Working out loud #9

Another interesting practice appeared in the world of large cooperations: Working Out Loud. What problem does Working Out Loud tackle? First of all, we often find static and somehow restricted hierarchies in large or growing companies to manage tasks, responsibilities and complexity. Therefore, information and decisions live in the upper part of the pyramid, less information and only the final decision trickles down to the bottom. Knowledge is held within their own departments, also known as Knowledge silos, systematically creating an us and them inside the company. So it is actually very hard or even impossible to accumulate all the available knowledge that each employee acquired over time, this can be true for its own department or team and is definitely true for the company as a whole.

What I really liked about the talk from the initiator of WOL, John Stepper, is the following statement: “Knowing something is better for you is not enough.” It really resonates with me and also fits perfectly to commit #8. He developed a practice, a method, an approach that we can adapt to gain a bit more control, get more connected and constantly learn. Not only by ourselves – although intrinsic motivation is key – but with feedback and support from our peers.

Working Out Loud focuses on 5 key themes: relationships, generosity, visible work, purposeful discovery and a growth mindset. 
Through the 12 week process of the circle of 5 participants build trustful relationships and contribute their attention and appreciation to each other. Everybody can be a helpful resource, it’s not about promoting yourself or transactions rather than giving freely to the network and over the course everyone will benefit from it, so everybody wins.

When you work visible potentially anybody can follow the steps you are taking and what you are currently working on. This shared information can live on social media, personal blogs or in intranets. This way, some person might gain insight from your experiences and knowledge that accelerate their own learning curve by adapting your personal best practices or approaches. Thereby, purposeful discover gets even more attractive to other peers because they are somehow related to their own goals or interests. The growth mindset gains from that resources! There is no competition or failure, only the willingness to take small steps, make mistakes along the way and learn.

Stepper references to the Guided Mastery by Albert Bandura in the context of swinging the golf club. You can do it on your own and repeat the process over and over again, but the only thing you are learning is being terrible at golf. The process of learning begins with feedback and with new ideas to make something different and this results in making adjustments to the swing that you didn’t come up with by yourself. Peer support shares accountability and creates the support to make it through the ups and downs of change.

Working Out Loud takes all this into account. Everybody is working on their own goals but together. Creating more access to opportunities, gaining from the safety net of the group, getting better at dealing with change and enhancing communication skills in-person and within online tools. But the most striking part for me is getting into the bias of action, reflection and always the question of what contribution could be useful for other people.

And this is commit #9!

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