How Cisco decides which market sectors to pursue

Cisco CEO John Chambers is no longer the command-and-control leader he once was as it is Cisco's

many boards and councils that decide where the company channels its development dollars, according to a wide-ranging interview with Chambers in the Harvard Business Review. Chambers admits that at first, it was difficult for him to learn to be collaborative but he believes that leading through collaboration means that workers are much more motivated to execute with speed and commitment. Chambers also tells the journal that he doesn't let Cisco's boards or councils start an initiative unless they can show him that Cisco could become No. 1 or 2 in the market category.

Councils focus on $10 billion opportunities, boards work on $1 billion opportunities, and working groups "are formed for more tactical initiatives related to a board or council," according to the Q&A.

Each business plan must answer three questions about vision, strategies for sustainable differentiation and plans for execution over the next 12 to 18 months. The compenstation for many of Cisco's top leaders is based more on their sucessess within their councils than on individual performance, says Chambers in the Q&A.

Read the full article here, and click below for HBR's video interview with Chambers.

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