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Part 3: The Discomfort of Working with Reality

Learning is a common source of discomfort in the future of work. A related source of discomfort is that many future of work practices force us to focus on reality – whether that is the reality inside our organisations, the world of our customers and communities or wider society. We cannot learn to sit with discomfort until we embrace the fact that discomfort is a part of that reality.

Hope is not a Strategy

Embracing discomfort demands we stop the delusion of wishing for change and waiting for something better to come along. We can’t rely on a hope for an improvement. We can’t wish discomfort away. We can’t rely on the actions of others. We can’t wait and see.

Wishful thinking prevent us from being present with our discomfort. Wishful thinking prevents us from learning. It mitigates the prod of discomfort we need to learn and to act differently.

Too often inside the comfortable confines of an organisation, you will hear discussions that reflect wishful thinking that ignores the demands of the uncomfortable reality outside:

  • our customers are different to those of our low-cost digital competitors and will continue to pay a premium for our service
  • our brand, distribution channels, product or approach is unique
  • our strategy is not showing results now but has always delivered in the long run
  • our employees are loyal
  • millennial employees will help us…
  • the customer dissatisfaction or employee disengagement is a flaw in the methodology or a lack of accurate representation of reality
  • community concerns are the work of a vocal minority
  • they just don’t understand and their views will improve if we communicate more

If we are to engage with the reality of the situation we need to start to to address the needs of our organisation, our employees and our communities in a realistic way. Today.

The Passion for Packaged Solutions

Leaders love a quick fix to discomfort. They are often willing to ignore reality to have the sensation of having acted to address the discomfort. Prodded by discomfort, they want to wish it away by immediate action. These actions include:

  • Buy a new piece of technology
  • Launch a program or initiative
  • Hire a new team
  • Implement a new process or methodology; or worse
  • Seek quick wins, which are usually neither quick nor wins but are merely comforting activity for its own sake

In our digital networked world, many of the issues causing discomfort in organisations are systemic or human issues. Pre-packaged solutions may help ameliorate these human or systemic issues at the edges or temporarily, but they do not help create enduring solutions. Organisations and their leaders need to engage in the reality of change over time to tackle this kind of discomfort through building new human capabilities, improving the system through adaptation and through engagement of the participants in the system. If they don’t, we have an ever rotating menu of quick fixes being implemented and failing.

Learning from Inclusion and Diversity

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The value of working out loud is it can help reveal to you blindspot. In the classic 2×2 of a Johari window, a blindspot is those things that are not known to you but a are clearly known to others. Yesterday on twitter, Rachel Happe helped me highlight a blindspot in this discussion of discomfort.

Presenting discomfort as a permanent experience is no surprise to Rachel’s list of those who we have ignored as leaders. There is real capability to lead and influence change in those who have been marginalised by the reality of power structures. I have seen this in my work with Change Agents Worldwide.

My blindspot was I had planned this post from the perspective of an advocate for diversity and inclusion but had not included the perspective of these other voices.  I wanted to write in this post about the importance of diversity and inclusion for organisations as a way to engage with the reality of their world and the reality of the communities around the organisation.

The research is clear that diversity and inclusion improves performance. One potential reason is that it brings new perspectives, new capabilities and new conversations into the organisation to improve learning and adaptation to the world. Those conversations can be uncomfortable. That discomfort is one of the barriers to diversity and inclusion as leaders fall for the illusion that comfort and ‘cultural fit’ in teams improve effectiveness by removing these difficult and at times uncomfortable conversations.

The insight of Rachel’s tweet is that the productive discomfort of diversity and inclusion is not created. That discomfort is a sharing of the existing experience of marginalised who struggle to find authority and to make positive change to better fit the organisation to society. Genuine community engagement is not easy and should not be. A strong civil society or a strong organisation includes all views and manages debate and conflict. Inclusion requires a real sharing of power, voice and agency. Our organisations and our society will be better if we engage with that reality.

The next post will be on the role of leaders in discomfort.

This post is part of a multi-part series exploring discomfort in the future of work. Future posts will examine how organisations, leaders and individuals can manage this discomfort. These posts are part of a process of working out loud to explore these uncomfortable concepts so feedback is welcome.

Part 1: The Role of Discomfort.

