I love my team, and if you work at Cisco you’re probably thinking, “Hey! I love my team too!” It’s not unusual to hear – because we have some of the best teams around! But my team is even more than a team — they’re my work tribe.

When you work day after day together toward the same goal, support one another both professionally and personally, and go through life together – you realize you’re more than just co-workers. The company you work for is super important, but your work tribe makes all the difference to your day-to-day fulfillment at work.

I’ve been on teams for as long as I can remember. I grew up playing sports with both individual and team based competition. I always preferred team sports. There is something incredibly rewarding in winning together, and in supporting each other towards a common goal – pushing each other to be better together. As I transitioned from team sports to team performance on the job, that “winning together” feeling got even stronger, because our goals are loftier and our team is doing things that have never been done before.

You may not realize how important teams are to your career success until you have a really good (or really bad) team. Luckily, I have been a part of supportive, and high functioning teams in every position I’ve held since college. Most of that is luck, but I think part is due to my focus on interviewing my team and team leader as they were interviewing me. Finding your perfect next position is three fold: the right company, the right role, on the right team.

Why is my team so awesome? Glad you asked. We study and learn from the best teams at Cisco, literally. We are Team Analytics and Research (TAR Squad) part of Leadership and Team Intelligence in Human Resources here at Cisco. We are responsible for Cisco’s Employee Listening Strategy to capture the voice and sentiment of employees, and deliver actionable intelligence to the Executive Leadership Team so that all team members at Cisco are heard.

We also live, breathe, and research our team and leadership curiosities. We learn from what the best teams do through research studies, and our leadership in TAR is able to implement these learnings in real time. Our best leaders at Cisco assign projects based on our strengths and passions, and they give us the resources and support to be successful in those projects. They are also highly attuned to the interpersonal nature of teams, giving us time to bond outside of work to build the safety and trust needed to innovate together. We are pushing the field of data-driven HR forward with our work – and we could not do that work without trusting one another.

The reason we do our work to make more teams like our best teams is so everyone has the opportunity to find his or her work tribe at Cisco. If you are searching for the next step, the next role, or a supportive team… here are some things to think about.

The right Company. Cisco is awesome. With great benefits, a fantastic mission, and a flexible work environment, but the truth is there are many great companies out there. Follow the ones in which you can see yourself thrive. Make sure to do your homework, and that there is ample room to grow your career wherever you are looking.

The right Role. I am very specialized in my skillset in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, so I was holding out for a role where I could use my technical skills in survey design, research design, and data science, and have the time and resources to continue to develop those skills.  I was open to positions in any large tech company that had a good reputation, and enough data to do really cool data-driven HR work. So I followed the companies on LinkedIn that fit that bill, and developed a keyword taxonomy for job postings with the description of my “dream job” and I had available opportunities sent directly to me. It took me two years of passive searching to find my current position posted. It seemed like the perfect combination of my skill set and passion, so I applied!

The right Team. As I interviewed for the role, I made certain to have interview questions of my own. I wanted to know about my prospective manager’s leadership style, and what great performance looked like in the role for which I was being considered. I wanted to know the vision for growth in TAR. I was relentless about asking questions about how the team was structured, and how workload was assigned.

When you find your tribe, make sure to be a good team member. TAR, like many teams, is made up of individuals with very different skillsets, and so we work very collaboratively (many of us in person) to complete large projects.  Support your teammates any way you can, after all, when they win, you win. Make sure you give credit where credit is due. If your tribe helps you get something done, give them the shout out. Our team is generous in this type of agile recognition, keeping the ideas and innovation freely flowing.

Every interaction with your team is either building or chipping away the safety and trust of your team. For innovation to happen we need to support one another in the wins, and especially in the losses. This is how we come together and form some of the best teams at Cisco, because we know there’s no “I” in Cisco – it’s all about the team.


Want to join one of the best teams? We’re hiring. Apply now.




Madison Beard

Data Scientist

Team Analytics and Research, Leadership and Team Intelligence - HR