Just a year ago, Cisco's stock was taking a beating after the sales failed to meet Wall Street expectations.The company wasn't exactly reeling, but CEO John Chambers knew something had to be done to right the ship.  

Cisco laid off 6,500 workers, got rid of its Flip consumer video business and sold a set-top factory in Mexico. The moves all have worked, as Cisco's bottom line has turned around with the first indicator being the second quarter results: $1 billion in expenses eliminated. But cutting expenses and eliminating some products is only part of the story. Cisco streamlined its management structure and focused on core product areas.

Chambers summed it up like this: "It has been a pretty traumatic 18 months, but we have reinvented ourselves."