Part 2: The Personal Discomfort

Part 2: Personal Discomfort in the #FutureofWork

The Organisation Man, and it was mostly a man, wore a suit, travelled to work each day in the same organisation, had a boss who he looked up to, had meetings, made telephone calls, and pursued the individual task of moving paper from the in-tray to the out-tray. At the end of the day around 5pm the Organisation Man went home. Our vision of this stereotypical 1950s style experience of work is a vision of a comfortable and predictable existence with a steady career escalator to provide the gradual rewards. Many still long for this level of certainty and safety in work, even if they don’t long for the gendered roles.

Our Future of Work Worker isn’t just an employee. They juggle a portfolio career as employee, parent, volunteer, consultant, contractor, entrepreneur, and director. They wake to a flurry of overnight messages, emails and updates. Before breakfast they are taking calls from colleagues and customers. The plan for the day is shattered by the 9am standup and he or she struggles to learn what they need to, know just in time to do what needs to be done all day. Meetings, agendas, locations and more are reshuffled on the run and instant messaging and video calls pepper the interludes. When others leave and the calls and emails start to slow, the worker catches up on missed messages, prepares for the next day, has a late video call, prepares another presentation, solves a crisis or two and juggles a late change. After family and dinner, another part of the portfolio demands attention. Late in the day with a sense that there is more to do, more to know and that progress is elusive, the worker collapses into bed ready to begin again. From bed to bed, comfort is not even a thought.

We have embraced change, complexity and uncertainty as the heart of human work. We have to embrace the discomfort that comes with it.

The Work of Learning

Harold Jarche uses the phrase “Work is learning and learning is the work”. We have optimised so many aspects of work to emphasise the continuous and networked nature of learning. The practices we have embraced as future of work practices all have a shared core of not just learning, but networked collaborative learning: agile, lean startup, design thinking, collaboration, flat organisation structures, transparency and more.

We learn when we are out of our comfort zone. We must accept that the nature of work as we move forwards is primarily outside the comfort zone, in the zone of discomfort where learning is paramount. The comfortable predictable repetitive work is that which is being consumed by lower priced competition – outsourcing, offshoring, and automation.

At a personal level, we must embrace the discomfort and focus on the opportunity to learn and to grow rapidly. As noted in Part 1, we also need to look for work and learning opportunities that deliver the positive characteristics of Flow. The discomfort is not going away. We must at least gather the benefits of learning, growing capabilities and the richness of our new networked interactions with others. Working out loud can play a key role in helping us to manage this transition to a more uncomfortable mode of work and learning.

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Consciously Incompetent

People embracing Working Out Loud like many future of work practices must battle with discomfort. Whatever our level of expertise or the stage of our career, there is a good chance we are competent for the process centred expectations of our work. Recruitment, selection and talent management processes are usually highly effective in delivering process competence. Induction, on boarding and experience in a role tailors this individual capability into unconscious competence in the process of each role.

Adoption of new future of work practices forces a return to conscious incompetence. The practice feels alien. Work seems harder, slower and ineffective at first when the skills in these practices are new. Conscious incompetence is deeply uncomfortable in organisations that place a high emphasis on competence and performance. For many people, this discomfort or the associated fear and distrust become too great a barrier to persist with a new practice. Adaptation is lost when discomfort is avoided.

Worse still most future of work skills come in practices, not processes. The learning process has no end point. Mastery remains a quest. There is no moment when endless comfort returns. We need recognise that in a rapidly changing, complex and uncertain world we will always be a little incompetent. We always have more to learn.

Being Present with Discomfort

Our Future of Work worker must learn to be present with discomfort. Discomfort is not going away. It cannot be stopped. Discomfort can be embraced, leveraged and mitigated.

Managing one’s own discomfort requires the courage to face and accept that discomfort for the benefits it will deliver in learning. Managing discomfort requires some compassion for yourself and for others who are experiencing their own discomfort, because increasing there’s will only increase yours in a networked collaborative world. Compassion also requires you to know your tolerances and when to retreat, relax or protect yourself and others. Managing discomfort requires hope or at least acceptance. Most importantly of all managing discomfort requires a community.

To tackle the continual challenges of learning in the future of work, we need to embrace the reality of our situation and explore the potential of learning, mastery and connection to others to provide the rewards of growth and achievement.  The next post in the series will look at the need to embrace the reality of discomfort individually and collectively.

This post is part of a multi-part series exploring discomfort in the future of work. Future posts will examine how organisations, leaders and individuals can manage this discomfort. These posts are part of a process of working out loud to explore these uncomfortable concepts so feedback is welcome.

Part 1: The Role of Discomfort.

