At Cisco, we have over 73,000 employees, spread across 490 offices in over 190 countries. We work in local, regional, and global teams. For our teams to be successful, it is critical that we connect with one another. To connect, we must create an environment where trusted relationships can be grown and maintained easily and effectively.

How do you, in your life build deep trust-based relationships with the important people in your life? For me, my family relationships are my most important ones. Going for a 40 minute walk on the beach with my wife Rachel, where we can focus on one another and share the days experiences, really works well. When my kids were little, what worked best was playing a board game or reading a book together at bedtime.  As they grew older, what worked best were joint activities, music or shared hobbies where we would sit together, relax, talk and connect.

At Cisco, often the best joint activity is getting together for lunch, or if after work hours, at a nearby pub for a beer, where we can sit and really connect. Once we connect and build those strong bonds, our team can tackle almost any project that management throws our way!!

The challenge I face both in my personal life, and at Cisco, is building and maintaining relationships with people who are geographically distant, often multiple time zones away – with whom having lunch together or grabbing a beer after work is simply not an option.

Scientific academic studies actually prove that only 7% of communication is words.  Whereas 38% of communication is tone of voice, and 55% is body language. Which means that over 90% of our communication is nonverbal. In practical terms, if you send someone a 200-word email, they are in actuality missing 93% of your message. I find that powerful and truly amazing!

In my personal life, I am now a granddad to two delicious granddaughters. I only get to see them about once a week, so in-between visits we have amazing video calls where we sing their favorite songs, or simply act silly together… video is wonderful at keeping the relationship fresh and real! After all, connecting is about conveying emotion through tone of voice and body language, and with a two year old, there is nothing more fun than a video call!  The same is applicable though to any relationship. After all, relationships are emotional things, so especially when distant, communications must include the ability to convey emotions that clearly cannot be done via email.

Cisco’s leadership understands the value of video and that communication is so much more than email. As such, Cisco’s leadership has directed Cisco IT to create an environment where all employees can effectively and easily connect and communicate across geographies using High Definition (HD) video everywhere!

Cisco IT has successfully met the challenge. In Cisco today, every phone call we make from any device is a video call. Whether from the office desk phone, or from Webex Teams video on the smartphone and laptop. From MX conference room systems to immersive Telepresence rooms, every Cisco call is a simple to use High Definition 1080p or 4k video call, by default.

To succeed as individuals, teams, or as a company, we must grow and maintain our interpersonal relationships. To do so, we need to connect with one another, physically and emotionally. The only way to do that in a globally dispersed workplace is with simple and very easy to use HD video solutions. In Cisco, it is how we collaborate every day. Video is not a ‘nice to have’ any longer, but a critical necessity for us to be successful.

Excuse me now, while I go video call my granddaughters.