This International Working Out Loud Week we will be sharing a reflection on a different element of working out loud each day.  We will be using John Stepper’s latest iteration of the five elements of Working Out Loud as a guide to those reflections. Our fourth reflection is on Generosity.


Generosity is not new. We know how to give. Human beings are highly sophisticated animals at the fine arts of altruism, collaboration and generosity. Giving generously is what our societies do best.

In our work cultures, we some times lose the generosity of spirit that underpins humanity.  Our focus on performance, on efficiency and on competition, can make generosity seem counterproductive, suspect and weak. Yet elite performance and ultimate effectiveness depend on high levels of trust. We build trust when we move beyond our own agendas. We build trust when we start to give something of us to others.

Working out loud helps us to see that our gifts can be many. We can give as simply as giving our attention to another, to truly listen to their needs or their story.  We can give by recognising another and celebrating their progress in their work. We can give by providing material help, information or even just a sense of direction to someone. We can give by creating a sense of shared community in a task or a challenge and allowing others to use our networks to achieve their ends. Everyone of us can give the gift of reaching down and helping someone else up over the work we have completed to where we stand now. When we share our work visibly with a generous spirit we discover others can learn from our work and others yet may reciprocate our generosity with help, support and guidance.

Generosity is the social magic that triggers the wonderful synchronicity of working out loud. Our generous gifts inspires others, some far from our networks, to respond to our visible work. We cannot know what, when or if we will get something back in return for our generosity in working out loud. Working out loud is not a transactional exchange. Working our loud is an investment in our relationships and our networks. We invest for the future and for others. Be generous in those relationships.

The purpose of our work is to benefit others. Give a gift

International Working Out Loud Week is 6-12 June 2016

Community is in the Little Gestures

Every day we experience the little gestures of community: the train passenger who moves over to let you in, the barista who smiles and remembers you, the neighbour who waves or the helping hand from a stranger in a shopping centre .

Little gestures build community because they help us understand the role of generosity, sharing, individual recognition and relationships. Little gestures unwind the corporate, the general, the machine, the process and the impersonal transactions of our lives. These gestures create community because they are not required and because they signal an effort to create reciprocal value.

Little gestures are a practice. These gestures require us to be mindful of our networks and ask how we can create human relationships from them. Practices like working out loud that make us more purposeful and generous in our networks reinforce this practice.