 

 

Part 1: Discomfort in the #FutureofWork

When we talk about the future of work, we talk about managing learning, creativity, uncertainty and complexity as human roles. The processes, the predictable and routine will be automated. What we do not discuss enough is that with this shift comes an explicit embrace of discomfort. We need to value discomfort in our organisations.

The Role of Discomfort

We aren’t always comfortable in a business context to use emotive language. One reason we tend to slip past discussion of discomfort in the future of work is that we tend to use rational logical language like uncertainty and complexity to discuss the work context. These are terms with precise, businesslike and emotionless language. We don’t explicitly pull into view the emotional flip side that comes with a human experience of these states.

  • What does uncertainty feel like: uncomfortable, frightening, doubtful, etc
  • What does complexity feel like: uncomfortable, overwhelming, challenging, etc

The concept of Flow from positive psychology highlights that we can create positive experiences from challenge, but only when we focus, experience our capabilities rising to match the challenge and get feedback on our progress. In many demanding modern workplaces with thousands of electronic daily distractions, these conditions are not being met, while the uncertainty,complexity and pace of change continues to rise.

Many of the practices advocated as part of the future of work attempt to bake an increased level of discomfort into work. The theme generally is that it is better to have a small difficult conversation early rather than suffer a failure or breakdown later. The list of practices that encourage or increase the frequency of uncomfortable conversations is long: purpose, values, agile, lean start-up, holacracy, working out loud, collaboration, transparency, design thinking, etc.

What we need to embrace is the role that discomfort comes with a strong focus on learning. The value of humans in complex and uncertain activities is collaborative learning. Each of us learns when we are out of our comfort zones. When we are out of our comfort zones together, the quality of our interactions becomes critical.

Ending the Parent-Child Relationship of Employee Comfort

Increasing discomfort in the workplace crashes straight into our traditional paternalistic approach to employee engagement. The goal is defined as creating a positive, engaged employee committed to the goals of the organisation and prepared to offer discretionary efforts internally and externally. Uncomfortable thoughts need not apply. The implicit or explicit promise of much employee engagement literature is that the role of the employer (fulfilled by senior management) is to make employees comfortable – provide a clear vision and purpose, simplify processes to make them easier, provide security of benefits and career, provide consistently rewarding work, and lead effectively.

Lead effectively is perhaps the most dangerous phrase in that list because so much of our leadership expectation is hierarchical and modelled on a benevolent parent. Leadership in any human context is not parenting. In a future post we will consider effective leadership for uncertainty and complexity. Without that clarity, we continue to see leaders who feel that their responsibility should be to take away uncertainty, to reduce complexity and to remove discomfort. By taking the work on themselves, these leaders dramatically increase their own discomfort, fail in their roles and fail their employees. Avoiding the work only makes the situation worse for all involved.

We need to accept that discomfort is not going away in our workplaces. The organisation and its leaders cannot take on the responsibility of removing the adverse affects of a changing environment of work. Removing employees entirely would be an easier challenge (and one many employers seem to embrace). Rather than removing discomfort the challenge for any organisation embracing the future of work is how to manage discomfort and how to ensure that it is productive for employees and the organisation.

This post is part of a multi-part series exploring discomfort in the future of work. Future posts will examine how organisations, leaders and individuals can manage this discomfort. These posts are part of a process of working out loud to explore these uncomfortable concepts so feedback is welcome.

Part 2: Personal Discomfort in the Future of Work

Collaboration Everywhere

My early business career was in business development, buying and selling businesses and pulling together joint ventures. One thing I learned through that experience is that no matter how conflicting someone’s position was to yours, there was always a way to work together. You just needed to understand how and where their interests aligned with your goals.  Work hard enough to understand what they want and eventually a path forward together will open up.

Collaborating with Enemies

Reading the book ‘Collaborating with the Enemy’ by Adam Kahane recently, I realised how this early business experience meant I came to the work of organisational collaboration with an uncommon mindset. Kahane highlights that much discussion of collaboration focuses on the idea of one cohesive team with an agreed view of the problem and the solution. Kahane contrasts this with his term ‘stretch collaboration’ where there are multiple groups in conflict, where the group needs to experiment a way forward to solve the issues and where maintaining engagement is a key challenge. My friend Harold Jarche makes a similar point with his distinction between collaboration and cooperation.

