Here are a seven simple tips to help those who want to encourage the use of working out loud in an organisation
1 Start with why
Working out loud is a change in work practices for your team. People will find it embarrassing, scary and strange. If you want change, you will need to help people to see the rationale. Explain the benefits you hope to see. Connect working out loud to your strategy. Measure and share the successes.
2 Start where your community is
If your organisation talks about work in the tearoom, don’t try to make them work out loud in a brand new technology. You will spend all your energies on the change of technology, before you get to the practices that create value. Put up a poster in the tearoom. Go where your communities currently engage and work there. If you have an enterprise social network all the better, engage its champions and heavy users.
3 Find volunteers
You promised engagement in the social network by December. If you make everyone work out loud, you will get there. Don’t. Forcing people to share defeats the generosity, the learning and the community from working out loud. It increases the chance they will try once and abandon the practice as alien. If I know you are working out loud only to meet an order, I don’t trust you more. John Stepper starts with career talks to find volunteers for working out loud circles. Start with your volunteers and find champions. Remember you are the first volunteer and should role model the way.
4 Simple Practices
Three simple habits. Working Out Loud Circles. Huddles. Posters with questions. Post-it notes on office doors. Town Halls. Sharing photos of work. Don’t overthink it or over-specify it. Authorised use cases can get in the way of serendipity. There are lots of simple options to help people start and see the benefit.
5 Connect networks
Working out loud circles work because people enjoy the peer support as they learn new practices. How can networks in your organisation reinforce the efforts of your few initial practitioners? Make them role models in your networks to find more volunteers. Go outside the organisation and bring in people to help. The working out loud community are a generous bunch.
6 Have Fun
What’s your version of Working out loud under the stairs. Take the stress out of the new and different by making it fun.
7 Take time
You won’t get 100% of your people doing anything any time soon. You may never. Take the time it needs for people to learn by doing and to convince each other with their success. Networks will spread success over time.