Making your work visible:As Bryce described, this is indeed the fundamental starting point for working out loud.
Making work better: One of the main reasons for openly narrating your work is to find ways to improve it. You’re publishing so other people will see it, including some who can provide useful feedback, connections, or other things that will make your work better.
Leading with generosity: By framing your posts as contributions – as opposed to, say, efforts at self-promotion or personal branding – you’re more likely to engage other people. You’re not just looking for help but offering to help others, too. As Keith Ferrazzi said, “The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.”
Building a social network: As you work out loud over time, you’ll be interacting with a broader range of people. The further you develop relationships with people in your network, the more likely it will be that you’ll collaborate with them and that they’ll be willing help you in other ways.
Making it all purposeful: Finally, since there’s an infinite amount of contributing and connecting you can do, you need to make it purposeful in order to be effective. (Goals might be as simple as “I want more recognition in my firm.” or “I’d like to explore opportunities in another industry or location.”) You can still have plenty of room for serendipity, but having a goal in mind focuses your learning, your publishing, and your connections.
In trying to help people work out loud, I’ve tried a variety of techniques. I wrote getting started guides and stories of people who did it. I gave presentations at work and one-on-one career insurance sessions. I even taught a 3-month course.
None of this produced much change. People seemed to like the idea of working out loud, but only a small percentage of people started working differently. For most people, it was just too hard to change work habits.
Recently, though, I’ve been using an approach that helps people actually change. It’s a work in progress (yes, I’m working out loud about working out loud), and your feedback can make it better.
Most people have one or more issues that prevent them from working out loud and building a purposeful network. Here are the ones I see over and over again.
After all the time I’ve spent trying to persuade or teach or inspire people, I finally realized what people really need is help. Help to do the things I was writing about and help changing their habits so they could do those things regularly.
The program is really just structured, one-on-one coaching in which I help people apply the same principles I taught in the course I mentioned (“Building a Purposeful Social Network”). It’s by helping people work out loud consistently over 12 weeks that I help them develop new habits. And those habits result in a more open, connected approach to work that’s both sustainable and fulfilling.