This distinction is a critical one in organisational contexts. In many corporate and client situations in which I have worked the value of in team collaboration is obvious to people. In a team, everyone shares a leader and there is clear alignment of goals. The value of collaboration outside that team is usually less clear to employees who have come to see other teams as competing for resources, success and even existence. The great challenge of organisations seeking to transform to digital ways of working is not moving faster in the inner loop of the team. Moving faster and more effectively in a team context is a problem whose dynamics are largely known and there is leadership to deliver that outcome. The challenge of digital success is engaging the complexities and misalignment of the wider organisation.

Creating Psychological Safety for Collaboration

I can see now that my early career experience meant that I didn’t always fully understand the reticence of people to engaging in this wider outer loop stretch collaboration. Much research has highlighted the need for leaders and teams to create psychological safety to enable effective collaboration. Employees aren’t going to take risks and experiment if the environment feels unsafe.

My previous career experience had given me an unusually high sense of safety in risky forms of collaboration.  Worse still, it was obvious to me that you could collaborate to mutual advantage with competitors and people who shared no interest in your success. That is not a point that is obvious to employees who don’t feel safe in their organisation.

Organisations have not made that point obvious to their employees and many poor leaders enhance the within team dynamic by excerbating competition with and fear of others in the organisation. One of the benefits of working out loud is to enable people to discover the value of connection with people beyond their day to day networks and also to discover through contributions how their interests might align to achieve goals.

Focus on Alignment

One of the key themes of the work that I have done with organisations, leaders and employees using the Collaboration value maturity model is to stress the value of alignment, a step usually skipped in people’s rush to deploy new technology and race to the good bits of collaboration, like innovation.

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The Connection and Sharing phases of the Collaboration Value Maturity Model are opportunities for teams to understand and develop the rationales, behaviours and trust required for more effective collaboration. Activity in these two phases, led by leaders at all levels who are looking for alignment and are seeking connection to higher strategic goals, builds an environment of psychological safety and a strong imperative for employees to connect, share, solve and innovate together well beyond the boundaries of their immediate team. Working out loud reinforces the transition from sharing to solving as employees increasingly discover their interests are aligned with widely divergent teams across the organisation.

The value of the Collaboration Value Maturity Canvas is as a tool of alignment and one that reflects the fractal nature of collaboration in large organisations. The Canvas brings people together to see what they share and how their individual and team contributions to collaboration can achieve wider goals.  Like Kahane’s idea of stretch collaboration, the Canvas does not deliver a strict plan but shapes a series of experiments to tackle the challenges of collaboration in the wider outer loop.  The Canvas is not a process or a recipe. It becomes a map as people take the initial pathways and then build out their own.

We shouldn’t need everyone to go experience the challenges of business development in strange markets to build cultures of enterprise collaboration in the modern workplace. What we need is leaders and teams that are prepared to work out loud and focus on the opportunities of alignment in the broader domain of the organisation and its goals.

Simon Terry enables collaboration in organisations through Working Out Loud and using the Collaboration Value Maturity model approach. The Collaboration Value Maturity Canvas is a 2-hour workshop to enable organisations to discover the essential elements of alignment in their collaboration strategy. Get in touch to learn more.

 

Noticing Out Loud

A few weeks ago, I was struck by the idea that I was commuting to and from work and not paying much attention to the environment around me. Paying attention to little things has been a big source of inspiration for the posts on this blog. I didn’t want to miss opportunities. I chose to pay attention.

I began to reflect on what I was seeing as I walked, caught planes, trains and cars to work in my own and other cities. Some of those reflections caused me to research the history of particular aspects of our work culture like business attire. Other reflections left me with open questions or new topics of inquiry.

Because my habit is to work out loud, I shared the first of the insights on twitter and added the hashtag #morningcommute. That hashtag is a reasonably busy collection of messages of people sharing content about their morning commute. Like any effort at working out loud, I was sharing thinking in progress with a relevant community in my followers on twitter and that hashtag. Because I shared them in the moment, there was a good chance others would be in the same experience at the time too. I had started noticing more and now I was noticing out loud. Most importantly, I tried to frame each tweet as the start of a conversation. There was more I wanted to learn. Here was this morning’s effort:

What struck me immediately was the extraordinary conversations that began to happen each day triggered by the tweet. That tweet alone has generated discussion on digital tribes, trust and connection in under 30s and the future of work, the coaching of kids sport teams and how we teach people to collaborate, the value of talking to strangers and where to find the pack mentality.

