Phil Simon


Slack and Change Management

Thoughts on why it's essential to overcome employee resistance.
Mar | 2 | 2020

Mar | 2 | 2020


On a recent trip to Baltimore, I went to dinner with a friend of mine from grad school. She helps organizations deal with change management.

It was an interesting conversation. My friend has heard of Slack but doesn’t use it. In a way, though, I was glad.

After catching up, we spent most of our time talking about the nexus between Slack and change management. It’s a topic near and dear to my heart. (Chapter 13 of Slack For Dummies provides tips on how organizations can successfully adopt it in the workplace.)

Foolish is the soul who assumes that all employees will voluntarily jump on the Slack train.

Throughout my career, I have seen firsthand how employees fight new technologies and applications. That resistance is more than just a minor nuisance; it’s a real problem that far too many people don’t appreciate. In many ways, the people who resist Slack today aren’t any different from people who didn’t want to change enterprise systems a decade ago. Same fleas; different dog.

Slack and Network Effects

Just like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, Slack benefits from network effects and Metcalfe’s law. If fewer employees at Company X use Slack, then it becomes less valuable to the organization and its employees. Slack’s work graph makes less relevant, timely, and accurate recommendations because its data is limited.

It’s really that simple.

When you grasp the power of network effects, then you’ll start to view employee resistance to Slack as a really big deal.

Simon Says: Signing up for Slack is easy. Change management is hard.

It’s not hard to offer simple tips to ease the transition to Slack. Make no mistake, though: the people side of enterprise technology remains the real challenge for mature organizations. Overcome it and Slack becomes exponentially more valuable than just Email 2.0.


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