How a company starts working out loud

photo (9)

photo (9)

It was a little surreal. I was in a place I’ve never been, at a company I have nothing to do with, talking to a few hundred people about Working Out Loud.

So far, so good.

Then I saw the notepads they were handing out with “Working Out Loud” printed on them along with a quote from me, and I saw “Working Out Loud” in the hallways as part of their knowledge management program.

Why and how did a company do all this?

The why

Before my talk began, there was an automatic slide show running on the projector. Each slide was a quote from an employee, beginning with “I work out loud because…”

The benefits people realized were the same ones I wrote about in the book (though none of them have read it yet). They're working out loud because it helps them get things done and makes them more effective. Because it gives them access to learning and other opportunities. Because it made work more enjoyable. My favorite was this one:

“I work out loud because I want to make a difference.”

The organizers of the event simply wanted to spread this way of working and these benefits to more people.

The how

All it took was a few dedicated people who wanted to help their colleagues get more out of work and life. The talk was easy. My presentation was similar to ones I’ve delivered in the past, though I customized it with some stories relevant for this particular audience.

As in other events, a significant number of people signed up for the 12-week working out loud circles. Now they’ll form circles and start sharing possible contributions people can make inside the firm. The rest will be up to the people themselves.

Perhaps what I like the most is how this organization made Working Out Loud their own. They adapted it to their people and their specific context and culture.

By working with them, we'll all learn how how to make things easier for the next company, and the one after that, and the one after that..