Last week, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the first WOL community meeting in Stuttgart (see also the WOL Barcamp summary by Michael Otto, Bayer). This fascinating event addressed issues such as WOL KPIs and onboarding with and within WOL (a method by John Stepper), as well as the basic question: “What actually is Working Out Loud?”
For the past eight weeks, I myself have been participating in my first WOL Circle. I was particularly motivated by the chance to learn about the method and to see whether WOL could be a useful addition to Pokeshot and SmarterPath. Up to last week, I saw WOL primarily as a method of networking and meeting new people who could potentially help me achieve my goals. And this is all true – but, behind the scenes, the benefits go even deeper.
Many of those who attended the WOL Barcamp described WOL as “an inner attitude” or “fulfilling the human need for information exchange.” WOL therefore not only benefits communication, but also relationships in general. While discussing the topic in our WOL Circle this week, we realized that WOL succeeds in establishing a degree of trust between total strangers to the extent that they then feel comfortable discussing their personal or internal company goals with one another on a weekly basis. But maybe this is precisely the reason that WOL works in the first place?
I also spoke with some participants about the operative element – the implementation of WOL. In many companies, WOL implementation is tied to specific locations as it does not yet have the necessary technical support. At the same time, many companies already have the means to implement Working Out Loud independent of location.
How can Microsoft Office 365 support WOL in conjunction with SmarterPath?
- SharePoint with its team sites creates the ideal space within which to establish WOL groups, find members, and suggest topics.
- Teams with its various communication tools offers the opportunity to establish WOL Circles and initiate discussions during and after a meet-up.
- SmarterPath offers the opportunity to create a framework. Members can find one another in SmarterPath, obtain information on WOL and Teams, network, and incorporate their findings – all the while linked up to SharePoint and Teams.
You can see exactly how this might work in the following video:
All in all, modern tools such as Microsoft Office 365 and Jive provide excellent support for Working Out Loud. But when you bring SmarterPath into the mix, a holistic solution can be created that provides optimal support to employees in formulating their goals and exchanging ideas with others. Nevertheless, WOL within the company should be considered an independent use case. Questions such as “What do we want to achieve with it?” and “How do we develop it?” must be addressed and answered before deciding how Office 365, Jive and SmarterPath can help with the implementation of WOL.
My absolute highlight: I got to meet John Stepper – creator of the WOL method.
About the author:
Sandra Brückner, who studied business informatics at the Technical University of Dresden, has worked as social business consultant since 2012. She joined the Berlin-based social business consultancy and technology provider Pokeshot in the beginning of 2014 and has served for more than two years as Chief Product Officer for all products.