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#ChangeAgent Sabine Kluge shows how Working Out Loud can change the work world

Sabine Kluge is Global Program Manager for Learning and Development at Siemens AG. She is passionate about social learning, social networking and new forms of organization. She is also an expert on Working Out Loud and has gained a lot of hands-on experience. As a #ChangeAgent, Sabine shows that “Work. Different.” can also work in a corporation.

Sabine, if you could change one thing on the job market right away, what would it be?

I would immediately raise salary levels in social professions – childcare, nursing and geriatric care – to the level of an average academic employee in an average group. That would probably be +30 to 35%.

You are an expert on Working Out Loud. What does that mean exactly? And how do you contribute to change?

Working Out Loud is a way for individuals to gain networking skills. When we look at the parameters of a complex environment, we learn that causes and effects are no longer linked to one another. We observe phenomena that we alone can no longer judge by analysis and intelligence alone. To be able to make decisions in such an environment, we must quickly combine and network knowledge, experiment with it, and recognize patterns that help us to derive action.

Obviously, an individual’s networking competence (and of course also that of companies, both internally and with their ecosystem) can be learned. Or rather, the attitude that stands behind it. For decades, in Taylorist companies, people socialized within silos; swapping and sharing knowledge was not a priority and was even considered dangerous.

Working Out Loud helps people self-organize to (re) learn networking skills in small steps and with supportive peers. This has several side effects: people become self-sufficient and therefore have more courage to question existing structures and use their talents in the company. To me, the resulting change is a humanization of work as we know it today.

What does a company prepared for the “working world of tomorrow” look like to you? How can “WOL” help?

A company that is prepared for the working world of tomorrow:

  • puts all its leaders through a development program in which they learn the way “out of the pyramid”: this means dignified handling of loss of status and ownership, reverse mentoring with Generation Z, and proof of readiness for lifelong learning.
  • is today, in 2017, already sincerely and honestly on the path to continually questioning which areas still need to be controlled hierarchically, and which must be agile.
  • creates the smallest possible gap between the highest and lowest incomes and provides transparency to answer the question of why tasks are rewarded the way that they are. At the same time, there is the agreement that salary is not an inalienable right that comes with a career position.
  • takes diversity seriously, including through maximum flexibility of the organization
  • … and WOL helps because it encourages employees to demand answers and communicate across hierarchical boundaries; because it reduces dependency on ONE leader by building competence and a network. Another important aspect of WOL is that tasks and challenges solved in the network bring far better solutions – including with regard to market success.

Sabine, thank you for your time & inspiring answers!

In our #ChangeAgents section, we introduce people who encourage us to tackle and change things. Strong minds working passionately for a more humane working world, thus initiating a change in thinking and actively helping to shape change processes. Our #ChangeAgents are role models, lateral thinkers, multipliers and dissenters.

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