I was surprised to get answers and insights from people around the world. Many correspondents were on their way home or even at the end of their day. Some topics went on for days. Others faded immediately.

With one simple step, my efforts to pay better attention were supported by a global community who helped me benefit in my work and presumably benefit in return. A few people became regular partners in conversation on my journey to work. It reconnected me to people with whom I had lost contact. Even better I learned a lot and the discussions pushed me to consider insights I had missed.

Each of these interactions encourages me to keep going, to pay more attention, to reflect more and continue to share. Sharing a simple moment out loud helped me find a community to support the work of paying attention.

No insight or action is too small or too insignificant for working out loud. The community will help you discover value you cannot yet see. The simple act of noticing might be enough to create a special moment of connection.

Leadership of the Inner Loop, Outer Loop and Transition

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Leaders need to change their style of work to suit the different types of engagement in different domains.  Leaders should recognising that open collaboration in platforms like Yammer focuses more on leading by influence. They can also play a critical role in helping people see the opportunities to work in different ways through coaching and mentoring

One of the areas for further discussion I called out in the post on the role of Transition in Inner and Outer Loops was the area of leadership. It is important to note that leadership in this context includes hierarchical managers but is also wider, including the leadership actions of peers and other champions. Leadership, in the sense of inspiring action in others, might be a key expectation of managers but we know that not all managers are leaders. This post examines how leadership fosters collaboration in each domain and the role leaders play in tranitioning between domains of work. In the previous post, I said

People don’t need to know ‘what to do where’ so much as they need to know when their current mode of work is ineffective.

Leaders, whether hierarchical or peer leaders, help people see these opportunities to change.

Inner Loop – Leading Performance and Execution

Most managers are familiar with the approaches to achieve performance in teams focused on execution and continuous improvement. The challenge is usually the consistency of a manager’s leadership behaviours.

Inner Loop platforms can help increase the volume and velocity of communication of managers in these teams, addressing a key challenge for many managers in their performance and their leadership.  Better awareness across the team and its stakeholders of key issues and challenges will also enable managers to chose to lead in more relevant ways that drive better performance.

As teams embrace the potential of the Inner Loop, transparency, autonomy and rapid communication, also increases the potential for peers to play a leadership role. The Inner Loop should also enable greater sharing of customer feedback and voice to guide performance and shape the improvement opportunities pursued. Hierarchical leaders should be encouraging customer focus in decision making in this domain and encouraging other leaders to take action to drive improvements in performance.

Agile has seen rapid adoption as a work practice because of its potential to support autonomous teams reacting to new customer feedback where leadership can come from any role.  The Inner Loop of rapidly adapting teams, both hierarchical and cross-functional, is a great environment to develop the leaders of the future.

Transition – Leaders Create the Need to Change

We can get so focused in our execution challenges or so enthusiastic about our communication with a wide network that we don’t see the need to change our behaviours. In both the Inner and Outer Loops of collaborative work, coaches and mentors can play a key role in helping individuals to improve their performance.

Coaching is critical in encouraging individuals and teams with a focused pursuit on delivery to reflect, to consider alternatives and to ask for help. While many people in focused work feel that stopping to look around is a waste of precious time, the advantages of being able to reuse work, borrow capabilities or have new insights deliver an exponential return on the time invested.  Great coaching questions from leaders will foster this reflection and the opportunty to try another approach.

Mentoring is a way to spread learning across the network. Like coaches, mentors can prompt reflection in either domain that will help foster change. One of the reasons to underpin an organisation collaboration strategy with a ready team of champions is to create a force of mentors to help your users with issues, ideas and new ways of working.

Investing in coaching and mentoring programs in your organisation is a key part of a balanced focus on performance using the 70:20:10 model of learning. That investment in coaching and mentoring will help you leverage improvement in work across both the Inner and Outer Loop.

Outer Loop – Leading by Influence

All employees in your organisation benefit from better understanding the dynamics of influence in the networks of the outer loop. This is a realm where the writs of power run shorter than many hierarchically powerful leaders expect. Networks value contributions and contributions create value.  Insistence on decision making power or overreliance on orders weakens an individuals influence in networks because they have the ability to treat blockages as something to route around.

To gain influence in networks, leaders of all types need to practice some key fundamentals:

  • to stand for something – a vision, a purpose, some values, or a goal
  • how to win trust & respect – authenticity, credibility, showing alignment, showing capability and delivering for others
  • be known for your own action – set an example, demonstrate capabilities and values, put evidence behind your reputation, give generously of your time, capabilities and experience
  • create motivation – using a vision and narrative, shared goals and personal connection
  • foster action – highlighting gaps, making action safe, encouraging experimentation, encouraging reflection in others, fostering tensions and being provocative.

