Working Out Loud

I’ve been following John Stepper’s journey for many years, we met in person at a Melcrum conference where we both had to do a terrifying quick fire presentation. He’s as amazing in person as he is virtually. And you can find out more about his work here Working Out Loud

On my return from maternity one of my colleagues shared that she’s starting to work out loud through the Community Roundtable and on a weekly basis she is sending me her list and in our one to ones we have started to discuss the book a few chapters at a time.

I am a big fan – in fact one of the areas we’ve been looking at within our Jive community is how can we encourage working out loud amongst colleagues. Over the years iterations of the Jive platform and changes to UI has pushed the ability to work out loud deeper into the weeds. At Pearson we used to ask the question “what are you working on?” front and centre of our homepage.


One of our first homepages in 2011

Alas we no longer have this capability and I think our community is suffering because of it. I no longer hear the anecdotal stories describing the serendipity moment that we had in the early days. I miss it.

What is the answer? Do we bring the status update back to our homepage? I’m not convinced this is the right way to go…our community is more mature some of our users are now more sophisticated than that. Which brings me back to Working Out Loud. John recommends creating WOL circles and we’ve talked about creating a dedicated space in our community for working out loud.

The challenge is bringing 36,000 people with you. It is a change in behaviour and change in the way people work and we all know change, engagement and communication can be really really hard.

Never one to step away because something is hard, we’re going to start small we’re going to model the behaviour ourselves and we’ll bring people along with us.

Of course this also means a massive shift for me because I’ve discovered working out loud isn’t coming naturally to me. But I am committed and I want to change my behaviour because I am a massive believer in setting out your intentions.

So here I am committing to working out loud and sharing my experience with you.

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6 Responses

  1. John Stepper says:

    Hello, Kim. I remember when I was just discovering enterprise social networks many years ago, and I was in the audience at a conference, watching you preeent your work. I was so inspired – and daunted. You were so far ahead in both your thinking and implementation.

    Over the years, I learned how hard it is to change things inside a big company, and my admiration grew as you’ve persisted.

    If I can help you in any way, it would be a privilege.

    Thank you for all your good work and your kind words in this post.

  2. Rachel Happe says:

    I’m loving the way your team is working out loud in TheCR Network – and in fact, they have made it better by modeling the behavior of circling back and holding themselves accountable to the previous week’s tasks.

    You are right in that 36,000 people cannot effectively work out loud together. My perspective is that this tends to work best in communities of practice and project team communities. In the first case, it helps expose what people know in a way that creates serendipity (our members ask each other all the time to share completed work because they are just about to start on a similar project – saving hours/weeks of time). In the second case, TheCR team does this in our team space and, because of that, have a lot fewer and shorter work status meetings than we might otherwise have to have, saving us hours of time over a month.

    If you can create a template of how space owners can implement this in smaller, higher trust spaces I think that works a lot better than is large loose networks of employees.

    Hoping we can catch up at JiveWorld and welcome back to work. Thanks for sharing your work!

    • Kim England says:

      Thanks Rachel as ever some great food for thought. I agree about creating a template and encouraging smaller groups to take on WOL. Unfortunately I won’t be at JiveWorld this year it clashes with my family vacation. Maren and Dina from my team will be there. Dina is sharing a tracked session with Kathryn Everest.

  1. June 24, 2017

    […] my last blog post which was…31st March I said that working out loud doesn’t come naturally to me and it was something I was going to […]

  2. January 15, 2018

    […] i’ve decided to do that through the process of Working Out Loud. I’ve written about it before and i’ve never quite made the leap of faith and joined a […]

  3. January 21, 2018

    […] year I made a commitment to Work Out Loud. I did work out loud, I shared a lot more of my experiences, interesting content on social media […]

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