Alas, it wasn’t given by me. In fact, I’ve never spoken to the person who delivered it. But I do know she produced some dramatic results.
Her name is Vanessa North, and she works in the Australian Tax Office in Adelaide. When she spoke to a group about Working Out Loud, 120% of the audience signed up to join a Working Out Loud circle and put the ideas into practice.
Here’s how it happened.
The original idea
A few weeks ago, I wrote about How Change Spreads and how it can begin with a single person who’s willing to try something different. Vanessa is that kind of person.
She had participated in a Working Out Loud circle and liked it so much she wanted to form more of them at work. By mid-December, she was ready.
“I’ve taken the step and scheduled an information session in the Tax Office in Adelaide for next week. I’m going to use your presentation slides as a starting point and ask people to sign up for a circle in the new year. I have emailed all my internal contacts and networks and will see how I go (there are about 1800 people here in Adelaide).”
I offered my help but she was already completely prepared. A few days later, I got an update:
Many thanks for your message.
I ran a WOL intro session with your slide deck and just asked people to come along and find out what WOL was about (using my existing networks in the Adelaide Tax Office and also a couple of people from other government agencies).
46 people came, a few people couldn’t come but still wanted to sign up, and a few heard about it afterwards.
So…. Wait for it…..
Out of 46 people who turned up I have 55 people signed up! So …. Drumroll please……I calculate that as a 120% sign up rate :-)
Here I am giving the presentation:
I have some great colleagues helping to co-ordinate and we are having 11 circles with five people in each circle.
I’m excited and inspired by the enthusiasm in the groups and how quickly the idea is spreading throughout the office. We have 1800 people in the Adelaide Office so I’m aiming to have them all signed up to a circle by the end of next year.
Thanks so much for sharing your enthusiasm, ideas and resources.
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you and yours.”
What might happen next
Of course I was please by her results. But I was even more delighted with her lovely note and her aspirational goal of reaching so many people.
When I asked Vanessa if I could blog about her event, she sent the photos below, and we arranged for me to speak with the circles in April to answer questions or just provide encouragement.
What’s next? Perhaps she’ll help 55 people think a bit differently. Or maybe together they'll spread circles and help 1,800 people across the Tax Office in Adelaide develop a new habit and mindset. Or maybe they'll do much, much more.