal with the different issues that people bring to work. Providing feedback, dealing with conflict, and addressing performance issues are just some of the situations that can challenge even the most experienced managers.

In this webinar hosted by the Ken Blanchard Companies, Read More »

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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 »

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Extraordinary Teamwork When Teammates are Remote

July 19, 2012 at 9:33 am PST

I enjoy being part of a team. It’s great for generating ideas, getting support for my ideas, feeling like I am not alone and knowing I can get help if I get stuck. And then there’s the celebrating when we pull off a big project and get to share in the glory and excitement.

But these days, at least half my team members are somewhere else.

While I can walk down the hall to talk to some of my co-workers, I find I am on email or WebEx for others. Keeping everyone on track is my main goal. In this article on the Seven Habits of Extraordinary Teams, they confirm communication is an important ingredient:

Depending upon the goals and time frame, teams should meet at least once a week, and more often if necessary. More importantly, team communications must be tooled (or retooled if necessary) so that each team member understands what’s going on–and, perhaps more importantly, what is expected of him or her before the next meeting.

But it also cites the complimentary requirement that goes with good communication, sharing resources.

For a team to be successful, members must be willing to share whatever resources they control that are required for the team to achieve its goal.  These include physical resources (money, materials, office space, computers, etc.) as well as mental or emotional resources (like ideas, suggestions, encouragement, or enthusiasm). When team members hoard, teams are weakened–often to the point of total failure.

Read More »

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Evolution of Key Cisco Leadership Positions

Cisco’s long-standing belief has always been that companies need to evolve to drive forward and lead through market transitions.  The same is true for our executive talent.  Evolving our talent requires putting them in new roles, expanding their perspective and skill sets and bringing fresh ideas and energy to the business. This is what we’ve recently done with Edzard Overbeek’s new move from SVP of our Asia-Pacific-Japan region to head of our global Services business and Bruce Klein’s move from SVP of Public Sector Sales to the head of our Worldwide Partner Organization.

Over the past year, we have refocused our engineering organization for agility, better decision making, and a renewed focus on innovation.  The market share numbers speak for themselves and our customer confidence has never been stronger.  We have a strong leadership team and the business group leaders have demonstrated strong execution.  Now the time is right for us to drive the next phase of our organizational evolution.

With that, we are pleased to announce Padmasree Warrior will expand her role to become Cisco’s Chief Technology and Strategy Officer where she will be responsible for identifying customer and industry transitions and determining Cisco’s strategy to address them.  Padma will work closely with Cisco’s engineering, field, operations and services leadership, and will define strategy, investments, acquisitions and the evolution of Cisco’s technology partner ecosystem.   Additionally, Padma will be responsible for thought leadership around Cisco’s products and architectures, technical talent development and recruiting, and she will increase her time with external stakeholders.  The business group CTO’s will report dotted line to Padma to enable strong alignment between technology strategy, business strategy and M&A activity.  Over the past four years, Padma has established a tremendous track record of results, such as building Cisco’s strategy and execution around architectures, cloud, overall technology strategy framework, and attracting and developing industry leading technical talent.  We look forward to accelerating our market position under Padma’s strategic direction.

After 13 years of exceptional service to Cisco, Ned Hooper will be leaving the immediate Cisco family to form an independent investment partnership company and to pursue his goal to be a principal investor.  Ned has been working on his plan with us over a number of months, and we look forward to partnering with him in his new endeavor.  Ned has a unique passion and skill for investment and strategy, and will focus on this in the next phase of his career.   Ned pioneered the model for large-scale M&A at Cisco and drove significant transactions for the company such as Tandberg, WebEx, Airespace, Starent and NDS.  Additionally, he has managed our $2B investment portfolio with both strategic and financial returns to the company. Ned’s strategy and business development team will now report to Padma.  We would like to thank Ned for his contributions, leadership, friendship and his continual drive to always do the right thing for Cisco.

Finally, Pankaj Patel will assume the leadership of Cisco’s engineering organization.  Pankaj will drive innovation, operational excellence and agile development across our products, solutions and architectures, and continue to increase our relevance with our expanding customer base.  Pankaj’s deep customer relationships and extensive engineering expertise, combined with his ability to mentor and grow top engineering talent will serve Cisco well as we drive the next phase of engineering leadership for the company.  While you may be familiar with Pankaj’s service provider experience, he previously spent 16 years in the enterprise space.  Over the past 13 years, Pankaj developed and grew Cisco’s service provider business which today accounts for approximately 35% of Cisco’s direct product revenue. Pankaj’s leadership in key service provider areas such as core routing, edge routing, SP mobility and SP video has positioned Cisco extremely well for the future. Throughout his tenure Pankaj has delivered a significant number of products to the Cisco portfolio, addressing a wide range of customer needs.  Over the past year as the co-leader of engineering, Pankaj has increased his involvement in Cisco’s enterprise business, as the intersection points between service provider and enterprise come closer together.

As we stay focused on being the best Cisco for our customers, partners, investors and employees today, we never lose track of where we want to go in the future.  We are excited about this evolution in our organization. Please join us in congratulating Padma, Pankaj and Ned on the next phase of their respective journeys.

John Chambers and Gary Moore

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