What Leaders Are Saying
Doing Both shows how Cisco turns business questions into market answers, offering real-life examples that will benefit forward-looking leaders.
— Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO, GE
The best business books build around a single idea, often contrarian and counterintuitive. Everyone knows you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. One of the first things you learn at business school is that management is about making difficult choices. Well, not always. This book persuades the reader that in decision making ‘and’ is often better than ‘or.’ Well worth the read.
— Sir Terry Leahy, CEO, Tesco
Companies are often confronted with false choices, such as disruptive or sustaining innovation and optimization or reinvention. This book draws on Cisco’s impressive track record over the last decade to illustrate that the correct strategy is always to do both.
— Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Group
I have a very short personal list of ‘most-admired companies,’ and Cisco is one of them. Its management team has figured out how to break many ‘either-or’ tradeoffs that limit most companies’ abilities to innovate and grow. This book is a lucid, cogent chronicle of how they do this. Your entire management team should read it.
— Clayton Christensen, Robert & Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration,
Harvard Business School, and author, The Innovator’s Dilemma
Insightful recommendations from a key executive within Cisco, the game-changing leader in networking for the Internet.
— Garth Saloner, Philip H. Knight Professor, and Dean,
Graduate School of Business, Stanford University
Doing Both brings together many powerful lessons behind the story of Cisco, a company with a long record of delivering consistent innovation and strong business results. I encourage senior executives to embrace the challenges presented in this thoughtful book.
— Dominic Barton, Global Managing Director, McKinsey & Company
Doing Both simply amazed me. Sidhu, with graceful and clear writing, freshly imagines how successful enterprises—all enterprises—will not just survive but will flourish and prosper. Throwing away the trite and false dichotomies that too often paralyze and weaken organizations, this book, more than any other I’ve read in years, will be the most useful for this and future decades. This book is beyond a ‘must-read.’ It will be a necessity for all leaders to succeed in these tumultuous times.
— Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business, University of Southern California, and author, On Becoming a Leader and Still Surprised: A Memoir of a Life in Leadership
In clear and graceful prose, Inder Sidhu provides practical lessons by describing the execution and innovation strategies that have made Cisco a worldwide leader. Definitely a book I would recommend.
— Laura Tyson, S.K. and Angela Chan Professor of Global Management,
Haas School of Business, University of California-Berkeley, and Former Dean,
London Business School and Haas School of Business
Cisco is one of the world’s most admired companies—and for good reason. Inder Sidhu reveals how Cisco drives profits and increases innovation, and provides readers with the pivotal insights that are necessary to do both.
— Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, salesforce.com
A remarkable view of how one of the truly great companies of our time has consistently proven its ability to sustain and innovate, Doing Both is both an inspiring tale of triumph and a practical guidebook for leaders seeking answers to challenging questions about how to move their businesses forward in this new world. A must-read.
— Ram Charan, Business Advisor and best-selling author
Great management is about transcending trade-offs, about ‘turning either/or’ into ‘both/and.’ In this timely and insightful book, Inder Sidhu takes you inside one of the world’s most successful companies and shows you what it takes to be both disciplined and creative, highly optimized and perpetually inventive, tight and loose. This is a practical and valuable read for any leader who is eager to escape the limits of management-as-usual.
— Gary Hamel, Visiting Professor at London Business School, Director of the Management Lab, and author, The Future of Management
Storytelling is central to all great firms, enabling the culture to carry forward its past and communicate its future. Cisco is no exception. It has wonderful tales to tell, and in Inder Sidhu we get a narrator who has the added advantage of having been an insider for much of the company’s meteoric success. The result is both insightful and entertaining, and I encourage you to read this book.
— Geoffrey Moore, author, Crossing the Chasm and Dealing with Darwin
On the one hand, great companies know where they want to add value a decade from now and the investment needed to get there. On the other hand, investors want proof that the management team can execute today. ‘Doing both’ means establishing investor credibility in the short term so long term goals can be pursued. Sidhu shows how Cisco is doing just that.
— Gary Reiner, CIO, GE
Doing Both provides a simple and succinct set of strategies for the 21st century, using Cisco as an example of a company that has benefited from these strategies. With Sidhu’s firsthand knowledge of Cisco, the explanations are logical and practical. A must-read for business leaders and management students.
