Wow — last week marked my 2 Year Slackiversary — and time for me to pause, reflect, and jot down my annual “rear-view-mirror” ramblings. Last year, I was reflecting on my key insights to remotely on-boarding into the Slack business, and the importance of actively embracing the conversation about the Digital HQ to shape our individual and collective “Future of Work”.
Although we are still navigating our way through a pandemic that devastated the global population, we have reached a point where we consider priorities and business ambitions beyond the pandemic. I wanted to again share some of the reflections relevant to me in my further endeavors at Slack — a journey which throws up opportunities and adventures on a regular basis, and where the last 12 months have been anything but basic! TL;DR — I am where I am meant to be right now and I’m sure the best is yet to come
Here we go……. another astonishing year done.
NEWS: Salesforce Acquires Slack for $28bn and we become part of the “once-in-a-generation opportunity to rethink and reshape everything about how and where we work.” — what did this mean for us in Slack EMEA? OMG a lot! What a privilege to be part of this journey.
The opportunity for scale at Slack is incredible and supercharging our GTM with the backing of the global CRM leader is a phenomenal thing to happen. I had reflected last year about the need to remain hyper-focused at Slack. Well, this brings a whole other world of urgency to committing to clearly and smartly defined goals. How are we doing this — some thoughts:
- Leading teams through an integration programme which requires major transformation means ruthless prioritization & learning to say no (for now). This has been crucial in hitting our goals of scaling the business while aligning with our wider family at Salesforce
- Embracing the opportunity of the SF machine while remaining diligent and emotional about bringing the precious slack values along on that journey was something we were very invested in, always
- Making mistakes — lots — is standard practice in this environment. And innovation can only thrive where failure is welcomed and celebrated. The mission at Slack right now is a massive undertaking and we were (are still!) going at pace. It’s inevitable that bits and pieces go awry. Having the psychological safety to acknowledge this, dust ourselves off and keep on going is the gift of the slack culture which means so much to us all
- The people at Slack are amazing. When I’m asked to describe Slack culture, I always lean into its people. People whose ambition for success includes success for all and that is the sauce which differentiates
- Keep your eye on the “old prize” too. Our business was a thriving one before acquisition — remaining true to our pre-acquisition Slack customer base, while in parallel aligning with our peers in the wider Salesforce org is an art that took courage and focus and a whole lot of hustle.
- Take the learnings and advice from those who have taken that road before. Shout-out to our friends at Tableau and Mulesoft who graciously offered Slack insight and guidance in those early day. ‘Pull that plaster’ folks to get there faster!
- Be kind. Be sensitive. Be human. People deal with change differently, and while there is no doubt that this opportunity is market and career defining, getting thrown into ambiguity, particularly when lots of folks are new, increases the urgency to provide a safe haven for our teams.
- Wrap the business up! Our eco system is growing in line with our GTM team, and the partnerships in setting ourselves up for success with operational structure and programs is now world class. We have LOTS to do but the team behind getting our machine fired up is awesome. (You know who you are — again!)
- Leadership is key. I am like a scratched-record but Slack leadership is outrageously great and I am honoured to work with you all. No more to say except you are truly awesome! (And our sales-mgmt-dub community is an exhibition of leadership support and craic )
So what else is going on here this year? We’ve only doubled our sales force and eco-system, no big deal…..
- Live events and business travel are back and it’s great — Alleluia! Last week I spent time in Paris with the EMEA leadership team for our Q1 QBR. It was a cracker to be back in a room reflecting on Q1 and deliberating on the path ahead. Celebrating my actual Slackiversary in-real-life was super special and thank you for the love (and cake!)
- I went to Club — a career high to be brought on this magical trip
- Also, tomorrow we head into a live enablement event in Dublin city centre and I am READY for it. The human in us is yearning for that irl experience again that, despite our best and most creative efforts, cannot be replicated remotely for every scenario. So, imagining our connection strategy to complement our digital HQ is a top agenda point for us here at Slack EMEA
- Pip — we got a new leader in EMEA. And at the risk of sounding like I’m canvassing for teacher’s pet, she is exactly what we need right now. I am personally pumped to have her in our corner. An authentic, transparent, fun and ambitious female leader, Pip is creating a slack narrative that is compelling and exciting and I am absolutely delighted to be on her team bus.
- Losing people — We also lost some great folks along the journey this year, a difficult and emotional part of any scaling exercise but we have friends in the wings who we are cheering on, and who remain Slack evangelists in their new adventures and endeavours
- Finally, our families are pivoting again as we adjust to another new phase of working. For us just this week, following a plethora of trips away for Ronan and I, our girls are wondering why we are not camped out upstairs like we’ve “always” been. No differentiation between going to the office or heading away internationally, no recollection of pre-covid travel. Bringing our individual and unique family situations on this journey remains a crucial success factor
Finally (again), this is an unfinished doc, one which I won’t publish unless I share it “unfinished” and without a conclusion so here we go…..
Thanks for reading if you’ve made it this far, thanks for your support and partnership if you’re on my teams, and here’s to another cracker of a year as we embark on my toddler journey at Slack. Who knows what’s around that next corner?