Friday, January 9, 2009

New Cisco ...

Happy New Year ... Here i am back to blogging. And i thought it might be cool to blog about an artile which is quite interesting ... about how John Chambers is turning Cisco socialist ... no, dont get too carried away by the topic. What comes as socialism seems to be more of democratization. In a nutshell, what we are talking about is the way John Chambers is getting Cisco into a struture where ideas, and delivery on these ideas happens at various levels and geographies in the organization. What seems like the logical next step from web 2.0 technologies, the form of enterprise 2.0 seems to be taking shape at Cisco, is what one would gather from this article.

There are a few thoughts that come out ...

distributed idea engine where leadership emerges organically, unfettered by a central command

The logical next step from the initial idea of e 2.0 ... though the point to see here is that the way, and the level to which this can be distributed depends on the level to which the central command is ready to relinquish authority. And this is the question which is either being asked, or will be asked in most organizations as web 2.0 proceeds.

"We want a culture where it is unacceptable not to share what you know," he says. So he promotes all kinds of social networking at Cisco: You can write a blog, upload a video, and tag your myriad strengths in the Facebook-style internal directory.

This is the important part ... the atmosphere where people believe that its desirable to actually share what you know. Without this, any kind of organization structure, or any kinds of web 2.0 tools would fall flat, not delivering on their possibilities. And this can actually be facilitated quite simply ... by turning people into contributors. By keeping in mind that everybody at every level of the organization has some form of expertise and knowledge which can be leveraged by the organization.

Chambers is convinced that the role of the CEO has to morph. He recalls a lesson he learned working for An Wang of Wang Laboratories, whom he has often called one of the smartest people he's ever known: "One person cannot anticipate a market transition.

And this is the key. Assumption has been in most organizations that there are a set of people who have the know-how which can be leveraged to drive innovation, and to take advantage of opportunities that evolving markets present. This is the assumption which is being questioned more and more by organizations, and this is the kind of thought process which would bring up ideas ... maybe not all ideas radical, but definitely, can bring up ideas which are in synch with the market, as well as bring up ideas which can drive the new ideas to delivery. What John Chambers also comes up with is interesting ... that the key is that the CEO, and the leadership of the organization has to morph. Most management consultants would tell us that managers should be coaches, but this is easier said than done, and misses the point that the leadership has to simply provide direction, and develop an atmosphere where people can actively contribute to the development of the company, if for no other reason, then simply because this development signals their development as individuals as well as employees in the organization.

3 comments:

Anjali said...

Atul today the situation is different . In the era of cost curbing this is seen as a luxury. We will soon see some monarchy I guess.

Atul said...

thats the usual reaction, Anjali. thing is, not too many companies realize that this is probably the best opportunity to shake up the company. small example ... trainings get cut during situation like this, but i would say that if cash position permits, this is probably the best opportunity to enhance the skills base of the employees. what do you think?

Anjali said...

Yeah...true best time to do anything if you have the cash in hand Atul!

Sharing the knowledge one has and never had the time to do it before. Instead people are not so altruistic. They go into their shells...so do companies...very human :)