Here’s a stat that keeps public company executives up at night: The average tenure of a company on the S&P 500 is plummeting. Back in the 1960s, they lasted 33 years. By 2027, that number is projected to drop to just 12 years. In fact, about half of the current S&P companies will be off list within a decade¹: That’s a lot of churn.
“Disruption” might be an overused term, but given the accelerating pace of technological change, it’s an everyday reality for just about every established company. And when I talk to CEOs, it’s clear they’re looking for a way to navigate powerful currents of disruption. Some people assume that the answer is to come up with a magic-light-bulb innovation that secures their business for the long term. But in most cases, the best answer is both a lot simpler, and a lot more complicated. It comes down to one thing: building better organizations.
For most companies, people are the biggest expense, and they’re also every company’s most important investment. But people, we all know, are complicated. Creating a high performance organization—one that is sufficiently flexible, resilient, agile and focused—is incredibly challenging. High degrees of alignment, trust, and shared consciousness require constant investment, and ensuring goals are well and widely understood in the face of neverending distraction is a challenge even for the best leaders and managers. Creating that fundamental platform for communication to help organizations rise to the challenge is the idea that drove us to start Slack four years ago. And today, it’s animating our company’s evolution as we prepare for accelerated growth at scale.
In that spirit, I’m excited to announce that we are adding a second independent member to our Board of Directors. Edith Cooper joins us after more than 30 years of experience building successful teams in major organizations. Most recently, Edith served as the Global Head of Human Capital Management at Goldman Sachs, which means she oversaw everything related to talent and teams for a company of more than 30,000 people—from recruiting and retention to creating and sustaining a healthy culture. She has an unrivaled depth of experience in the hardest challenges that modern organizations face, and Edith is going to be a huge asset as we continue to expand our capabilities. She is a deep thinker, a good listener, and a wise strategist, and I’m thrilled to have her join us as Slack enters its next phase of growth.
— Stewart Butterfield
¹Scott D. Anthony, S. Patrick Viguerie, Evan I. Schwartz and John Van Landeghem, “2018 Corporate Longevity Forecast: Creative Destruction is Accelerating.” Innosight, 2018. https://www.innosight.com/insight/creative-destruction/