When we begin to incorporate the practice of working out loud into our work we can inadvertently fall into an unhelpful pattern of seeking help only when work is hard. Working out loud when it is easy is important to balance the risks of working out loud by building relationships of trust and collaboration.
We Work Out Loud When It is Hard
Working out loud when work is hard is obvious. If you are facing a big challenge, there can be real benefits of getting the insights, ideas, resources and support of others. Your network when aware of your challenges can make a big impact. For many people sharing challenges is where they want to start their working out loud. Working on a big challenge together with others can bring many rewards, including the feeling of heroic leadership.
However, working out loud when work is hard is a time when we feel the risks of sharing can be greater. Bigger challenges bring their own sets of fears. Do we look incompetent? Are we creating an impression we need help a lot? Are we too demanding on our networks? What if nobody can help because the task is too hard? Many of these fears can be managed through careful framing of our requests for help, choosing where we share and by considering the needs of others. However, it is also important that we don’t just share our big challenges. A consistent practice of working out loud helps.
Work Out Loud on the Easy Work Too
When work is easy, we often forget to work out loud. There are a number of reasons:
- We want the exclusive credit for our easy successes.
- We assume there is no better way
- We can do them so quickly we forget to share or don’t reflect on our experience.
- We don’t value the things that we do well.
- We assume everyone else knows
Whatever the reason we are missing opportunities for shared value. What is easy to us is not always easy or obvious to others. Others can learn from our easy work. Sharing credit with your network can be a great way to give back to those who help us when times are tough. Importantly, showing people what you do that works well helps build a great profile and balances out the traditional risks of sharing when work is hard.
Building a relationship of trust and collaboration with your networks is far easier when you are consistent.