International Working Out Loud Week returns from 13-18 November with the theme of “Deepen Relationships and Create a Legacy”. This week is a chance to celebrate the practice of working out loud and sharing work. The goal for the week for practitioner of working out loud all around the world will be to share their work, the impact of working out loud and how it has changed their relationships and improved their outcomes.
Working out loud is the practice of purposefully sharing work in progress with a relevant community so that others can learn and can help. Working out loud is a way to understand the value of relationships and to learn more of what’s going on in the networks around you. Importantly, that sharing, learning and collaboration has an ongoing effect on not just your relationships but the legacies you leave in your work and your life. In this way, working out loud is an important part of reconnecting with our personal and work purposes and having a positive influence on others.
Nobody who works is an island. Every task and every challenge is meshed in a whole suite of relationships. Our approach to management and work with a strong emphasis on individual accountability and a preference for individual delivery can at times mask the critical nature of relationships to our work. Working out loud is a way to rediscover those relationships and add new meaning to them.
The first step in working out loud is to consider your purpose and understand the goals you want to achieve. Some of those goals are your own. Other goals flow into outcomes for your keep relationships. Thoughtfulness as to what you seek to achieve in relationships is one simple step to begin to deepen relationships.
Working out loud challenges each of us to understand and discover who is relevant to our work. Working out loud by taking work in progress and making it visible to our networks can help us expand the idea of who can help and who is really dependent on or involved in our work. Again relationships will be deepened by these reflections and interactions.
John Stepper, the author of a critical book & many key practices of Working Out Loud, has highlighted the vulnerability and generosity of spirit that is at the heart of effective working out loud. Working out loud is a process of mutual discovery, mutual exchange and mutual learning. Each of these elements are important to shift our transactional relationships onto deeper levels of understanding and relationship.
Create a Legacy
When we create a legacy, we fulfil our personal purpose. We don’t create a legacy for ourselves. We create a legacy for others, for all those who share relationships with us. Our personal purpose is expressed in our way of working and taking that out and sharing it with the world both helps discover and refine that purpose.
We often fail to understand that just sharing our own doubts, challenges and work can create a legacy. Showing people that work isn’t always perfect or easy can inspire others to take on their purpose and start the work.
Sharing our work also enables others to learn or to offer to help. Whether these outcomes accelerate your work or the work of others, there is the potential for quite significant outcomes from relatively minor effort.
Deeper relationships are the foundation of the most powerful legacy of all – a richer connection to civil society. If the last year or so has shown anything, it is that all our societies need to invest in understanding, deepening relationships, generosity and the cultural foundations of connection. For organisations going through rapid digital transformation, this need is even greater. New cultures and new interactions are being created and need to be shaped for the long term. We achieve far more as individuals, organisations and a society on deep cultures and relationships. That’s an important legacy that working out loud can help foster.
Enjoy your Working Out Loud. Share widely. Most important of all deepen relationships and create your legacy.