We’re at the top of our fifth month in 2015 and I hope you’re finding yourself on target to meet your 2015 career and certification goals. Today I wanna shift gears and talk about leadership – not in the traditional sense of being a leader, but in a career sense of having great leadership.
Over the past 5+ years blogging for Cisco, I’ve shared reasons why people choose, stay with or leave companies …management, salary, security, schedule, family, interest, growth, other compensation, etc. Of these, managers and leaders make a difference in the company you work for, market impact and your job satisfaction. They can have a huge influence not only in your career, but your lifestyle, culture, viewpoints, etc.
We know that not all managers are leaders, but in my opinion they should be. As I’ve grown my network in Asia, I’ve been disappointed in the number of strong, influential leaders I’ve come across. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they’re non-existent; I’m just saying I haven’t encountered many.
During my tenure at Cisco, I was blessed by having an inspiring and influential leader, John Chambers. Every leader, whether it be in politics, corporate, sports, etc. is likely to be loved or bashed by others – that’s just the nature of the role, but if they are effective they will make a difference that cannot be contested by anyone. My life is different and better because of John’s vision for the company and I’d like to share the impact/influence he had over my professional, personal and philanthropic pursuits.
As a seasoned sales, IT and engineering professional entering Cisco, I thought I knew it all. I mean it… I thought I really did. I was floored and humbled immediately. I remember the first time hearing John present at a company all hands; I was mesmerized. Time and time again, year after year I would walk out of meetings feeling empowered, challenged and motivated. John had a way of rallying the troops and engaging the team like no other leader I had seen before.
John cared about his people and as he faced tough decisions, it still showed he cared, but what touched me the most was John’s vision for making Cisco best known for giving back. Since my father set the stage for giving back, it was already in my DNA, but with Cisco behind John’s vision; I was able to build something life changing. Over the years I gathered over 2000 Cisco recent college graduates and interns to attend and participate in volunteering events across 4 US campuses. The network I led still exists today internally, but the real achievement was expanding.
The network I built, sharing John’s vision, today has over 7000 members and is a California 501(c)(3). We’ve helped numerous causes, local charities and even other countries. Many initiatives spun-off from this network. What I found most beautiful, was that as I recruited more new hires into the network and got them to volunteer, they became more passionate about making a difference.
John’s philanthropic vision was one area I’m thankful, but there was more to him. John is charismatic, a good business leader, open, personable and direct. He built a culture where people felt empowered to take chances, make mistakes, learn and at the end drive results. I’m fortunate to have received so much sales, presentation, management and other trainings. I constantly see a difference in any situation because of the skills I have gained over time.
Change is here and at a 5 year high, Cisco is in good hands with Chuck. I truly admire John for his skills and passions. I will always remember him for who he challenged us to be and for what I’ve made of myself. I wish John lifelong success and welcome Chuck as he leads the company onwards and upwards.
Who are the business leaders who have made a significant change in your life? How does the right leadership make you feel about your company? What are things your management team does will or doesn’t do well? If you could change one thing about your leaders, what would it be? As always, I can’t wait to hear from you!