thomas edison

thomas edison

John Chambers on Failing Like Edison

1d ago
SOURCE  

Description

John Chambers, Cisco Executive Chairman and 2016 Edison Achievement Award winner shares his thoughts on what it means to fail like Thomas Edison. INTERVIEWER: Dave Brenner Edison Awards Steering Committee Member and Activation Manager, Global Brand Solutions, Google [00:00:06]  Cisco has innovated in so many different ways over the years and I'm just curious what has been a source of inspiration for you personally to push an organization to achieve such heights? HONOREE: John Chambers 2016 Edison Achievement Award Winner and Executive Chairman, Cisco Systems, Inc. [00:00:13]  I think there are a number of them. First, this might surprise you, I didn't particularly love technology in school. It was when I joined IBM after school that I realized that what I loved about technology is how it changes business process, and over time, here at Cisco, how it can change the whole world. In terms of inspiration, as basic as this sounds, it is the guiding principles for our company. Our inspiration is not to compete against competitors, but to compete about market transitions, either technology changes, such as the role of the internet or stuff moving into the cloud or mobility or new business models, etc. Within that, the source of inspiration is our customers, because you listen to your customers and what do they want you to do? What are their needs and aspirations, and how our technology based on those market transitions can make it happen? And then, different than others, we give ourselves audacious goals that even Edison might have been proud of. We set a goal of being #1 and #2 in everything we do, and we've gone across eighteen major product families, where 1 and 2 and 16 of them usually had 40% plus market share. It is the courage to set those goals, and then to say what are you going to do differently to accomplish those goals. And a common theme that you see in Edison all of the time, is a willingness to fail; just fail fast and have the courage to learn from it and move on.  [00:01:35]  Sources of inspiration? My parents. My dad was an unbelievably effective doctor, but in combined schools together and major medical facilities together. But he was really a very good visionary. He could play things out five or ten or fifteen years out and say, "here’s how it's going to evolve." He taught me to look at always making the decision on how things will look five to ten or fifteen years out. Not getting tied up, using a doctor’s terms, in the symptoms in treating the symptoms. My mom taught me the emotional side. How do you read people? How do you connect? How trust is perhaps one of the most important things that you do. So . . . two sources of inspiration---my mom and my dad, and then Cami, my wife. She's been my high school sweetheart, and she is amazing in terms of motivating me. And if I get a little too confident, bring me down to earth-- abruptly. Or if I need a pat on the back or butt, she will do that to keep me focused. INTERVIEWER: Clint Robinson Edison Awards Steering Committee Member and Associate Vice President, Black & Veatch Corporation [00:02:28] That's great. We will interview her next. John Chambers [00:02:29] Yes, that can be kind of exciting!