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How Cisco Took Me Where No One Has Gone Before

When I first facilitateda meeting using video conferencing, I thought I was high tech. I thought thesame when I made my first call to Europe using video Skype. When I saw themovie Avatar, I thought nothing could get more 3-D. until I experienced CiscoTelePresence®.

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When I first facilitateda meeting using video conferencing, I thought I was high tech. I thought thesame when I made my first call to Europe using video Skype. When I saw themovie Avatar, I thought nothing could get more 3-D. until I experienced CiscoTelePresence®.

Cisco began andcontinues to be one of the most innovative companies in the world, not only forit’s technology but for it’s workplace culture. I recently got to experience themiraculous technology of Cisco TelePesence® first-hand, when I met with MarilynNagel, Chief Diversity Officer at Cisco and Ken Lotich from the public relationsteam, at Cisco headquarters in San Jose, California. Randall Lane, Senior Managerof Global Inclusion & Diversity sat at our table, but he was actually over 800miles away in Seattle, Washington.

This was a true exampleof “reach out and touch,” without touch. For those of you who have not seen CiscoTelePresence®, imagine being one of the flying objects in the movie Avatar. You’renot exactly in the movie, but you might as well be, and instead of a flyingobject and an Avatar, you’re sitting across the table, or next to someone who’sacross the world.

Cisco has developed thistechnology that lets you connect with customers, colleagues and suppliersanywhere in the world. The way that it integrates audio, ultra-high-definitionvideo, and other advanced technology makes people 6,000 miles away from eachother, feel as if they are in the same room.

To me, as a globalconsultant, this elevates global business and relationships to a “whole ‘notherlevel.” (As Keenan Michael-Key on Mad TV would say)

I knew I needed to learnmore about the type of Cisco culture that could birth this breakthroughtechnology, and at the same time consistently be named one of the best placesto work by Working Mother, Diversity Best Practices, Computerworld, and FortuneMagazine.

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Marilyn Nagel, ChiefDiversity Officer at Cisco, explained that Cisco TelePresence®, was inalignment with the Cisco culture of high touch, high tech and inclusion.

“We are an internationalorganization, and believe that we are more creative when we share ideas andinteract, than when we are not working in silos. The use of Telepresence®allows us to hold “in person meetings,” without travel. Employees build trustmore quickly with visual cues, which reduces cycle time, and preventsmiscommunication. They can spend more time sharing resources and information,which results in more creativity and innovation.”

When I speak at nationalconferences or facilitate workshops with employees who interact with each otherover the phone but never see each other, there is a common theme that they arealways so glad to finally see what the other person looks like. Often, it istoo easy to make assumptions about other people when you don’t see them, whichcan impact working relationships.

Based on the hundreds oforganizations, and thousands of people I’ve worked with, I’ve found that mostpeople want to feel part of a community while they are at work. Employees thatwork in organizations that have community cultures tend to be more engaged, feelless isolated and less stressed which means they can be more successful.

With its organizationalculture and values. and development and use of TelePresence, Cisco exemplifiesthe kind of leadership that a dynamic organization needs to keep growing,learning and transforming.

While TelePresence®, is definitelybreakthrough, I know that at some point, more organizations will develop similartechnologies, and Cisco TelePresence®, will not be the only game in town, butwith it’s breakthrough leadership and talent, I can only wonder what’s next.

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