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August 26, 2010

Staff Picks: Doing Both and the Importance of Getting Your Feet Wet

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 7:38 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Inder Sidhu's Doing Both was number one on the Inc./800-CEO-READ Business Book Bestseller List in July. Jon recently sent him three questions he asks of all our best-selling authors, and I really enjoyed his answers:
What's the most influential book you've read? Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, which eloquently explains what drives extraordinary human achievement. Who in business had the most profound effect on you? My previous bosses, Gary Daichendt and Rick Justice, who represented unquestionable integrity, humble competence, respect for people, love for family, strength of faith, and a sense of humor. If your business philosophy were on a bumper sticker, what would it say? “Do what makes your heart sing.”
Sidhu is Senior Vice President of Strategy and Planning for Worldwide Operations at Cisco, and his book is largely about the company he has worked in for the past 15 years, and how Cisco has been able to sustain its core business over that time while also branching out into new ones. In other words, it is how the company has addressed the issues that Clayton Christensen describes in The Innovator's Dilemma in a real-world, hyper-competitive business environment. Each chapter focuses on a separate arena of business management and how, in each instance, Cisco has managed to take an approach that addresses those issues holistically. (Sidhu does use other businesses to illustrate his points, but always comes back home to Cisco.) The easiest way to relate to you what's covered in the book is to simply list the chapter titles in order:
  • New & Improved and The Next Big Thing: Sustaining and Disrupting Innovation
  • Current Accounts and Future Conquests: Existing and New Business Models
  • Tuning and Transforming: Optimization and Reinvention
  • Satisfied Customers and Gratified Partners: Direct Touch and Leveraged Influence
  • The Beaten Path and The Road Less Traveled: Established and Emerging Markets
  • Doing Things Right and Doing What Matters: Excellence and Relevence
  • Michael Phelps and the Redeem Team: Superstar Performers and Winning Teams
  • West Point and Woodstock: Authoritative Leadership and Democratic Decision Making
As you can see, Mr. Sidhu covers quite a lot of ground. But there is one important issue he did not address in his book: work/life balance. He remedied that last week on The Huffington Post by asking a question you probably haven't been asked since you were in grade school, "What Did You Do on Your Summer Vacation?" writing:
Did you take some time off this summer? If not, then I have five words of advice for you: Go jump in a lake.
In the post, Sidhu reminds you that "you have two lives to live: one at home, and one at the office. Though they may blend from time to time, they still have separate and distinct needs." And, in all things holistic, Sidhu counsels doing both:
I'm not talking about trying to de-emphasize your professional responsibilities in favor of personal fun, but instead pursuing both, for the benefit of each other. Think about that in the final remaining weeks before Labor Day, while the weather is still warm enough to splash around at the end of a dock.
So... have you taken your vacation this summer? If you're feeling work getting the better of you instead of the other way around, your professional life may just depend on it. And you can always take Doing Both with you.

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.