As International Working Out Loud Week approaches on 7-13 November 2016, many people want to experiment with working out loud in their networks and their organisations. Here’s how to use the 7 days of International Working Out Loud Week underway and to set up your working out loud practice ongoing.
We know new practices are best learned through experience and consistency of practice. Using a practice consistently is the way to iron out the kinks, to learn what works for you and to build new habits.
Here are seven days’ worth of actions to get you started on working out loud during working out loud week.
Day 1: Share a Purpose
Choose some purpose that is important to you to make the focus of your #wolweek efforts. This purpose may be delivering a great outcome in a project for a group of stakeholders or it could be a personal ambition in your life or your career. The purpose doesn’t have to be something big but it needs to be something that is worthwhile for you and others to pursue. When you have chosen the purpose, share that you are working on it with some relevant stakeholders. You might post a message in a group in an enterprise social network or other community. You might share it on social media like Linkedin, Facebook, Snapchat or Twitter. You might just put up a notice by your desk describing the project that matters to you. Feel free to repeat this step if you have more than one purpose to tackle.
Day 2: Make a Connection
Ask yourself who else might be interested in your work to fulfil that purpose. Find someone new with whom you don’t usually interact. Your challenge for day 2 is to introduce yourself to this person or otherwise make a connection. Join a group that they are a part of, follow them on social media, ask a friend to make an introduction. Whatever you do take one step towards enriching the networks of people around your work. Feel free to repeat this step to connect a community around your work. A great step at this stage can be to start a Working Out Loud Circle with some new connections. Working Out Loud circles are a great way to deepen relationships in an ongoing way.
Day 3: Make a Contribution
Working Out Loud is more successful if it is approached with generosity. On Day 3, take the time to make a contribution to another person who is connected to your purpose. Reach out and help them in their work in some way. Perhaps you can share some information, a connection, a skill or just recognition of their efforts. Find a way to make someone else’s work easier. Feel free to repeat this step as often as you like.
Day 4: Share Your Progress
Choose one part of your project that is currently undergoing work. Take that work and make it visible to a group of stakeholders who are interested and can help. Add whatever commentary you need to make sure that they understand where you are at and your purpose in sharing the work is to learn from them and get their feedback. Feel free to repeat this step as often as you like.
Day 5: Share A Need
Ask for some help from your network. Focus the request on some people who are connected to your work and ideally experienced the first four days of working out loud. Don’t be discouraged if nothing happens immediately. People are busy and some times the answer is that you are not alone in your challenge. Feel free to repeat this step often, but remember that the best requests for help come in reciprocal relationships.
Day 6: Celebrate Help
Celebrate the contribution another person has made to your work. Make that celebration timely, specific and celebrate them in a way that helps build their reputation in their network and yours. Feel free to repeat this often. We don’t recognise others enough.
Day 7: Plan Next Steps
At the end of a busy week take some time to take stock. Reflect on what you learned working out loud this week. What can you do differently next week. Now plan your next week to carryon on this practice. Feel free to repeat this reflection and planning often.
Feel free to repeat these 7 steps every day after Working Out Loud Week. The goal after all is a new way of working.
Thanks to John Stepper for the inspiration from his book Working Out Loud and his Working Out Loud Circle Guides.
International Working Out Loud Week Partners
International Working Out Loud week is proudly supported by its principal partner Change Agents Worldwide, a network of professionals specialising in future of work technologies and practice. Members of Change Agents Worldwide actively practice, consult on and advocate working out loud.