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Doing Both: Capturing Today's Profit and Driving Tomorrow's Growth 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0137083640
ISBN-10: 0137083645
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Editorial Reviews


As seen on The New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists.


From the Back Cover

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 of 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


Over the past seven years, in a highly unstable global economy, Cisco doubled revenue, tripled profits, and quadrupled earnings per share. How? By Doing Both . When companies face key strategic decisions, they often take one path and abandon the other. They focus on innovation and new business at the expense of core businesses or vice versa. They stress discipline and sacrifice flexibility. They focus on customers and ignore partners. And they struggle. There is a better way: Doing Both. Doing Both means approaching every decision as an opportunity to seize, not a sacrifice to endure. It means avoiding false choices, reduced expectations, and weak compromises. It means finding ways to make each option benefit and mutually reinforce the other. In this book, Cisco Senior Vice President Inder Sidhu explains why “doing both” is today’s best strategy. Then, drawing on Cisco’s hardwon insights and the experiences of companies like Procter & Gamble, Whirlpool, and Harley-Davidson, Inder presents a complete blueprint for “doing both” in your organization, too.


Win by Doing Both!

• Sustaining and Disruptive Innovation

• Existing and New Business Models

• Optimization and Reinvention

• Satisfied Customers and Gratified Partners

• Established and Emerging Countries

• Doing Things Right and Doing What Matters

• Superstar Performers and Winning Teams

• Authoritative Leadership and Democratic Decision Making


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (June 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0137083645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0137083640
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.7 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #908,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Inder Sidhu is Senior Vice President of Strategy and Planning for Worldwide Operations at Cisco, the $40 billion worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. He is also a member of the company's Operating Committee.

From 2006-2010, Inder co-led Cisco's Emerging Countries Council, which drives business success in fast-growing geographies like China, India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, and the Middle East. From 2006-2009, he co-led the Enterprise Business Council, which is responsible for Cisco's corporate business, representing about half of the company's total revenue.

In 2010, Sidhu published "Doing Both: Capturing Today's Profit & Driving Tomorrow's Growth" (FT Press). In this New York Times bestseller, he identifies common business dichotomies and explores how successful companies avoid difficult tradeoffs and instead achieve bigger outcomes by "doing both." Using this framework, he offers a unique view of Cisco's consistent record of innovation and high performance.

Before joining Cisco in 1995, Inder was with McKinsey & Company, an international management consulting company. He has also worked at Intel and Novell.

Learn more at http://www.indersidhu.com. You can follow Inder on Twitter (@indersidhu), and connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/indersidhu

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If this book was a reality TV show, it would be a flattering portrait of a celebrity's life. Initially an intriguing glimpse into the inner world of someone of interest, then realization dawning that, in the end, you're only seeing what the celebrity wants you to see.

The opening chapters are a useful reminder that business folk often get trapped in false choices such as on-time or high-quality, for example. But that's about the extent of the concept, and the remainder of the book is a collection of anecdotes about Cisco senior executives. The writing is strangely mechanical and almost devoid of style and wit, which makes it hard to keep going. I found myself rapidly losing interest in the middle.

The Cisco examples are like a celebrity magazine cover: photoshopped for maximum effect. I worked at Cisco for five years, joining about the same time as Inder Sidhu in the 1990s. It was truly an exceptional place to work, and my experiences there left a lasting positive impression. I was part of some of the product stories he recounts, and this is where my recollection departs from Inder's. He's not trying to be deceptive, merely carefully selective to support his thesis. I did get a little suspicious of the frequent occurrence of the figure "40%". In so many of the vignettes, this is the stated bookings growth achieved as a result of "doing both".

Summaries of the thought processes for some of the major decisions are thought provoking -- made me think about how I could use the same ideas in my business. The most difficult part of corporate decision-making is bringing the rest of the organization along on the journey, though, and there's precious little on how that was achieved.
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Format: Hardcover
Years ago a very wise person taught me that by changing my frame of reference from "either/or" to "both/and" I could find creative solutions to the challenges I was facing in life. Work hard AND exercise. Make time for your old golf pals AND your wife. Think expansively, give your all, and discover that you're capable of accomplishing much more than you once thought possible.

Inder Sidhu, as wise a corporate executive as you will find in Silicon Valley, imparts a similar wisdom in this concise but rich history of Cisco Systems and its phenomenal success. Sidhu's surprising thesis is that great companies like Cisco simply refuse to settle. They don't compromise on innovation to become more efficient. Nor do they let quality or customer service lag in order to make their numbers. Instead, they foster a culture in which being good isn't good enough and leaders are encouraged, if not exepcted to pursue transformational as opposed to merely incremental improvements. Cisco is able to "Do Both" Sidhu demonstrates, by asking more of its always-connected employees, but it also gives those same employees more in the form of flexible hours and a win-win culture in which people trust one another to produce superior results. His case studies of Cisco successes in areas ranging from Engineering to Manufacturing to Marketing should be required reading at any company that is ready to think big.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a straightforward history of Cisco from the inside, this is just fine. If you were curious why the company made certain decisions - acquisitions, product strategy shifts, etc. - this book will probably answer your questions. That said, I don't think you'll learn anything that you can really apply in your own world. (Or if you do, you need to get out more!) For one thing, every problem is prelude to an advance or improvement. There is no dirty laundry, no hint of the human causes and consequences of things. This is, of course, to be expected from a book by someone who is still working in the company. An active VP is not going to be an investigative journalist, or even to ask hard questions. Furthermore this central "Do both" message only really applies to very large companies. For startups, "do both" is a recipe for failure.

The other problem with this book is the impersonal tone. Learning comes from personal experience and insight, and must be conveyed with passion and humanity, not from an air-brushed, omniscient, third-person perspective. For a good example of what I mean, read Lou Gerstner's brilliant Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?. Maybe we will have to wait until Chambers retires to learn the real lessons of Cisco.
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Format: Hardcover
Recently my wife convinced me to install an in-ground pool in our back yard. For those of you that have not taken on such a project, I think it is more challenging than building a house because you see the activity on a daily basis. After it was all completed I couldn't be happier with the end product and have been a reference for our pool builder. When people call me and ask why they should use our builder my answer is always the same, it isn't the fact that they didn't make mistakes, it is how they recovered and improved.

Most people think Cisco is great because they make great products. This book and the fabulous stories the Inder relates shows that Cisco makes great products because it recovers so well from its mistakes. Doing Both showcases how Cisco continues to innovate not just at the product and solution level but the way it goes about doing business. You can apply Doing Both to almost any situation in business or personal life if you just break out of the mentality of well that's always the way we have done it.

I have worked at Cisco for 10 years living through many of these stories. When people ask me why I love working for Cisco as much today as I did 10 years ago, I can tell them to simply read this book.
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