The pharma executive who works out loud

Roche logo

Roche logo

The first thing that caught my eye was the title of the article:

“Working Out Loud: A 21st Century Way of Collaborating”

The next thing was the title of the person who wrote it: Global Head of Strategic Innovation at Roche. Her name is Sheila Babnis.

The benefits she sees

I don’t know Sheila, but her description of why she works out loud was one I wish I had written.

“Working out loud is more than just sharing information. I see it as a key to building and strengthening relationships, helping to identify the right connections and having the right conversations that open the door to co-creation.”

Even better were the benefits she listed:

  • better access to information
  • know more about what is happening inside and outside the organization
  • make better decisions
  • solve problems faster

These aren’t just abstract benefits of sharing and connecting. They’re advantages every executive - every employee - could use at work. And she listed one more:

“My team has cut out meeting time by about 50% as a result.”

How did she do it?

Sheila described herself as “a little more than skeptical at the outset”:

“The idea was initially interesting but also a little uncomfortable. How could I possibly find the time, with everything on my plate, to go to yet another online place and openly share my thoughts and what I am working about?”

Two things seemed to make a difference. One was creating a structure for sharing her work.

“I blocked time on my calendar to share what I was working on with my community and also asked for feedback. I slowly found myself sharing work that was not yet complete. I started getting responses, which allowed me to take more risks. Now, the more I WOL (and engage with what others are doing) the more fluent I am becoming.”

The other thing she did was to get help, and she identified the person who helped her in the comments.

“Ayelet Baron worked with my team (and me) to help us make this amazing transition to new ways of working, expand exponentially what we could do and make even more possible.”

You and your firm

It’s great to see that a more open, connected way of working is spreading - and that there are more resources and experts available to help you and your firm.

If people at your firm don’t work out loud yet, consider sharing Sheila’s post, or one of the stories here on, or how WOL circles could transform your organization. If you need help, contact Change Agents Worldwide (of which Ayelet is a member) or send me email.

It’s 2015, and we’re overdue for a 21st-century way of working.