“Would you recommend this method to your network?”

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.”" 

Who’s Working Out Loud? (Some statistics)

A recent look at Google Analytics gave me a sense for who’s visiting workingoutloud.com. Roughly 45,000 people have spent time on the site, and growth has been accelerating. Some of the numbers were surprising to me, so I figured I would share them.

Gender

The gender split is remarkably even. I would have assumed the percentage of women would be higher, as I personally see more women joining Working Out Loud Circles, but I would have been wrong.

Country

Though I’m based in New York City, I was still surprised to see the US as the location of most visitors. It feels to me like Germany is more active, but again the data doesn’t support that. I do know there are more German companies spreading WOL Circles. Once WOL is spreading inside a company, people tend to get all the WOL resources they need (like the Circle Guides) on their intranet instead of workingoutloud.com.

Age

I often say WOL isn’t just for the young or for people who like social media, and this chart seems to support that, in part at least. It feels reasonably representative of the workforce.  

Computer

More than a third of the people visiting workingoutloud.com do so from from a phone or tablet, and I expect that to increase. The data also shows that people spend less time viewing material on mobile devices.

Other data & a conclusion

There’s one more thing I’d like to know but can’t: How many people have experienced a WOL Circle? 

The reason I can't figure this out is that, as I alluded to earlier, most Circles are inside companies, and most companies put the free guides on their intranet or work with me to create custom versions. So while I can track downloads from workingoutloud.com, it’s a fraction of the total. My guess is that approximately 10,000 people have joined a Circle. 

My takeaway from all this data is that Working Out Loud is gradually spreading, reaching more people in more places. It’s a good start, and yet there’s a lot to do to make the kind of difference we want to make. 

What do you think? What else would you like to know?