Working out loud by sharing a persons work can help foster these conditions of influence. The genius of John Stepper’s five elements of working out loud are that they are well aligned to creating the ideal elements for influence:

  • Focus on relationships
  • Generosity
  • Visible work
  • Purposeful discovery
  • Growth mindset

These characteristics can be rare or unusal to traditional managers brought up in the domain of hierarchy. To enable them to be effective leaders in outer loop context we need to build their capabilities to act in new ways.  We also need to foster and reward the champions and other leaders who demonstrate these approaches to encourage all employees to leverage the potential of the outer loop.

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Solving Work Problems Out Loud & Outside

Working out loud can sometimes seem quite abstract. The benefits can seem a little obscure. Here’s a little story of how purposefully sharing your work in progress can create a great experience that makes work easier and more effective.

A Story of Working Out Loud Outside

I interact a lot with the Customer Success Team for Microsoft Office. We are both trying to help clients to find the best ways to implement Office capability. These situations can vary from client to client because each one has a different strategy, a different culture and a different plan. There’s always something new to learn and a new problem to solve.

Today as I travelled to work, I got an external Yammer post from Avi Sujeeth, a Microsoft Customer Success Manager in the US. I’ve known Avi for a while through online interactions only.  Avi was in discussion with some of his colleagues around an issue about organisational structures for IT teams that he needed to solve for a client. Avi had previously seen a post I had written on the same topic in the Microsoft Tech Community.

By @mentioning me into that thread in Microsoft’s Yammer Community, I was able to join into that thread of conversation between the Microsoft team from around the world. The thread appeared as a notification in my inbox in my ChangeAgentsWorldwide Yammer. I answered the question to the best of my abilities.  Over the next 30 minutes, in and around other tasks I was doing, we had a quick back and forth to clarify some issues.  I went on with my day in Melbourne.

Breaking Down the Benefits

When I next checked Yammer, I saw a new notification of a follow-up message in the thread from Avi pointing out the power of what just happened.  Included in that post was the following quote (shared with permission)

I had no idea where this conversation was going to go. I don’t have Simon’s email. I did it all in about 30 minutes because of async communication. Work Out Loud rules.

There’s little reason to believe that I could have contributed to solving a problem for Avi if he hadn’t his work in progress, based on a mutual understanding from a history of sharing our work. I don’t have Avi’s email. I didn’t know he was based in Texas until I looked up his LinkedIn profile to include it above. I don’t have a clue what he is doing other than what he shared with me. He was on a deadline that I didn’t discover until the last post. The ease and the curiosity with which Avi could share that challenge with me made it incredibly easy for me to quickly understand the issue and reply to the best of my ability. The whole interaction took less than 10 minutes of my time.

Importantly, Avi wasn’t sure what he might get from his question to me. Avi took a risk putting the message out there. I could have been in a workshop or on a plane. I might not have had anything of value to say (I’m still not sure that I did). There’s some comfort that he probably got better answers to his question to me from his peers while I took my time responding. Having shared a work challenge out loud his colleagues could all jump in to the conversation too.

Would Avi have got the same answer asking me publicly or privately on Twitter or Linkedin? Maybe, but then he may not have got the participation of his colleagues and I wouldn’t have had the same sense of engaging in a team response to a problem. Being part of a purposeful team is highly engaging, even if it is just a single thread. Because this was one thread with many other people from organisation I know well, I knew I could trust the team and I felt safe to share my thoughts and get feedback – the dynamics of responding were better and a better solution resulted.

Working out loud is a powerful tool for solving work problems because when people share work in progress purposefully with relevant communities. Examples like these are what we need to achieve to move the conversation in collaboration from sharing to solving work problems. Once people work out loud consistently organisations and individuals see benefits quickly further driving collaboration internally and externally.

PS:A short comment on external collaboration features:

Many organisations turn off external messaging and external groups in Yammer because they don’t understand the experience or have fears of security or data sharing breaches. This example of an agile and fluid form of external collaboration is a what is lost in that decision. Avi could have got my email from a colleague and emailed me but it would have been the same information, just slower and less engaging. More and more organisations need to work not just across silos, but across organisational boundaries in rapid collaborative teams.