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What a Restaurant Can Teach You About Collaboration: Page 3 of 3
That aside, what can enterprises learn from this? I’ve got three quick thoughts.
1. Focus on the outcomes not the technology
Collaboration takes many forms, and it’s too easy to define it based on the technologies being used. A telephony-centric platform will produce one type of collaboration, while a video-centric platform will produce something different. Slack’s raison d’etre is to be the hub that integrates an endless stream of applications, and end users will cherry-pick what’s best for the task at hand.
More importantly, the takeaway is to start with the end in mind and work backwards to support the collaboration efforts needed to produce that outcome. With SingleThread, the objective is for diners to have a relaxing experience, and everything that goes on around them needs to be -- and appear -- effortless. Again, in collaboration parlance, that means removing friction from processes.
2. Understand processes, then identify the tools
Meticulous attention to detail is a big part of being a 3-star experience; the above examples just hint at what the end-to-end process entails. Workflows in the office are no different, and when the various steps and tasks are clearly delineated, it becomes much easier to determine which applications are needed. As mentioned earlier, take what you need, and discard what you don’t. Just because a UC platform supports dozens of applications, you don’t need to use them all.
High-performing teams have figured this out, and they’ll know better than IT what the right mix is based on the need or process. Success with collaboration solutions shouldn’t be predicated on having the greatest number of workers using the greatest number of applications. SingleThread seems to operate like a well-oiled machine, and nobody is talking about wasting time with emails, playing phone tag, or showcasing their multichannel skills. They’re using the right tools for job -- nothing more, nothing less.
3. Keep the technology transparent so workers can use creativity when collaborating
This was a key message that Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield stressed at Frontiers. At SingleThread, Slack is just there in the background, enabling these real-time communications flows that tie all the pieces together. You wouldn’t normally connect that to foragers roaming the forest floor, but this creative approach to using technology to organically improve processes and workflows reflects what Slack is all about.
During Frontiers, Stewart talked about how “people don’t know they need Slack,” and that the “big challenge is finding alignment that turns groups into teams.” It’s worth noting that Slack is just one of many enablers that SingleThread uses to get those outcomes, but workers aren’t focused on Slack itself, or trying to adapt their workstyles to fit the platform.
Just as they work as a team to bring all the right ingredients together for a great dining experience, Slack makes it easy for them to use the right applications for a great collaboration experience. That’s how Slack sees collaboration, where technology empowers workers “to become stakeholders,” as Stewart said at Frontiers.
Enterprises don’t behave this way as a matter of course, but Slack’s success clearly indicates there’s an appetite to start thinking this way. If this sounds like something your enterprise should be doing, my advice would be for your team to make a booking for SingleThread to experience this firsthand, and tell them Jon sent you. Better yet, save me a seat.