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Episode 90: John Chambers on Risk and Opportunity in the Modern Age

OODAcast

Release Date: 02/16/2022

Episode 119:  Megan Jaffer on Leadership, Intelligence, Innovation and Iron Butterfly Media show art Episode 119: Megan Jaffer on Leadership, Intelligence, Innovation and Iron Butterfly Media

OODAcast

In this episode of OODAcast, Megan Jaffer joins the conversation to discuss her journey in the intelligence community and the creation of Iron Butterfly Media Group. Megan also discusses the expansion of Iron Butterfly Media, including new podcast series and a documentary on women in intelligence. Megan shares her background, including her studies in international relations and her experiences in South Korea. She highlights the origins of the Iron Butterfly podcast, which began as a small project during COVID-19 and has grown significantly, becoming influential in both academia and...

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OODAcast

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OODAcast

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OODAcast

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OODAcast

Mark McGrath has applied the teachings of John Boyd to a career that began in the Marine Corps, included leadership positions in financial services firms and consulting with businesses with a need to learn to thrive in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environments. He co-founded the consultancy AGLX and serves as its Chief Learning Officer. He is the co-host of the popular podcast “No Way Out” which is dedicated to examining and advancing the use of the theories of John Boyd to help both individuals and businesses seeking to improve their capacity for free and independent...

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OODAcast

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Andy Bochman is the Senior Grid Strategist-Defender for Idaho National Laboratory’s National and Homeland Security directorate. In this role, Andy provides strategic guidance on topics at the intersection of grid security and climate resilience to INL leadership as well as senior U.S. and international government and industry leaders. Andy is a frequent speaker, writer, and trainer who has testified before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on energy infrastructure cybersecurity issues and before FERC on the maturity of smart grid cybersecurity standards. He has had...

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More Episodes

John Chambers is the legendary former CEO of Cisco, a company he helped grow from $70 million in revenue per year when he joined in 1991 to $1.2 billion a year the year he became CEO to over $48 billion a year by the time he retired in 2015. As a leader John was always known for far more than just revenue growth, he was skilled at building an organization that treated people well, including employees, customers and the community.

In this OODAcast we discuss John's book, Connecting The Dots, which shares his insights into leadership including leadership of organizations that need to disrupt themselves. The lessons of this book can help those at any stage of a career improve in their ability to lead innovative companies. John speaks to many learning points in his career including early lessons on how governments and companies ignore transitions at their own peril. He draws lessons from lost opportunities that include things West Virginia could have done differently, as well as transitions missed by IBM and Wang.

We asked John to elaborate on his ability to spot market transitions and assess how they should impact business strategy and operations. This is a skill we are always seeking to improve at OODA and found his recommendations very consistent with our methods of keeping our ear to the ground and seeking insights from multiple sources, then dealing with reality as it is, not as you hope it will be.

We also ask John for his assessment into the changing economic situation because of the pandemic. We discuss how his projections at the beginning of the pandemic played out. We then get his assessment on what is in store for the coming months, resulting in advice which should be heard by any CEO seeking to serve. He tells us agility, a word he used to dislike because it sounded like marketing, now needs to be the mantra of every CEO.

"Agility is the watchword for leaders today"

John is currently the CEO of JC2 Ventures, a venture capital firm he founded to invest in and mentor startups he believes are positioned to become core drivers of economic growth and job creation in the digital age. We discuss his approach on finding these firms and mentoring them. The CEO of a key firm in his portfolio, Guarav Banga of Balbix, was interviewed for the OODAcast last year).

John concludes with advice for any leader seeking to succeed:

"You deal with the world the way it is, not the way you wish it was."

He also reminds us all that

"The winners are those that do not do the right thing for too long. The winners are those that are willing to disrupt themselves."