Reprinted with permission of the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., from Out of Our Minds by Ken Robinson. Copyright (c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons. All rights reserved.
When John Chambers took over at CISCO Systems in 1995,the company had annual revenues of $1.2 billion. In fiscalyear 2009, they were estimated at $36 billion. Reflecting onthe growth of the company, and the challenges it now faces,he has had to rethink his own role as CEO. When he became CEO, Chambers thought of his leadershiprole with Cisco in three main ways: first, developinga vision and strategy of the company; second, building theteam to implement that strategy; and third, communicatingthe strategy within and beyond the company. After he hadbeen in the role for four or five years, he began to think differentlyabout his role as a leader. He began to focus especiallyon the company's culture. Great companies, he says, havegreat cultures. "A huge part of a leadership role is to drivethe culture of the company and to reinforce it." He has alsochanged his style of leadership away from command andcontrol to collaboration and teamwork. "It sounds easy todo, but it is hard, because you are trained that way in MBAschool, in law school. Around 80 to 90 percent of the job ishow we work together toward common goals, which requiresa different skill set."