Feature Video

Leadership@Cisco: Chuck Robbins

by Joie Healy

Chuck Robbins, Cisco's CEO-Designate, talks about what inspires him at work and who he turns to for a fresh perspective. Learn more about his leadership style and what makes him laugh.

 Video Transcript

I actually get my inspiration mostly from my wife. She's amazing. I go home and I'm dealing with this really complicated issue and I'll begin to explain to her how complex this thing is, and she'll look at me and she'll say, well, sounds to me like you should do this.

And I just say to her, it's just not that simple. And she says, sounds simple to me. And nine times out of ten, she's right.

Characteristics of a good leader, there are so many, but I think in today's world, as much as we work, I think people want leaders who are human. They clearly want leaders who understand what we're trying to achieve and can communicate a vision. But they also want to relate to them as human beings.

As a leader, I'm most proud of the teams we build. The camaraderie that we have, a sense of family that we have. In the midst of all the complexity, all the challenges, really it is about the people at the end of the day

[laughter] Am I doing what I imagined I'd be doing at this stage in my life. Absolutely not. First of all, I never dreamed I'd be in the position I'm in, and I'm incredibly blessed. But growing up, my parents were convinced I'd be a preacher. And some people who see me on stage probably would agree with that assessment.

I am most passionate about, my family, about our teams, about our people. I'm passionate about winning too, I love to win. I'm really passionate about not only doing what we do, and winning as an organization, but it gives me great, great pleasure when we can win and we can also do things that help society and help the world, and i think that's just a unique value that we actually have here at Cisco.


My kids got a kick out of the fact that we went to see Charlotte's Web, and I cried when the spider died. I'm known for my rendition of Rapper's Delight. Which I won't do right now.


So what makes me laugh. I love to laugh. And I laugh at my kids, I laugh at myself, there are certainly times inside Cisco when I've done things that were pretty silly, and I certainly have been laughed at as well, but I think it's just really important that you never take yourself too seriously and particularly with all the stress and the intensity in our business, I think it's incredibly important to maintain a sense of humor and it helps break up things, when it gets a little too extreme.