Frequently Asked Questions
What is Working Out Loud?
Working Out Loud is an approach to building relationships that can help you in some way. It’s a practice that combines conventional wisdom about relationships with modern ways to reach and engage people.
When you Work Out Loud, you feel good and empowered at the same time, because the practice taps into your intrinsic needs for autonomy, mastery, and purpose. As people across an organization Work Out Loud, work becomes more effective and fulfilling, and the culture becomes more open and collaborative.
What's involved? How do I Work Out Loud?
The practice starts with three simple questions:
- What am I trying to accomplish?
- Who's related to my goal?
- How can I contribute to people to deepen our relationship?
Picking a simple goal makes it purposeful, and orients who you choose to build relationships with and what kinds of contributions you might make. Instead of networking to get something, you lead with generosity, investing in relationships that give you access to other people, knowledge, and possibilities. Your contributions can range from recognition & appreciation to sharing learning, resources, and original work that might be helpful to others. .
How do I start? What's a Working Out Loud Circle?
One of the best ways to start is to form a Working Out Loud Circle. That's a peer support group of 4-5 people who meet for an hour a week for 12 weeks. In your Circle, you each pick an individual goal you care about, and short, simple guides help you find people related to your goal and develop relationships with them. By the end, you’ll have developed a larger, more diverse network and a set of habits you can apply toward any goal.
Are they individual goals? What about teams or shared goals?
In the Working Out Loud Circles, you pick an individual goal you care about. That helps you tap into your intrinsic motivation. There is also a set of Circle Guides for Teams that's being piloted now, and experiments are being planned for Communities of Practice and other groups with shared goals. You can read more about the pilot in a recent blog post, "Co-creation with Bosch and Postshift." Or send me email at email@example.com.
What if I’m not an extrovert or don’t like social media?
What matters most is that you frame your goals in terms of other people and in terms of contributions you might make that could deepen the relationship. That requires empathy, reflection, and mindfulness more than extroversion or facility with tools. The blog posts in the related resources go into much more detail.
How might this apply to an organization?
Almost every organization is looking for ways to be more agile or innovative. They also want a more engaged workforce. Yet, the change management programs and digital transformation programs typically miss the most important piece: changing day-to-day behavior.
Working Out Loud Circles help people develop new habits and a new mindset at work. As more people across an organization Work Out Loud, work becomes more effective and fulfilling, and the culture becomes more open and collaborative.
As Circles start to spread, I will often work with organizations to customize the Circle Guides, conduct training using that material, and personally support the first waves of Circles. By referring to the goals, examples, and technology of the organization, the WOL Circle process becomes even more effective. For more information, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related Resources including common goals for WOL Programs:
- On-boarding: Helping new joiners be more connected & productive more quickly
- Adoption of digital tools (Social Intranets, etc)
- Helping leaders leverage digital tools to engage their organizations
- Improving employee engagement by tapping into employees' intrinsic motivation
- Fostering a mindset of experimentation & innovation
- Empowering people in diversity communities
- Creating a more effective mentoring program
- Graduate training programs: enabling new employees how to navigate the organization
- The missing piece in most organization change programs (Blog post)
- FAQ: "How do we get management support?" (Blog post)
Who’s doing the most with Working Out Loud?
Circles are in over 25 countries and a wide range of organizations, from corporations and non-profits to universities and government. Bosch, the global engineering firm headquartered in Germany, has done the most to spread Working Out Loud Circles and also to adapt the practice for their organization. Many other organizations are now following their lead.
Are there any measurable benefits?
The best data currently comes from surveys done at Bosch and Daimler, where people who have experienced a WOL Circle have universally said they would recommend the method to their network. Click on the link below for more details and additional survey results.