If you care about diversity at work

When I worked in a big company, some of the best communities on our social intranet were related to diversity. The people leading them cared deeply about the different topics. Community members were creative and generous, and they brought a welcome sense of shared humanity to our workplace. It was inspiring.

Yet as good as they were, they were missing something.

Two kinds of extraordinary contributions

The focus of these communities tended to be on raising awareness. With their small budgets, they would host events with inspiring speakers followed by wine and networking. It might be a female executive talking about careers and offering advice, or an external speaker talking about their organization and how it makes a difference. A lot of work went into planning these events, and people liked them.

Campaigns were also popular. One of the most successful ones I remember was for Spirit Day in which people wear purple in support of the LGBTQ community. When that day came, I remember looking on our social network and seeing my feed awash in purple. There were photos from offices all over the world, people wearing purple dresses, shirts, ties, scarves, socks. People taking selfies and people formed in large groups, sharing heartfelt comments expressing their support and commitment. I remember how proud I felt that day, proud of my company and of the people in it.

When the music stops

Events and campaigns can be fun and inspiring. But when they end, participants are typically unsure of what to do next except wait for another event. Last week, I talked with people from universities across the U.S. about trying something different. It was a webinar for a Diversity & Inclusion group.

The group is pursuing a wide range of projects, and they sent me a list of them. One from an educator in Missouri jumped out at me.

“Using the Working Out Loud framework by John Stepper to develop improved skills in improving civil discourse in every day life of Extension educators working in their communities.”

Not only was she interested in being more effective herself, she was trying to change how people relate to each other and help them be more effective too. 

Something to try at your next event

At the end of the call with the universities, people signed up to join Working Out Loud Circles. The first step was to experience the benefits themselves, so they could see how best to apply it to their particular community. The next step would be to help their community form their own Circles.

You could do the same thing at your own event in your own company. If you’re in a diversity community, you’ve already discovered a goal you care about. Your relationship list would include people running other programs, potential partners, and those you admire who are making a difference. By Working Out Loud, you would build relationships with them, and get exposed to new ideas, approaches, and collaboration opportunities that would help you make more of a difference.

What you can also do is help your constituents develop those same skills, and apply them towards their own goals. If the systems and polices don’t give people the visibility and access they deserve, you can help them change the odds through the relationships they'll build.

Spreading Working Out Loud Circles is one way to empower yourself and the people you serve. 

News! Circle guides available & more



This week I wanted to share four bits of good news. Each one is a step towards helping more people work out loud for a better career and life.

Circle guides now available

A working out loud circle is the best peer support group for your career. The guides will help you form your own group and develop the habit of working out loud towards a goal you care about. There are already circles in 5 countries, and now it’s easier than ever for you to form one.

You can download the first part of the guide here. To get the rest of the guide, just subscribe to workingoutloud.com. If you’re already a subscriber, send an email to john.stepper@workingoutloud.com and say “Give me the guide!”

Final draft of “Working Out Loud” sent to the copyeditor

Woohoo! Thanks to the feedback from readers here and to some difficult collaboration over the past few months, the book is finally something I’m proud of. It should be on Amazon in 10-12 weeks as both a paperback and ebook.

Employee network groups beginning to form circles

Employee network groups are starting to host events based on “a career talk that everyone should hear.” If you have a women’s network or millenials' network, for example, and want help creating such an event, contact me at  john.stepper@workingoutloud.com.

New Facebook group to ask, share, and connect

We want to make it easy for people to ask questions and share stories and challenges. This new Facebook group can help. It’s also a good place to share photos of your circle and of you working out loud. For example, you’ll see me working hard on the book at Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.

Working out loud is a small global movement now. These four steps just helped that movement get a bit bigger.

Thank you.