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No Hesitation: The Journey with the New Extreme

SarahJane Walshe Published 14 Aug 2017

I’ve been married for a long time.  Yes, the usual things that make a great marriage are at work – mutual respect, open communications, having the other’s back, fun and feeling like you can accomplish anything if you’re working together – but one thing, right at the beginning of our relationship, really set things on the right path.

When I asked Paula to marry me her siblings decided to throw a huge shindig.  I come from a big family myself (that really knows how to party) so that seemed pretty normal.  But what was not “normal” was the unexpected yet unequivocal and passionate message that I was already totally a part of their tribe – made clear to me early and often by every single person who was there.  There was no hesitation or limitation – no equivocation or caveats, I was a PART of this team – not eventually, but RIGHT NOW. It was a real celebration of both the present and the future.

I was as much a son, brother, and cousin as if I had been born to it and with that came the joy, excitement, hopes, and expectations shared by all members of the clan.  I’ll never forget that feeling of being so intensely accepted and embraced and immediately knew that this was a harbinger of great things to come.  It delighted me to know that I was going to be a part of something so special and I knew that I was going to be happily challenged to contribute my very best for the rest of my life.

I’ve not had anything that approached the intensity of that experience again – until I got to Las Vegas for Extreme Networks Sales Kick-Off on July 24.  In many ways that might be the most telling and unexpected thing I can say about Extreme.  I sure have worked at a lot of places, big and small, but the engagement from the first day of SKO was unique.  We were embraced, encouraged, and challenged.  We told our stories and they were heard.  We had stories shared with us.  I read Randy’s amazing blog and immediately thought; “Well that is remarkable, but even more remarkable is that I got the same reception, engagement, and feeling … and I’m not even part of Extreme yet!”

I figured, maybe it was just me who got special consideration because I was a VP or maybe that I’m a known quantity having been part of the sales process for quite a while.  Surprise, surprise – as I reached out to each member of the small but mighty band that is coming to Extreme from Brocade, I found that every one of them had exactly the same experience and exactly the same feeling.  Starting with the CEO and down to the field teams; every one of us was recognized and invited.

This is a pretty awesome place to be going; where your value is celebrated and respected and where you are welcomed with no reservations, no caveats, and with real pleasure.  It surely brings out the best in all of us, it helps calm the anxieties that this ten month limbo have inevitably created and it awakens an honest resolve to demonstrate, with hard work and creativity, that we deserve such a comprehensive embrace.

Technology matters – it’s clear that what is being created with the integration of Extreme, Enterasys, Motorola Wing, Avaya and Brocade SRA represents the most innovative, focused, and end-to-end, software driven networking company in the industry.

Focus matters – and there is absolutely no confusion at Extreme that priority number one is (and will always be) delighting customers with uncompromising service and engagement across their comprehensive portfolio.

But culture matter, too.

Peter Drucker might have said that “culture eats strategy for breakfast” but I say that culture feeds strategy.  Just like any family, it’s clear that the culture at Extreme encourages interdependence and accountability for delivering focus and technology and simultaneously builds trust and expectation that every person will do their part.  And just like every family, integrity and honesty are the foundation for the measurement of achievement.  A marvelous thing built by a remarkable group of leaders and visionaries – I can’t wait to be a part of it.