John Chambers joined Cisco in 1991, it had 400 employees and $70 million in revenues, when he left in 2015 after 20 years of being CEO, the company had $47 billion in revenues and Cisco is the backbone of the internet. Along the way, Cisco acquired 180 companies and beat out its competitors. How did he do it and can you learn something from Mr. Chambers? The answer to learning is yes and reading his book Connecting the Dots by Hachette books, NY, 2018 will help.
The easiest thing to do is managing a company when things are going well, the hardest but most important is how does the decision maker handle a crisis, either personal or company related? One of the biggest mistakes that all of us make is we personalize every crisis.
The first thing to do in a crisis is stay calm and investigate what is really going on. If you stay calm, then others will tend to be calm.
The next thing is stay close to your customers. If you have been trying to build a trusting and transparent relationship, then the people who pay the bills need to be kept informed what you are doing. One it is good to talk to your customers because they need to hear from you. They need to hear you can still serve their needs. Even if you can not share much information, do not disappear.
One of the biggest mistakes is to equate an external crisis with internal problems. In one crisis, once they understood the scope and cause of the crisis, swift and painful action to survive was taken. What was not done was to change the basic strategy for building out the business and internet. In every crisis, you have to examine how much was self-inflicted and how much is due to external issues.
It is how you handle the setbacks that determines who you are, even more than your successes.
Linking to dividend paying stocks, we look for the best in investing – higher profits to translate into dividend and increase in total assets. However, all companies suffer downturns and crisis, how did you company handle it?
There are more questions than answers, till the next time – to raising questions.