Working Out… what? It does not mean shouting at your colleagues. It is a program, developed by John Stepper, to make your work visible. It means sharing – especially knowledge and appreciation. It means the confrontation with myself and a topic that is important to me. I think that Working Out Loud, short WOL, strives for a change of behavior: away from knowledge silos to willingly sharing without ulterior motives.
A few weeks ago, I, Antje Duffert, Consultant for Communication Services, started a call within the fme AG, which was aimed towards my colleagues, who would like to try something new with me and who wanted to advance the culture of our company even more towards collaboration and openness by an independent and target-oriented work.
I am part of a WOL circle with three other colleagues and we are at our half time. That means, we already met 6 times from 12 weekly, one-hour meetings (circles) to work for our personal goal, which we defined before, and to support each other.
How have I experienced the last 6 weeks?
John Stepper developed a circle guide for every meeting. All guides are well structured and described. The contained tasks in these guides are designed for an hour and can be handled very well during this time. Thus, it is not necessary that I deal with the contents and tasks before the meeting. Therefore, I can also participate without any time consuming preparation. During the meetings, I got to know a lot about my colleagues, business related facts as well as private aspects.
My biggest surprise (so far)
The topic during the fifth circle “50 facts about me” was my biggest surprise so far. In this exercise, each of the participants writes down 50 facts about himself/herself, and this list does not exclusively focus on professional achievements or anything like this – but on seemingly simple things referring to one’s own person. This exercise broadened my perspective about what I am able to do, what I know and what I have experienced so far. It helped me to understand that I can share many topics with people which I would not have regarded as interesting before. At the same time I learned facts about my circle-colleagues I would probably not even know after 3 years of close cooperation.
My biggest challenge (so far):
It is my biggest challenge so far to take the time to work further on the topic WOL. I sat in our meetings quite often and had ideas or plans which exceeded the regular one-hour meeting slot. However, I did not find the time to follow up on these ideas in my every-day work. That is one more reason why I really like the structure of the guides: I can jump right into the WOL-topic at any time, even if, for example, I had another meeting before.
Do I already feel a change in my behavior?
After the 6 weeks, I feel at least a change in my perception. The perception regarding my own experiences and my knowledge, which I can share with others – for this purpose, I can recommend to anybody the exercise “50 facts about me”. Additionally, I think I overcame an obstacle of which I did not even know it existed. One aspect is to share my own knowledge with others, but to get in contact with people who are working on exciting topics is something completely different. To get rid of the opinion that it is necessary to have a special reason or something to offer to contact another person. The appreciation of my own skills definitely increased.
Now I am looking forward to the following six meetings with an intensive exchange and I am excited about my conclusion as well as that from my circle members. To be continued…
Also interested in Working Out Loud? All information and circle guides are available at www.workingoutloud.com.
Second part of the series