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My Keys for Success: What We Can Learn From the Way of the Valley

Source | LinkedIn : By John Chambers

Silicon Valley is known as the world’s biggest hub for innovation. From businesses in their infancy, to household names, to some of our nation’s best universities and government leaders, all have played a role in propelling ideas forward by moving quickly and never shying away from hurdles – this is the way of the Valley. It is defined by an entrepreneurial culture that encourages people to think differently. The Internet and connectivity have paved the way for innovation hubs like this to pop up across the U.S., India, France, the UK, China, and so on. For them to flourish and be successful, I believe they should look to the Valley as an example and consider the following concepts to help them drive innovation.

1. Make culture your competitive advantage.

According to a Deloitte study, 86 percent of leaders consider culture to be one of the top challenges they face, with only 12 percent believing they’ve even established the “right” culture.[1] I believe culture is the fabric of every organization and truly one of the most critical key to success – this is something I realized only after being CEO for several years. As I mentioned in a previous post on #MyIndustry, the most effective companies in the Valley have cultures centered on disruption. Companies must make this an integral part of their DNA in order to stay ahead of their peers, set themselves apart and demonstrate their competitive advantage. Leaders can foster this culture from the inside-out by supporting employees as they lean into challenges and by encouraging new ideas.

2. Create an ecosystem that sources innovation internally and externally.

In a world where everything is connected, no one company can do everything on its own. It’s important to create a network of internal and external partners that you trust – including customers, startups, mentors and peers – to source ideas, co-innovate and execute together. I’ve been fortunate to have mentors and partners of all types – from young leaders of startups to seasoned statesmen – who have helped me to think differently, each offering their own expertise. By drawing on different perspectives, we can leverage each other’s strengths to compete more effectively against new challengers and business models. Another crucial source for innovation is created when industry and government work together. This is happening in France, India, the UK, Israel, Germany, and others around digitization initiatives, which are driving innovation, growth and jobs of the future. By looking beyond our walls and creating an ecosystem for innovation, we can achieve more at a greater scale and speed.

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