I just finished reading Doing Both: How Cisco Captures Today’s Profit and Drives Tomorrow’s Growth by Inder Sidhu, Sr. Vice President, Strategy and Planning with Cisco.
As a long time channel partner of Cisco, Doing Both gave some fascinating insight into Cisco’s vision, strategy and execution. In a clear and concise way, Inder not only covered Cisco but also gave brief stories of other companies and their challenges, failures and successes, including Disney, Google, IBM, BYD, Whirpool, Harley Davidson and several others. Inder’s ability to interweave these stories throughout the text made for an easy and interesting read.
While simple in concept, “doing both” is very difficult in executing. The dozen or so examples gave straightforward insight to various approaches that Cisco has taken to create the organizational constructs, from command and control to committees as well as the enabling processes and technology. Knowing Cisco the way I do, I believe Inder understates the importance of Cisco’s culture of accountability and execution in its ability to “do both.” It was great to see World Wide Technology referenced in the book. On page 93, our CEO Jim Kavanaugh comments on Cisco’s leadership and their ability to listen and adapt, “they have figured out ways to get in to growth markets and take advantage of opportunities in good times and bad,” said Kavanaugh. In doing so, the relationship between WWT grew and flourished and our Cisco sales tipped nearly $1.7 billion this past year.
Doing Both is one of the best business books I’ve read in a while. I would particularly recommend it as an important read for anyone who works closely with Cisco.