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Extraordinary Teamwork When Teammates are Remote

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.

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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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Edzard Overbeek Appointed Head of Cisco Services

As Cisco continues to grow, there will naturally be management changes across the business—this gives us a real opportunity to empower smart, collaborative people with diverse skill sets to lead us into the next phase for the company.

Cisco’s leadership bench today already has such a breadth and depth of these capabilities that we remain focused on our internal talent pool to fill leadership roles as they become available.

Effective at the start of fiscal year 2013, Edzard Overbeek, SVP, Asia Pacific, Japan, and Greater China (APJC), will lead Cisco’s Global Services business from San Jose, CA, reporting directly to me.

I will continue to oversee the Services business until Edzard assumes his new role at the start of the fiscal year, and then I will focus full time on leading the daily operations of the company and aggressively driving our transformation.

Edzard has 12 years of demonstrated success at Cisco in geographic sales and channel leadership roles, most recently as the leader for our business in Asia and co-chair of the Emerging Countries Council, where he successfully drove adoption of new business models for the company. His background is ideally suited in the areas where we expect growth for the Services business.

The current services leadership team — Ed Baum, Nick Earle, Joe Pinto, Sameer Padhye and Parvesh Sethi—will report directly to Edzard once he assumes his new role.

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Making Culture More than a Nice Word

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 »

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Arriving Soon in San Francisco – Meeting of the Minds 2012

Smarter and more connected communities – that’s not just a pretty vision, far off into the future. They are being built now, often on the basis of a renewed and intelligent city infrastructure. These communities have numerous advantages over other cities. Some of the most successful ones are approaching their development in ways that change how they deliver services to residents, how those residents work, how traffic flows are managed, how public transportation operates, and how real estate resources are best utilized.

We want those attending Meeting of the Minds 2012 in San Francisco in October as well as those watching via webcast, to build a world where everything is connected, intelligent, and green: from office buildings and appliances to hospitals and schools. Citizens will play a central role in that new world, working together with business and government and achieving unprecedented levels of collaboration, productivity, and economic growth. And it can all happen without compromising the integrity of our natural systems or our fragile environmental quality. Read More »

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