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Small Changes, Big Effects

Podcast host Sam Massey | Podcast guest James Sherrett
November 08, 2019 | 20 min 12 sec

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Brief summary

In modern work, no one operates alone. Tasks are too complex, knowledge is too specialized and fragmented. We need to work together – to collaborate – to drive the outcomes we want to achieve. Slack’s James Sherrett explores how small tactical changes can affect the collaboration culture of teams and how that culture drives the business results of our organization. If you are a digital leader wanting to influence cultural change in your organization, this is the podcast for you.


Every organization is in the business of two things: the products/services it brings to market and the culture that it builds internally. Everyone talks about and prioritizes using the former, but in fact, your culture is what allows you to successfully bring that thing to market in the first place.

Slack CEO sees the way we work together as a competitive advantage

‘The only thing that likes change is a wet baby.’ As humans, we tell ourselves the lie that the world is static and unchanging, but the reality is that the world is changing all the time. We have to acknowledge this reality and become comfortable with it. 

Organizations need to root themselves in the things that can help their probability of success in times of change and adapt those things from abstract theory to tactical, daily practice. 

Use the ‘yet trick’ to help you become more comfortable when outside of your comfort zone, to create a growth mindset. Add the word ‘yet’ to the phrase ‘I don't know to do XYZ...YET’ because you will work out how to solve it.

You need to show people that the inherent habits that you have learned, as part of an evolutionary process within the organization, have worked. Imitation is a natural way that humans learn.  

In defining success, we often make an assumption that there is an ‘end-state,’ which is often untrue. Build the muscle to know whether you are making the right decisions for what you are optimizing for, and look back and be honest with yourself about whether you achieved in. 

People optimize for the metrics they are given, which can lead to over-indexing for that specific metric. We should use metrics to analyze performance, but not as the end-state. 

Having intellectual trust in your teammates is incredibly important. A psychologically safe place is the most productive. How can you create a regular cadence where we can be intellectually honest with each other to stay on the right track.

We have to talk about the things that could go wrong. The scariest monster is the one you have never seen. It’s always worse in your imagination, but when you turn on the light you can come up with tactics to address it.

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