Recently, our Leadership and Sales teams gathered virtually to kick off our fiscal year: gain new knowledge about Cisco’s newest innovative solutions, and to get PUMPED about the opportunities that lie ahead.

While the topics covered ranged from our conscious culture to the ways we will drive innovation for our Small Business customers, there were some key lessons and outcomes that stayed with me.

I find myself anchoring on these simple learnings as we enter some challenging and uncertain times in our world in the months ahead.

Doing the Next Right Thing

Threaded throughout our two-day session was the need to do “the next right thing”. Chuck Robbins and Gerri Elliott set this tone in our keynote session, asking us to think about the next right thing for our customers – our partners – stakeholders – and even ourselves.

Doing the next right thing embodies three key mindsets:

  1. Technology’s transformational journey is more important than ever before
  2. Innovation is helping customers build the next normal
  3. Your company’s values and purpose are just as important as our innovation

When you show up for your customers, you leave an imprint of our core values as an organization that provides support first and foremost.

Determine Boldness

We also took incredible inspiration away from our Americas session, led by Jeff Sharritts, Senior Vice President, Americas. Jeff set the bar by focusing the teams on the future – and the fact that we need to innovate with intensity. We need to “move fast to be productive”, and while we transition our customers to a Cloud-fast world, simplicity and security will be at the forefront of our transformation.

We have had to adapt to exponential changes in the market, as have our customers.

In times of crisis, customers turn to those companies that they trust.

Power of Sales and Marketing

During our marketing sessions, we saw two examples of CIO customers who needed to adopt new technologies and new innovations in light of the global pandemic. While the negative macro trends are affecting customer spend, we are seeing customers migrate to the Cloud in rapid form. And from that migration, some companies are looking to provide workforce continuity, while others are emphasizing their security as their main care about.

We need to focus on finding customer connections based on needs at certain points and show up at the right time in the right channels. And, it is more critical than ever to provide more than technology and embed support into everything we do.

Transform short-term thinking into a long-term strategy

We were honored and thrilled to have a guest appearance from best-selling professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host, Brené Brown. Brown spoke specifically and directly about the global pandemic and referred to it as something that can’t be looked at as a short-term crisis that we can just ‘clean up from’. Giving it to us straight: we need to stop crisis reaction and get strategic.

We have all formed new habits, and our customers are forming new habits as well. And what we need – is leadership. While leaders can’t and don’t have all the answers, we need to ask – what is the future of leadership? Who will lead in 25 years? For me, that inspires strategies of being braver and practicing more risk-taking behavior.

As a champion of courage, Brené shared that true courage is the willingness to show up when you don’t know the outcome, and choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy.

Claiming Your Well Being 

As we head into what many are coining the ‘second wave’ of the COVID-19 crisis, we need to ensure our own self-awareness and health. Biba Binotti and Jessie Pavelka led the team in a session focused on how to empower yourself in order to show up for your company and customers. First, create a space for yourself instead of always being labeled an employee/wife/father/etc. You can deepen that by creating a space for others – and connecting to others. Make sure to truly embrace vulnerability and restate your purpose. Others are embracing the concept of purpose and service – and ensuring they roll up to something bigger than themselves.

Focus on acceptance and appreciation. Your customers need you.
In an effort to moving forward to something better, we can only do this when you prioritize yourself.

While we all need to adopt a survivor’s mentality for long term recovery, 2020 will eventually be a chapter of learning and growth. While optimism will help your physical health and mental health, post-traumatic growth can only influence what we can learn – and how you can grow today.

While we support our customers in the future of work, we will bring technology to life and commit to our customers and inspire partners’ profitability. And we will seek balance, reflection, and focus for ourselves while we strive to do – the next right thing.