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Juniper CEO Scott Kriens Thoughts on Leadership and Corporate Culture Transformation

By Alan J. Weissberger, contact alan at for information on his telecom consulting services.
On Jan 8, 2008, I was privileged to hear Scott Kriens talk at the SCU Business School (I was a Professor in SCU EE Dept for many years).  Here are the key points of his talk:
Juniper has grown to a $3B revenue company, with a presence in over 100 countries
Scott recognized that he could not add value himself to such a large, growing company.  Therefore, he decided to teach leadership skills to others. First step, was to reflect on what really matters.  He asked the audience to write down answers to 3 questions:
1.  Who are you?
2.  Why are you here?
3.  What do you want (out of life, career, etc)?
Scott said that one needs thoughtful answers to these questions before a career plan can be created.  He remarked that only 12% of people have a career plan.  However, of those who have one, 75% say they have achieved their career goals and objectives.
There are 4 steps to creation of a sustainable, purposeful business environment:
1.  Self awareness- know what you believe and why
2.  Authenticity- be genuine
3.  Trust- in those you work with+
4.  Inspiration- share vision or purpose with those that trust you
+ Trust:  Letting others know your feelings, emotions and reactions, and having the confidence in them to respect you and to not take advantage of you. Sharing your inner feelings and thoughts with others with the belief that they will not spread them indiscriminately.   Trust has economic value, according to Kriens.  In a trusted environment, generative things happen, e.g. accepting constructive feedback/ criticism.  You make decisions quicker and better in such a "community " setting.
After going through several self reflection exercises, Juniper created the following mission statement:
"Build a multi-generation community that empowers people to do the impossible."
AW CommentWow, that is a huge objective!
Juniper’s highest priority is the success of its employees.  This is now the main purpose of the company. 
Juniper wants to engage its people in a trusted envirnoment, so that they think of what’s important to them.  Each member must support the community.  As a result, Juniper employees are making "high quality agreements" on what it takes for them and the company to be successful.
Scott offered a 3 pronged approach to realizing his company’s vision:
1.  Need something higher order than a project or product.  [I assumed this to be a trusted, community envirnoment.]
2.  Evolution of a company to a community (whre you do things in support of one another and as a result, create things you could not accomplish on your own.
3.  Boundaries of our abilities are self imposed.  [assumed this to be related to the mission statement: "doing the impossible."]
Juniper is now monitoring the tangible results of this internal company transformation.  It seems to be working, according to Scott.  This was backed up by a recent Gartner Group Research report: Juniper Networks Positioned in Leaders Quadrant of Leading Analyst Firm’s WAN Optimization Controllers Magic Quadrant- Company Evaluated on Ability to Execute and Completeness of Vision
Gartner evaluated vendors according to a strict set of criteria focused on the company’s ability to execute and completeness of vision in the WAN optimization market.
According to Gartner, "This Magic Quadrant reviews vendors that address the common need to make more efficient and effective use of wide-area connections, regardless of the type of traffic or application." In the report, Gartner states, "Leaders exhibit an ability to shape the market by introducing additional capabilities in their product offerings and by raising awareness of the importance of these features. We expect a Leader to be growing the market as a whole, and to have solutions that resonate with an increasing number of enterprises. Leaders in the WOC market need to have a broad feature set, including QOS, generic compression, protocol acceleration and file system acceleration, with the majority of features proven in substantial real-world implementations. They also need to be able to offer sales and support on a global basis."
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Author Alan Weissberger

By Alan Weissberger

Alan Weissberger is a renowned researcher in the telecommunications field. Having consulted for telcos, equipment manufacturers, semiconductor companies, large end users, venture capitalists and market research firms, we are fortunate to have his critical eye examining new technologies.

2 replies on “Juniper CEO Scott Kriens Thoughts on Leadership and Corporate Culture Transformation”

How can Scott make a comment like this when in parallel he is dismissing hundreds of employee’s from the Advanced Technologies Group and other departments. All who by the way drove significant business for Juniper (most were above quota attainment).

So please, help me understand how you write a career goal around a company who does not appreciate your contributions. Amazing!!!

To: John C

Why don’t you ask Scott or the marketing communications dept at Juniper. I have no connection with the company, have never worked or consulted for them. I did not even know Juniper was laying off people from any dept, let alone Advanced Tech Group. I do not even know anyone who works there!

I am a journalist that tries to accurately and objectively report what I hear.

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