Working Out Loud: a circle to success?

Published on 15.11.2018

All for one and one for all. Instead of every man for himself? “Share knowledge” instead of “hoard knowledge.” What is more target-oriented? What better helps an individual, a group or a company to advance?

Clear and simple rules have made WOL well-known quickly.

Suddenly everyone is talking about it: Internationally active corporations such as Bosch, Daimler and Siemens are helping to spread it among their employees. Top managers and freelancers swear by it. Working Out Loud, also known as WOL, has managed to reach and fascinate many thousands of people in a very short time. It seems the ideal way to accompany the flexibilization of the working world and intelligent digitalization.

The amazing thing: The groundwork was first drafted by Bryce Williams in a 2010 blog post. Williams spotted a paradigm shift and a new mentality in, for example, blogs and the social media networks. To him it was clear that the trend is heading away from the selfish gathering of knowledge and moving towards altruistic knowledge sharing. Two components are closely related: Observable work + narrating work.

John Stepper developed Williams’ approach into a learning method. In 2015 he published the book “Working Out Loud: For a better career and life.” Stepper proves that he uses this methodology himself by, among other things, putting the WOL guides and additional information on his website free of charge.

What are the main features of Stepper’s “Working Out Loud” learning method?

The following five points form the core:
• Relationships
• Generosity
• Visible Work
• Purposeful Discovery
• Growth Mindset

How do learning and “growing” work in reality with WOL?

Founding a circle is fundamental. It consists of three to five people and exists for twelve weeks. At the beginning, each participant formulates a goal that he or she wants to achieve within twelve weeks. With help from the WOL guide, the participants work on integrating the above-mentioned five principles into their daily work and life. The circle meets regularly each week for one hour to share their experiences and to give each other tips on how to reach their own goals. The meeting can take place personally or virtually.

It makes sense for circle participants to come from different company divisions, departments or professions. This increases creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. It also creates new and profound contacts, which as a rule will be maintained even once the circle has broken up. This is certainly one of the reasons why especially companies with employees from different nations find the Working Out Loud method to be very successful.

Is Working Out Loud also suitable for classic networkers?

People who until now would not be considered perfect networkers are the ones who learn how to be more communicative about their work and their contributions. In this way, their knowledge is acknowledged more and can be put to better use for the circle and the company as a whole. But those who are already quite successful at networking also learn through the additional communication and confrontation with new behavioral patterns. To summarize: Win-win for everyone. It’s worth a try.

More on the topic of successful and motivated working can be found in, for example, our blog posts about the “Digital Workplace”, “Networking” and “Agile Project Management”.

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