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Come Behind the Scenes of Tech Pioneer Cisco, Part 2



Acquiring does not mean we kill the people, process and technology of the company that is joining Cisco. Actually, we try to understand it and often focus on scaling it through our "Go-to-Market" strategy. We can create synergy and scale if we understand each company and how they operate around "People, Process and Technology."

Around the Horn

In all of these executive exclusives, we try and end with a fun "around the horn" session. A couple of quick questions I had (answer in one or two sentences):

  1. Prior to Cisco, you were at Pepsi Cola International. How did you make the transition from a consumer company to Cisco?

Easy. Both companies focused on the customer. I received my training at IBM (IBM) and then went to Pepsi (PEP) to understand the challenges of being a customer. I believe Pepsi taught me how technology can be a differentiator and an enabler for customers.

  1. You work with a lot of high-profile professionals across government and other public and state entities. How does Pat Finn preserve his sanity while dealing with such high-caliber individuals?

Keep it real. The greatest people keep a perspective on things and don't take themselves too seriously. I laugh at myself and see the humor in every situation. I never get lost in a title or a position or a job. I practice being authentic.

  1. Long-time, legendary Cisco CEO John Chambers -- what are the three things you have learned from him?

I've learned to ask good questions, be prepared and be approachable by perfecting the art of listening.

  1. You were very much part of the Sept. 11, 2011 events, leading a team to support New York City customers who were affected. How did you inspire your team at the time to help in the wake of this event?

Sad days...I don't tend to talk about those days. There were many great leaders involved in Cisco's response at that time and I was honored to be a member of the team. A very important secret about inspiration: Leaders are inspired by the people around them. If you were aware of what some amazing people accomplished during that time, you would know that they inspired me and they still do every day. Ingrained in Cisco's culture is giving back not just in times of turmoil but every day.

  1. You are highly committed to a great not-for-profit called Inwood House. How have you sought to inspire the teens you are in contact with, and what are your broad observations on the next generation of potential leaders?

Through my work with Inwood House, STEM, U.S. military and through students I have interacted with, I believe our country is in good hands with the next generation of young men and women. I see a group of motivated, high-energy, articulate, focused, committed, loyal and smart men and women who are not being defined by where they are at today, but where they are going.

I am proud of what organizations, such as Inwood House, are doing to give inner city youth a chance for a complete education in the 21st century and give them a shot at success by providing a foundation. If you thanked a young man or woman in uniform for their service to our freedom and our country, you will see that foundation that I am talking about.

-- By Brian Sozzi CEO of Belus Capital Advisors, analyst to TheStreet.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

At the time of publication, Sozzi held no position in the stocks mentioned.
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