6 key takeaways from Slack’s Frontiers conference

Frontiers 2019 is here! Get up to speed with a recap from last year

By the team at Slack14th March 2019

Slack’s Frontiers conference is the best place to uncover the hidden potential within your talent and technologies, whether you work in engineering, IT, marketing, sales or HR

Intrigued? Good news—registration is now open for our 2019 conference, and you can still take advantage of early bird discounts.

And obviously, we’re stoked to see Serena Williams speak (and excited to share a fantastic list of Frontiers speakers and a packed agenda)!

But before we head over to Piers 27 and 29 in San Francisco on April 24 and 25, we thought we’d take the opportunity to reflect on last year’s conference. Here are six takeaways that you can still apply to your everyday work.

1. The way we work is changing fast

And that means your company needs to stay nimble. “Organizational agility” is a term we heard a lot. To succeed in any industry, teams must adapt often and proactively. Lindsay McGregor, the best-selling author of Primed to Perform, shared two major driving forces behind an organization’s success: how effectively you execute on your plans and how effectively you deviate from those plans. High-performing companies must do both.

2. Learn your team’s “total motivation”

First, a quick refresher. An organization’s TOMO, or total motivation, is the reason employees feel fulfilled at work. It comes down to play, purpose and potential, as opposed to money, emotional motivations or just plain inertia.

Why we work determines how well we work. Organizations that succeed in making work feel interesting and important reap tangible benefits, including devoted customers, improved sales and, oh yeah, employees who actually want to come to work each day.

“Businesses need to be doing all they can, not the least they can get away with.”

Holly Branson, the Virgin Group


3. IT solutions are now driven organically

Gone are the days of IT solutions being dictated from on high. Whether it’s through the prevalence of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) or the newest trend, BYOApps, smart businesses are letting workers choose the services and tools they feel most comfortable using.

Organizations that adopt these policies should expect a proliferation of devices and services in the workplace—and that’s OK. But it puts a greater emphasis on collaboration and makes bringing people and tools together in a central place non-negotiable.

“Either you support the users or you don’t have a function.”

Mattias Hindfelt, CIO, investment firm EQT

4. Make work safe to experiment

Transparency—or defaulting to open communication—is a cultural shift for most companies. That shift can be a blessing, so long as you make sure your employees are empowered to speak up. And that starts with trust. As the Virgin Group’s Holly Branson put it, “We have trust in our relationships at home, trust in our children. Why should your relationship with work be any different?” Employees need to know they’re trusted and that they can make mistakes, spin up that new channel or just try out a new emoji. In the end, everyone benefits from a more dynamic workplace.

“What’s worked in the past is irrelevant to what’s going to work in the future.”

Adam Grantorganizational psychologist and New York Times best-selling author

5. Create opportunities for everyone

We have a chance to improve the world in concrete ways, and it starts with hiring.

Whether making a conscious decision to employ veterans or launching a program to hire formerly incarcerated individuals, creating meaningful opportunities for people is vital. Take advantage of diverse backgrounds and skills, and your business will benefit.

At Slack, we’ve partnered in an initiative called Next Chapter with The Last Mile, the Kellogg Foundation and FreeAmerica to help bring returning citizens back to work and shift perceptions around formerly incarcerated individuals. Through Next Chapter, we’re building a yearlong apprenticeship program to train and mentor graduates from The Last Mile.

“Our hope is that the industry will judge people on the quality of their code rather than the stigma of their past.”

Natrina Gandanadirector of programs, The Last Mile

6. Keep conversations open

From T-Mobile’s senior manager of applications support to Slack’s very own Stewart Butterfield, several speakers encouraged customers to keep their channels open—literally (within Slack) and figuratively (to engage workers through transparent leadership).

On that point, Autodesk’s Guy Martin, who leads the company’s open-source strategy, has some pertinent advice: If your company is new to Slack, don’t let employees get mired in private channels. The sooner you start using open channels, the sooner they can find information on their own. #DefaultToOpen

“Slack is the transparency and collaboration engine of your company.”

Guy Martindirector, Open@ADSK, Autodesk

This year’s Frontiers conference is going to be packed with practical tips to help you supercharge your office. You’ll learn from experts, network like a pro, and come back to your work newly recharged and ready to transform your organization.

Grab your tickets now, before early bird pricing concludes. We can’t wait to see you there!


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