I knew we would get along well when we both had the same bright orange backpack from IKEA. We met in a cafe near Wall Street on Monday and we were talking about Working Out Loud. After I described the main ideas and the circles that are starting to form around the world, he asked me: “How would you accelerate what you’re doing?”
I paused and offered an uninspiring “I’m not sure.” So I’ve been thinking about it since then and wanted to share what I’ve come up. My hope is that some of you find these ideas useful and some of you can help make them better.
Step 1. Remove friction
Make it easy for people to get started. A small part of that is writing a book people will want to read and share with their friends and colleagues. Then there needs to be a website with other resources, stories, and ways for people to ask questions and interact.
I also wanted to remove any mental friction. To me, that meant donating all the book royalties, making the other resources freely available, and creating a new workingoutloud.com website rather than using johnstepper.com. Removing money and ego from a movement makes it easier to join.
Step 2. Build momentum
There are already a few hundred people who have reviewed the book or are forming circles based on draft materials. To build momentum, I need to equip them to spread the word if they want to.
That includes simple text they can use to describe working out loud and a short video they can link to. Other ideas include ways for circle members to know about each other, ask questions, and share information. Just today, for example, we introduced the hashtag #wolcircle on Twitter.
I also need to keep publicizing it through speaking and writing about the benefits to individuals and organizations. This one article from The Economist is good, but it’s just a start.
Step 3. Seed & Amplify
So far, these are basic things that underpin any movement. They’re necessary but not sufficient. To accelerate things, my strategy (though that seems too lofty a word) is to leverage existing networks and equip them to help their members.
Here are 5 real examples. The more I can add to this list and contribute to additional networks, the faster the working out loud movement will spread.
- HR associations like CIPD and Society for Human Resource Management
- Outplacement and job search firms like The Ayers Group and CareerShift
- Social networking vendors like Jive, Yammer, LinkedIn and their customer success networks
- Coaching associations like the International Coach Federation and the International Association of Coaching
- Training providers like Dale Carnegie Training
There might be different contributions for each of these networks. I might do a free webinar for their members, write content for their magazines, or collaborate with them on customized training materials.
One group alone has 135,000 members. Combined, these networks touch millions of people.
What would you do?
To accelerate the movement, I’m going through the same questions people ask in the first week of a working out loud circle:
What’s my purpose?
Who can help me?
How can I contribute to those people?
What else would you do to remove friction, build momentum, or seed and amplify this movement? Which organizations might benefit from working out loud and how could I help them?
I'm sure I'm missing things, and I appreciate any and all suggestions you might have.