This week here on my blog started with Working Out Loud Behaviors to Develop during #WOLWeek.
Which was followed by Asking Out Loud #WOLWeek.
Next on my list of xOL behaviors…
Shifting Out Loud (SOL) = Open Leadership* + Open Innovation**
Sometimes, Working Out Loud need not be focused just on facilitating a process, a task, or a project. In fact, if that’s your only target for realizing value from the open exchange of ideas and information within your organization (which I am guessing is primarily populated by human beings), you’re missing out on an even larger opportunity.
“Shift” happens…when passionate people with new ideas, thought-provoking questions and an ability to lead from the bottom-up are provided an avenue to have their “cause” amplified more quickly and with less effort than any previously available options. Particularly when the leaders of the shift are emergent leaders as opposed to appointed leaders. Or when the “lone nut” can inspire some “fast followers” to help accelerate the significant shift.
- Via Open Leadership, people have an opportunity to shift thinking and gain momentum with peers at an unprecedented rate. Sharing what inspires them, providing reasoning while work is in progress, collecting buy-in, creating awareness of the downstream impacts of their work, collecting input on how to course correct before it’s too late. Appearing more authentic vs. being always coming across as a spin-master.
- Via Open Innovation, shared ideas beget other new related ideas. They prompt improvements via feedback that a single expert may miss on their new idea. Shared ideas can trigger support from corners of an organization not previously considered or reached.
This may be the most difficult of the “xOL” concepts for me to describe, because theory and promises don’t do justice to some of the stories I’ve had the pleasure of observing over the last four years. And each played out thanks in large part to one or more people combining their passion and courage with Working Out Loud in a way that led to significant shifts in an overall organization, or at least a visible and influential subset of people within that organization. Some with immediate results, some over the course of multiple years and thousands of people. And most examples originating from the bottom of the organizational structure, not the top. Unfortunately, as much as I’d love to, I am not able to share specifics about the stories. I really wish I could share more to support this concept. That’s what’s made this post so difficult to write. It’s harder to say less than to say more :).
I can only relay that the impacts are visible changes in people behavior, personal understanding, information resourcefulness, attracting masses behind a previously unstated idea/problem. And most interestingly, helping to shift an established (or previously unseen) culture on major societal issues that you’d think should be taboo in the work place, but really prove to be crucial to building a “human” community culture at work instead of a “robot” task culture in an enterprise.
When you can watch the ESN activity within such a large company “from above” over the course of 4-5 years like I’ve had the pleasure to do, you can see the shifts as they occur. You can appreciate where they started, what triggered them, and where they ended up. Unlike most, you can see the full picture behind the shift. And it’s all captured…the story having unfolded on it’s own…documented…retrievable. Open.
Do you feel like you have the methods and tools to start a movement in your org from the bottom up? How might you inspire a “shift” of what sometimes seems an immovable object by sharing more about your passions and ideas?
*Open Leadership – Credit: Charlene Li
**Open Innovation – Credit: Henry Chesbrough
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