Working Out Loud Requires being Vulnerable

Working Out Loud (#WOL) requires being Vulnerable
Photo by Eric Ziegler
I love listening to Podcasts. I listen to podcasts when I drive to and from work. I listen to podcasts when I am on a long drive - 6+ hours. I listen to a broad spectrum of podcasts: Football (soccer), Finance, Economics, News, Public Radio, Social business, etc. This weeks blog is prompted by a one episode I listened to recently from the podcast Shift, by +Megan Murray and +Euan Semple.

The podcast I am referring to is episode 21, about Vulnerability. As I listened to the podcast the first thing that popped into my head was that Working Out Loud (#WOL) requires you to put yourself out there and to be willing to be vulnerable. When I think of working out loud, I think of people sharing what they are working on, asking questions, asking for input on a project, takling about an issue you are trying to resolve. In each of these situations you are risking that someone will think less of you. You need to be vulnerable to do any of those things.

People are scared of putting themselves out there and working out loud. They are fearful that there will be negative repercussions when they make a mistake out in the open. They are fearful that people will think less of them. They are not willing to risk sharing because there is no benefit or that other people will not find what they are sharing as interesting or informative.

The opposite is true. Working out loud has so many benefits and everyone should be doing it within an organization. People will learn and grow quicker and faster by working out loud. Organizations are more effective when people share and are open with each other. The likelihood of finding a piece of information increases as more and more people work out loud. People learn from each other only when information is shared. People improve and innovate on ideas only when ideas are discussed openly. By working out loud, your chances of getting the best information, in timely manner goes up tremendously. Even if a conversation happened out loud months ago, finding that piece of information increases because it was stored for others to discover, read and learn from.

So be brave, take the challenge, work out loud and be vulnerable.

Working Out Loud can not be Automated

Working Out Loud
Photo by Eric ziegler
Not sure how I ended reading an old post by +Bertrand Duperrin but I did.  Maybe something was calling to me.  Maybe it is just purely coincidence that I re-read his blog post. Either way, it has triggered me to write a blog post for the first time in several months. Let's dig in.  

Bertrand Duperrin, posted a blog post back in August of 2012 called Employees don't have time to waste narrating their work. What caught my eye originally was the title. First reaction, huh? You have to be kidding me. Bertand might be just trying to be sensationalistic with his title, I am not sure.  But it did catch my eye and cause me to read his blog post. While the title is interesting, I have to say that the blog post hits a nerve. Bertrand starts his blog post with a concept that I agree with ...

It’s impossible to think about emergent collaboration and self-organized structures without visibility on others’ work. 

This first sentence makes me think of +Change Agents Worldwide (@chagww, #CAWW). Why?  #CAWW is a self organized emergent collaboration organization that is about helping individuals, teams, companies, employees, etc. be more effective.  #CAWW works as a network of individuals that interact, share, and cooperate and collaborate on different topics and ideas, always trying to improve upon ideas that will help organizations be more effective. It is almost like he wrote this sentence with the concept of #CAWW in mind. 

In Bertrand's 3rd paragraph he continues down the same path by stating ....

collaboration, cooperation, problem solving and even innovation requires something to be shared so trigger the dynamic. Moreover, people often don’t realize they can be helped : sometimes we believe we’re doing right while we’re doing wrong, we’re doing right while we could do better, differently.

While the first sentence could be interrupted several ways, this statement does not align with the title at all. Only after you get more than half way through the blog post do you start to see where the title becomes relevant.  I believe this statement best summarizes the rest of the blog ... 

if people’s work’s worth being narrated, people should not always be the narrator. Their time is too precious to ask them to play the role of transponders. 

So now I get it.  People's time are too important to waste on working out loud (#WOL).  Bertrand continues and discusses the idea of having systems do the narrating by automatically creating activities in an activity stream - weekly reports, updates to profiles, etc.    I understand where he is going, but I think this concept misses the importance of working out loud (#WOL).

What do I believe? The idea of working out loud is not about the automated interactions? There is some value, but the biggest value is sharing information in a way a system can never do. Sharing information includes asking questions or putting a thought out that could trigger a thought by someone else. Automatic system updates are too prescribed to cause an emotional reaction by the receiver and bacause of that, the value it just not as high.  

I will say though, I do agree with his concept of having people jump out of their every day work systems to work out loud is not effective. To get people to be most effective, the system to work out loud needs to be integrated into the systems they work in every day.

Automatic system updates are the antithesis of what social networks are about. While an automatic update might provide value, they do not deliver come anywhere close to providing the same amount of value as working out loud.