I can already anticipate my wife’s response when I share this statistic with her. “Darling,” I’ll say, “99% of the people in WOL Circles at Bosch said they would recommend them.”
There will be a pause, then a deadpan stare. “Darling,” she’ll say, “that’s not credible.”
As usual, she’ll be right. It is hard to believe. Yet the team at Daimler had similar results in their survey. How can that be?
First, a few disclaimers. The surveys are still small. The one at Bosch included 107 respondents out of the 500+ people who experienced a WOL Circle there, and the Daimler survey wasn’t any bigger. Also, I know that not all Circles are successful. People sometimes drop out because they’re too busy, or just not ready for whatever reason. For sure, we need to collect much more data.
Nevertheless, it’s a remarkable result for a change method inside a large corporation, and I think I know why these two institutions got such great results: It’s the way they introduced and spread WOL Circles.
The best write-up to date is a detailed article from Katharina Krentz at Bosch, where she outlined what they did, how they did it, and provided yet more survey results.
Katha emphasized the importance of a “co-creation team,” something Daimler has also formed. It’s a group of almost all volunteers who oversee the spread of WOL. They serve as the linchpins within the company, ensuring each Circle gets the support they need and overseeing the spread of the method across the company. They’re the ones who work with me, and who engage HR, Communications, and other divisions for events and integrating Circles into existing processes and programs like employee on-boarding.
This structure helps, and even more important is their approach. They frame WOL Circles as simply a personal development method that’s good for the individual and for the company. It’s described as “a guided mastery program for collaboration and networking.” (One manager at Bosch said he liked the method because “it’s simple, structured, and human.”) As they get more positive feedback, they spread the word while opportunistically looking for ways to spread the method.
These two co-creation teams are indeed excellent. The people are smart, creative, and kind, and they have an extraordinary ability to get things done. And because they Work Out Loud - offering what they did, how they did it, and what they learned - you can achieve similar results in your organization.
Note: I was wondering about the one percent at Bosch who did not recommend the practice. (Human nature dictates that I focus on the negative 1% instead of the positive 99%!) After I shared the statistic on the WOL Facebook Page, Katharina explained it:
“Fun fact: the 1% comes from someone who skipped this answer - so it was a mistake, not a real “no.”"