The Future of Leadership

The Future of Leadership

The Future of Leadership
  The Future of Leadership 

This week marks an important milestone and a first in our company’s history. More than 8,000 of our leaders will be off line for a day to reset and get on the same page about what it means to be a leader at Cisco. In this new era of work, where everything is changing at an exponential pace, how we communicate, engage and show up to our teams has never been more important. At Cisco, we know our leaders play a crucial role and are accountable to both the business and their people. 
Over the years I have learned that creating a world class team doesn’t just happen. It takes time, it takes effort, and sometimes it feels incredibly hard, but it is the #1 job of a leader. We must develop both individuals and great teams to deliver on our customers’ needs AND create the kind of environment where people can do their best work. While we are all busy, and can get caught up in the to-dos and deadlines of the day, we know that making the investment in our leaders and enabling them to better lead their teams has a huge impact on how we drive our strategy and deliver amazing results for our partners, customers and shareholders. 

So, how do you engage thousands of leaders across the globe, in multiple time zones and at different points in their career journey? On September 28 we’ll use a follow-the-sun approach, beginning our day in Singapore and concluding in San Jose. Our leaders around the world will connect using Cisco’s own technology, located at in-person rooms across the world and virtually. They will learn more about themselves and each other as they tackle business, communication and leadership challenges. 

Why now?  

As the world around us changes, how we work and how we lead also must transform. When we started this journey, we focused first on the characteristics that make up the best teams:
  • Individuals on the best teams get to use their strengths every day     
  • They know that their teammates have their back, and there is safety and trust     
  • They share rituals about getting things done, have common goals and are surrounded by people who share similar values on how to win
And at the core of great teams are great leaders. We then asked ourselves, how can we take what we know about great teams and create better leadership at scale?  Leaders must evolve to more effectively lead today and in the future. With a global and diverse workforce, and four generations of workers at Cisco, our employees have greater expectations and want a differentiated experience. Leaders must be fluid, agile and enable their teams to innovate and contribute while connecting their work to the company’s vision and purpose. And, while creating a culture of accountability with clear expectations and outcomes is important, we encourage every leader to use their own authentic style to help their teams get there.
Our Leader Day is not an event, but rather part of a journey that we’re committed to for the success of our customers, our people and our business. Leading is about constant learning and this is our next step in that journey  ̶  resetting expectations and engaging with all leaders.  Whe­­n you’re a leader, you cannot opt out of leading. So on September 29, our goal is that Cisco leaders will know exactly what they need to do to take their next steps with their teams and what the future of leadership will look like at Cisco.    I’m looking forward to interacting with our leadership team from around the world and I will share more about what we learn. In this brand new era of work, it’s an incredible time to be a leader!

Francine Katsoudas is Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer of Cisco. As the leader of Cisco’s People Strategy and Human Resources Organization, Katsoudas is helping to accelerate Cisco’s transformation through leadership, attracting and retaining the best talent and building a culture of innovation. A major priority for Katsoudas is focusing on how Cisco wins in the talent marketplace while creating a compelling employee experience. Katsoudas is focused on delivering ground breaking HR solutions, analytics and new talent models, while also fostering a culture of full spectrum participation, emphasizing inclusion and collaboration to drive exponential business value. 
A 24-year veteran of Cisco, Katsoudas has extensive experience leading organizational transformations, driving large scale growth, talent acquisition, leadership development, and succession planning. Prior to her current role, she was the HR leader and business partner to the Engineering leadership team helping oversee its workforce of more than 25,000 people. She has also held leadership positions in the Service Provider, HR Operations, Customer Service, Acquisition Integration and Services groups.  Prior to Cisco, Katsoudas worked in both the financial and professional services industries with a focus on customer service and operations

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