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One more question on the restructuring effort. We've talked to a number of Cisco executives over the last six months in particular and asked, what is the single biggest move through which they've seen the best change? I have to tell you they pointed down to that paring down of your internal councils and boards, and that streamlining of decision-making. Is that accurate, you think? Is that the most fundamentally important move that was made?
No. I actually think the most important was what Gary [Moore's] led: operational excellence across the board in each function and each department. It isn't about a transaction or a segment; it's really about becoming consistent in our operational excellence and how that will seed the money to be able to grow in the future. That's most important.
To your comment about boards and councils, that's fair. One thing at Cisco, we all have opinions. We don't mind people voicing them; that's very healthy. We don't mind going back and forth, but I would put the councils and boards and layers of management and the span of control and being fat in the middle as opposed to where you want to be fat as symptomatic of playing at a higher level. It's a different level. I'd say it was that overall approach. I tend to frame things in what is the big picture, and how do we get there. So, it was a combination of those things.
But remember what people said about us 15 months ago. Remember what people said about is in 2007 about the financial industry and how that's unique to Cisco, and nine months later, we're in free-fall. And late 2009, we said we saw things looking up, and people said 2010 was going to be a bad year, and 2010 was pretty good. And we said 2011 did not feel good. We got the tar beat out of us for that, but then things started to slow again. This is what Cisco does that's important about our culture. Far from a perfect company, but we are transparent, and we are right. We won't be all the time. But in spite of all the challenges over the years, have we ever missed a quarter? Have we ever had to update a quarter saying we're going to miss by a billion dollars?
Will we always beat? Of course not. But, if you watch what we've done, we've had a consistency that almost everyone else has not been able to maintain. That's the most valuable thing to partners.