New York Times’ “Corner Office”: Cisco’s John Chambers

August 4, 2009 - 0 Comments

Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers was featured in this weekend’s “Corner Office” series by The New York Times. To be fair, Chambers doesn’t have a corner office. His office is the same as any other office at Cisco…really a cube with some doors. However, we thought it was still worth it for John to spend some time with the Times’ Adam Bryant and talk about leadership, collaborative management and learning from the school of hard-knocks. A few questions that Chambers answers:Q. What are the most important leadership lessons you’ve learned?Q. How has your leadership style evolved over time?Q. How do you hire? and more…My favorite passage from the Q&A:

” I learned another lesson from Jack Welch. It was in 1998, and at that time we were one of the most valuable companies in the world. I said, “Jack, what does it take to have a great company?” And he said, “It takes major setbacks and overcoming those.”I hesitated for a minute, and I said, “Well, we did that in ’93 and then we did it again in ’97 with the Asian financial crisis.” And he said, “No, John. I mean a near-death experience.” I didn’t understand exactly what he meant.Then, in 2001, we had a near-death experience. We went from the most valuable company in the world to a company where they questioned the leadership. And in 2003, he called me up and said, “John, you now have a great company.” I said, “Jack, it doesn’t feel like it.” But he was right.”

Read the full article here.

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