Your Team is Freakin’ Huge


I’ve worked at Cisco for many years, and I’ve been writing for since 2015. Usually, I try not to mix the two in the blog posts I write here. What I write as a #TechAcutie, I do from an entirely personal capacity. If you want to read my Cisco Blog, please do so here.

However, on a recent trip to Germany, I had the opportunity to meet many dear friends in person. Were they Cisco friends, friends, or just friends? The answer is friends and team members. Overall, I learned that there is overlap. This global team of technology professionals is freakin’ huge!

Why build a team?

The number one reason to build a team in the first place is to find people who speak your language. No matter what project you want to undertake, you will only succeed if you can communicate effectively. Therefore, it is critical that you surround yourself by individuals who can understand you quickly. This doesn’t mean that you can abandon your written or oral requests to guessing games. However, your work will be more pleasurable and lead to faster results if you don’t have to explain yourself every day.

It’s important to note that understanding does not replace diversity. Not at all. In fact, I have seen teams come together globally, including people of various cultural backgrounds, precisely because they had found a way to communicate with each other effectively. When in doubt, ask your team-mates to teach you more about their culture.

More often than not, I find that I do not experience culture shock.  This is thanks in large part to the fact that I have a very diverse heritage.  In this case, even though I’d never been to Germany before, I was able to recognize much of the body language and choice of words I learned from my German grandmother.  It was fun!

How do you build a team?

A team is built on communication, collaboration, and A LOT of patience. If you are working with someone who is constantly finding reasons to be offended by something you said or did, it is possible that they don’t like you. There is never room for sabotage within a team. That is why you need to build your own network of people you can trust. Treasure the people who will forgive you, even if you’ve had a bad day.

Here’s my best advice: choose humor.  The nicest, most intelligent people I’ve had the pleasure to work with know how to make you laugh.

If you’re going to find the right group of collaborators, you need to be honest about who you are and what you can contribute. Be open about what you’re already good at, and what you want to learn. Don’t feel like you have to fake it in order to get people to like you. Most times, people who want you to succeed will go out of their way to teach you a new skill. You can start building your team today simply by asking for help. Who will answer your call?  How will they inspire you?

How do you celebrate your team?

Ideally, the best way to celebrate each team member is with a hug. This means that at some point, you will need to make arrangements to meet your friends in person. This is where I experienced that overlap I mentioned earlier. While on a business trip to Berlin, I got to work more closely with people from Cisco, spend quality time with Customers and Partners, and I even met my Editor and fellow #TechAcutie Christopher Isak in person. Sure, it’s no surprise that Chris and I are friends. What may surprise you is how many of my Cisco friends are fans of Chris. This is because we all have an underlying passion for technology, and using it to change the world.

So, the best way I can celebrate each and every one of you is by saying THANK YOU! Thank you for being my friends, regardless of where I work or publish. I love you, too.


Photo credit: Stock Snap

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Silvia Spiva
Silvia Spiva
Silvia K. Spiva is a Multicultural Marketer, creating content for global audiences, from the heart of Silicon Valley. Her passions include children's literacy, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math), and finding ways to bridge if not crush the #DigitalDivide.
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