She said it in such a serious, deadpan way that I knew she wasn’t kidding. “Please,” she told me, “don’t change the guides.”
That was Katharina Krentz from Bosch. She had created materials related to each of the 12 weeks, and changes would mean a lot of extra work. The translations, now in eight other languages, would also have to change. Besides, she pointed out, with more than 500 Circles at Bosch and over 5000 members in their internal WOL Group, there was no need to change anything.
“Yes, and…,” I thought. Since the last update, there have been so many useful resources I’ve wanted to add. And the new, professionally-designed materials - videos, a journal, and soon a workbook - made the old version of the Guides look like, well, like I designed them myself.
So I tried to modify the material in a way that won’t cause undo work for people already using them, and yet will still be a significant improvement. The result is version 5 of the WOL Circle Guides.
The biggest change is that I added a new section to the website: workingoutloud.com/resources. I removed the lists of links in the PDFs, and created a webpage for each week that includes a wider range of resources - media, examples, more exercises, more FAQs. This is much more flexible, and makes it possible for me to regularly add new resources that the WOL community finds useful. (I especially enjoyed creating a new photo gallery in Week 12.)
The guides have also been professionally redesigned, using a new style and layout that matches the journal and the other materials I’m working on. I find the new design much cleaner and easier to read.
The final change is to the licensing language that was on each section of the guides. Older versions used a restrictive Creative Commons license that confused some people, especially the "non-commercial" part. That has been replaced with standard copyright language that’s more precise about what companies can and can’t do. To me, it doesn't change what organizations have already been doing. My intention is just to make it clearer.
Today, I published the English version of the new Guides, and German will be available soon. (I’ll be sure to create German versions of the Resources pages too.) Then I’ll apply the new design to all the translations.
With the maturity of the Circle Guides comes the chance to develop new products and new practices. Here are a few I’m working on:
The WOL Circle Video Series & companion journal are being used in company pilots now. They’re part of a new WOL Library that includes assets that make Circles more effective and help companies spread them. (The new “What is Working Out Loud?” video will give you a feel for what the videos look like. It’s also subtitled in German and Turkish, with more languages coming soon.)
A beautiful new workbook is under development, and will be for sale via the website. It will be a hardcover book that includes the guides, extra content, and the chance to do the exercises and capture your progress in one place.
The WOL: Self-Care pilot is coming to an end. I’m grateful to the 100 people who participated, and will incorporate what we learned into a next version of the WOL:SC guides that I’ll publish in May.
WOL: Purpose, another new practice, and experiments in healthcare and manufacturing are all just beginning. I’m extremely excited about each of them.
The only reason any of this work is possible is because of you and the WOL Community. I’m grateful to all of you who’ve tried a Circle and those who’ve generously spread the word.
I hope you like the new Guides. If you’re in the middle of a Circle, you can begin using them right away. If you have a resource you think should be included in the new section on the website, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be glad to hear from you.