Cisco System's CTO Padmasree Warrior discusses the "Lean In" Movement with Fresh Dialogues, and shares the seven lessons she's learned in her remarkable career. Warrior, an influential Silicon Valley tech leader, on the Forbes List of 100 Most Powerful Women, says women shouldn't hold themselves back, they should be "out there and leaning in to opportunities."
Warrior emphasizes the importance of authenticity in leadership, letting people see "who you truly are." Of course, being approachable...coaching, mentoring, and brainstorming ideas with your team are also key, she says.
On the question of finding balance in your life, Warrior is blunt. "I don't like the word 'balance,'" she says. "To me that somehow conjures up conflict between work and family...as long as we think of these things as conflicting, we will never have happiness. True happiness comes from integration...of work, family, self, community."
Warrior dedicates Saturday as her digital detox day where she puts down her smartphone and busies herself with family and gardening, painting, cooking, even haiku. Check out her eclectic Twitter feed to learn more.
She told me that letting go of guilt is a vital lesson. "When my son was growing up, I was always guilty, no matter what I did, " she says. "Make decisions and be happy with the decisions you've made. I tell myself in the long run, it's the love, the quality of relationships that you have with your family, your friends and giving back to the community that matters."
Here's a summary of Warrior's Seven Secrets of Success. Watch the video for all the details.
1. Be authentic, approachable
2. Mentor and coach others
3. Be out there and "lean in" to opportunities
4. Forget "balance" - integrate work, family, self, community
5. Avoid guilt
6. Be happy with your decisions
7. Think long-term and focus on relationship quality
One topic we didn't discuss was the recent round of job cuts just announced by Cisco this week, despite strong growth in profits. The company blames it on weak economic recovery, but I can't help thinking the rapid acquisition of 15 companies in the last 15 months, led by Warrior, might prove rather hasty in the long run.