— Kris Gopalakrishnan, CEO and Managing Director, Infosys Technologies
Doing Both is a fascinating insider’s account of one of Silicon Valley’s most successful tech companies. A must-read for executives who want to grow big companies, learn from Cisco’s mistakes, and understand how creative organizational systems can overcome the innovator’s dilemma.
— David Yoffie, Max and Doris Starr Professor of International Business Administration
and Senior Associate Dean, Chair, Executive Education, Harvard Business School
Inder Sidhu uses wonderful stories of corporate successes and failures, and draws on the experiences of Cisco to challenge conventional management wisdom that business is about choices between apparent opposites. In fact, he makes a compelling case that these apparent opposites actually reinforce each other in powerful ways. Whether it is growth versus profits, optimization versus reinvention, or superstars versus teams, Sidhu argues convincingly that great managers pursue both. Read this book and learn profound lessons from an insightful practitioner at a leading company.
— John Hagel, Co-Chairman, Deloitte LLP Center for the Edge, and coauthor, The Power of Pull
What’s the brilliant secret that’s catapulted Cisco over all its competitors? Simple in concept—see the world in ‘and’ terms rather than ‘or’ terms—but difficult to implement, Cisco figured out how and is now a leader in any market it chooses to enter. Doing Both skillfully provides the necessary detail and inspiration for managers wishing to follow the same challenging path.
— Jerry I. Porras, Lane Professor of Organizational Behavior and Change Emeritus,
Stanford Business School, and coauthor, Built to Last and Success Built to Last
Innovation and execution can be pursued simultaneously. How? Doing Both documents how Cisco is able to blend internal and external sources of innovation with multiple paths to market. Sidhu’s book is timely, challenging, and inspiring to managers and scholars alike.
— Henry Chesbrough, author, Open Innovation, and Adjunct Professor,
Haas School of Business, University of California-Berkeley
True innovation lies in escaping the tyranny of the ‘or’ and embracing the wisdom of the ‘and.’ Yet large corporations struggle with the paradox of mastering today versus tomorrow, of sustaining versus disrupting, of centralization versus decentralization, and of individuals versus teams. Drawing on his extensive experience at Cisco Systems, Inder shows that these are false dichotomies and you can indeed do both. This book is strategic and actionable. It is readable and relevant.
— Mohanbir Sawhney, McCormick Tribune Professor of Technology, and Director, Center for Research in Technology and Innovation, Kellogg School of Management
A single-minded perspective cannot sustain a business in the long term. There is great power in operating on two seemingly conflicting ideas at the same time. This book is rich with examples of how to do just that.
— Jim Champy, coauthor, Reengineering the Corporation
Managers are always faced with choices between attractive alternatives that appear to be mutually exclusive. For many of these situations, Inder Sidhu proves a different answer: Do both—and reap the benefits not only of multiple pathways, but also of the creative tension between them. Cisco provides a powerful proof point for this simple but profound way of thinking; but it’s a message that has relevance for any organization that wants to succeed in today’s complex business world.
— Ron Ashkenas, Managing Partner, Robert H. Schaffer & Associates, and author, Simply Effective
In Doing Both, Inder Sidhu insightfully captures the paradoxes of modern business. He offers general principles and specific Cisco examples of how to do sustaining and disruptive innovation, use current and new business models, optimize and reinvent, work in mature and emerging markets, be excellent and relevant, work with superstars and winning teams, and be authoritative and democratic. Doing both of each of these paradoxes has been central to Cisco’s success and offers a blueprint for others.
— Dave Ulrich, Professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, and
Partner, The RBL Group
My suggestion is that you take to heart and practice the inspiring ideas in this book by doing doth – you can learn from others while also conceiving your own innovation strategy! You can create sustainable value while always living your values, your vision, and your mission. And Mr. Sidhu has written a book which does both for me – providing practical business ideas which also serve to inspire.
— Jeffrey C. Thomson, President and CEO, Institute of Management Accountants (IMA)
A great read with compelling insight into the opposing forces of business nature that must be balanced for any business to evolve and succeed over time. Inder Sidhu's real-life examples paint a transparent view of how Cisco navigated the tension between traditional business models and disruptive innovation and grew to become one of the most successful technology companies in the world by doing-both.
— Al Kabus, President of The Mohawk Group