This International Working Out Loud Week we will be sharing a reflection on a different element of working out loud each day.  We will be using John Stepper’s latest iteration of the five elements of Working Out Loud as a guide to those reflections. Our second reflection is on Networks.

NETWORKS

We have always had other people involved in our work. We have always had colleagues, managers, partners, suppliers, customers, regulators and the broader community with an interest in what we do and how we do it. Every day as we do our work without even calling it networking we manage a complex series of relationships to get our work done. We don’t need to go looking for networks. We already have them.

With global connection through digital networks, our ability to see and connect to the networks of people around our work is now greater than ever. With greater connection comes greater demands for transparency, accountability and engagement. With greater connection comes greater opportunities for new information and for learning. Even if we wanted to do our work on a remote island, we would struggle to escape connection to these networks and their demands.

Working Out Loud challenges us to think of the role these networks play in our work and the role that we play in our networks. Working out loud doesn’t add any complexity to the work or to the networks.  That complexity is already there. Working out loud asks us some key questions: Who would benefit from greater visibility to our work? From whom can we benefit if they knew more about our work and our challenges? Working out loud does not demand that we engage the whole world all day. Working Out Loud asks that we share with those in our networks for whom our work matters in a meaningful way.

People who do not participate in networks are treated by the network like a blockage. They lose influence as the network routes around them seeking to engage in the necessary interactions. The value of Working Out Loud is it asks us to consider what role we should play in our networks and how we can better use our networks in our work. That is a critical element for anyone in the future of work.

International Working Out Loud Week is from 6-12 June 2016