Agility, knowledge exchange, silo teardown, cultural change, networking: these are some of the major topics in these times of digital change. So it seems natural that we’d find the movement around Working Out Loud (named after the eponymous book by John Stepper) very exciting. But what is this “loud work” anyway? And what exactly does the method have to do with flexibilization, digitization and the dismantling of silos? How can Working Out Loud be implemented? And what does it do in organizations?
What is Working Out Loud?
“Working Out Loud is simply a way of building relevant work relationships that can help you reach a goal or discover new topics.”
We live in a networked, globalized world. Nevertheless, there are still areas where networking has not penetrated completely: companies. And this despite the fact that the economic success of companies today increasingly depends on their networking. Working Out Loud is, to put it simply, a set of practical techniques and tools for building relationships and to acquire and harness much-needed networking competence. For many WOL devotees, however, it is much more than that. Working Out Loud is a way of life. It’s about using stories, practices and exercises to deepen relationships and change your own behaviors – to be more open, generous, and networked. It’s about relating to individuals as well as entire companies.
How does Working Out Loud work?
Working Out Loud is suitable for anyone who wants to work and live more openly, self-organized and networked. In practice, it’s all about what goal you’re pursuing. Working Out Loud starts with these three questions:
- What am I trying to achieve?
- Who can connect with my goal?
- What can I offer to those people in return to deepen our relationship?
The method is then practically implemented in a Working Out Loud Circle. You meet in small groups every week for 12 weeks (in person or digitally) and each participant works on their own goal with the help of the other group members. The WOL Circle can of course also be implemented in companies.
The instructions of John Stepper for the 12 Circle meetings can be downloaded here (in English and German).
WOL as a tool for networking competence
In fact, we and other companies are already using some WOL practices and techniques, unconsciously and without naming them as such. This is because digitalization needs new working models, structures and the right mindset. Without networks and collaboration, there can be no innovation. Without a transfer of knowledge, silos remain. Free and networked thinking is the foundation of cultural change. Today we have to be able to work digitally, self-organized, collaboratively and networked. Employees today need networking skills – Working Out Loud provides the tools to learn and use them.
Organizations need networked structures and fundamental cultural changes. Flexibility and collaboration are essential for holistic digitalization. However, neither are possible in silos. Much of the knowledge already lies in the minds of the employees – they must be given the opportunity to network and share their knowledge. They need space for exchange, mutual support and inspiration. Only in this way can flexible forms of work and real networks emerge. Thus, Working Out Loud can be an approach to empower the experts that businesses really need for digital change – their own employees – because the method helps to network experts and their knowledge, and promotes their digital collaboration. Working Out Loud supports the digitalization of companies – from the inside out.
Alexander Kluge explains on the yellow couch how important networking skills are today. He has been a consultant, advisor and supporter for more than 25 years – but also a startup founder, interim manager and university lecturer. Together with his wife, Sabine Kluge, he forms the Working Out Loud expert team.
Working Out Loud as a further step in cultural change
By working people into Working Out Loud sessions, their work becomes more visible, effective and fulfilling. They usually work in a more self-organized and networked way. This in turn means that the entire corporate culture becomes more open, innovative and collaborative; knowledge silos are torn down; and genuine knowledge sharing emerges. The result: agile, highly networked and digital companies.
No wonder, then, that companies like Siemens, Daimler, BOSCH and Continental are already successfully using Working Out Loud.
Forming Working Circles and networking with the right colleagues is also possible through our matching software. Direct, easy and bottom-up, of course.
Do you have own experiences that you can share? Any remaining questions or thoughts? Leave a comment!
Working Out Loud in practice
“Working Out Loud helps people to self-organize in order to (re)learn networking skills in small steps and with supportive peers. This has a number of side effects. People become self-sufficient and have more courage to question existing structures and use their talents in the company. To me, the resulting change is, therefore, a humanization of work as we know it today.” To the interview with Sabine Kluge
“But it is precisely the friction arising from different experiences, perspectives, problem-solving strategies or cultural differences that I find extremely important and valuable in the dynamic and complex working world of today – for individuals and for companies. The great added value of WOL for organizations lies in their grassroots character – it does not take a big change concept anymore, because the focus is on people.” To the interview with Sara-Lena Eisermann
“I try to operate and live by ‘Working Out Loud’ consistently and unconditionally. So, I make my work and my work results visible and discoverable for my colleagues. For me, the ‘Working Out Loud’ method is, from the point of view of the employees, the guarantor of success for successful work in the network and, from the point of view of the company, the prerequisite for being able to react better to a more difficult business environment.” To the interview with Rainer Gimbel