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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Social revolution at Cisco ignited by CEO John Chambers

9:11:00 AM Posted by Oscar Berg No comments
You should read this article in Fast Company by Ellen McGirt. She has inverviewed Cisco's CEO John Chambers about his radical transformation of Cisco from a command and control organization to a consensus-driven organization that aims to become more profitable by distributing the power to the people. Some excepts:
Today, a network of councils and boards empowered to launch new businesses, plus an evolving set of Web 2.0 gizmos -- not to mention a new financial incentive system -- encourage executives to work together like never before.

The bumpy part -- and the eye-opener -- is that the leaders of business units formerly competing for power and resources now share responsibility for one another's success. What used to be "me" is now "we." The goal is to get more products to market faster, and Chambers crows at the results. "The boards and councils have been able to innovate with tremendous speed. Fifteen minutes and one week to get a [business] plan that used to take six months!" As storm clouds form for the rest of the business community, he says, "We're going to gain market share." Rain? What rain?

Cisco, Chambers argues, is the best possible model for how a large, global business can operate: as a distributed idea engine where leadership emerges organically, unfettered by a central command.

Power to the people -- and profits to the company -- is a bold tech promise we've heard before. If Chambers can pull it off, if he can prove that his model drives innovation at a market-beating pace, he will replace his pal Jack Welch as the most influential leadership guru of the modern era.

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