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Q3: What are the barriers?

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Former Employee

Q3: What are the barriers to Working Out Loud that you’ve come across? How did you overcome them?

 

Question 4 has been posted!

31 Replies
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Knowing when it is acceptable to work 'out loud' and with which audience.
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In many cases to the companies are one more tool and it could be a blocker to adopt a new technologie, but if it is a compay o Y generation Yammer will fit like a glove, because is a new way to colaborate within teams.

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Generally people not understanding what it means and therefore not participating, when it comes to working out loud on social networks or similar.

 

Otherwise it's a general 'my knowledge is sacred' attitude, people not willing to give up what they know. 

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In my experience your team or companies culture is the biggest barrier to successfully working out loud, and it's not a particularly easy thing to overcome. Where I've seen this transformation really work is when senior leaders in the business support and actively engage in the initiative. 

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Executives who viewed and launched tools like Yammer as "Enterprise Social Network" without future vision. Lack of sponsorship, introverts who like work in silos.. Haven't overcome yet, working on elevator pitches, building community of like minded folks and working bottom to top to change the culture. Not the easiest or the most efficient approach
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I also think that people have varying definitions of what is truly confidential.
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@Angus Florance wrote:

In my experience your team or companies culture is the biggest barrier to successfully working out loud, and it's not a particularly easy thing to overcome. Where I've seen this transformation really work is when senior leaders in the business support and actively engage in the initiative. 


Absolutely agree with you @Angus Florance!  Exec sponsorship leading the charge and continuing the pace Working Out Loud is key.

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we've been taught to make work perfect before we share it. We've been taught to worry about reputation when we share early. We've been taught that knowledge is power. All three are wrong but we only work out the contrary view by experiments and experience. Thoughtful and purposeful practice in a safe community is a great way to start, to iron out your kinks and to learn. This is why John Stepper has proposed working out loud circles as a support process for working out loud.
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As a secret introvert- I actually enjoy working out loud in an online space rather than in-person. Less pressure. 

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Lack of trust. It's relatively easy to get across the concept of transparency leading to more rapid connections and innovation. Large organizations find it tough to trust even their own employees enough to keep the openness within the walls of their company (or whatever that circle of trust is proposed to be).
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You're trying to change your own habits and/or those of a team or even a company. Yes, the steps to take aren't rocket science, but we all know how easy it is to take on a new behavior ourselves or inspire others!

 

Steve Nguyen here in the room has given trainings before on the "Tiny Habits" methodology, and you can find the basics straight from BJ Fogg here. I also summarized that system when I wrote a "WOL" post on LinkedIn, reflecting my role change in my company.

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Another common barrier is that many people think "build it and they will come" works for an individual post. They throw and idea randomly into Yammer or even worse public social media and then are disappointed that nothing happens. They walk away. You have to cultivate relationships and commmunity.

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One barrier that often presents itself early is to "solve" the Working Out Loud desire by applying technology and doughnuts, when change management and comms really must take center stage.
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Supporting it in principle and getting concrete about the rules / boundaries are two different things, though. To overcome the trust issues, it seems both are required.
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I think there's a fine line between humillity and humilliation.  And being perfect. And being right.

 

And the fear that we have when we share something and humiliation would follow. 

Fear of rejection. And that first draft isn't enough. Enough to meet the expectations of our selves or our peers or our clients.

 

Maybe this seems too deep. But these are the internal barriers I believe that hinder people (myself included sometimes!) from sharing and working out loud.

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Working in ICT shaping strategy, feedback is which product should I be working in? Yammer, Office 365 Groups, now Microsoft Teams, IM with Skype for Business, Email Groups, to many options, so pockets of teams use one, and other another, more options is less adoption.
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One other thought... don't underestimate people's fear of this new behavior. We don't want to be wrong. We don't want to look uninformed or even stupid or out of the loop. We don't want our lack of progress on a deliverable from one week to another to reflect badly on us. We don't want to be pulled off our schedule by the new information that someone contributed because we worked out loud!

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Expressing your thinking early takes courage. It's hard to break down the 'better to be thought a fool than open your mouth and confirm it' bias.

 

The behavior of how you add value to a team changes. It's not just your individual work that you have control over, but also helping (or failing to give input) on the work of others.

 

Conversation as a work product can also be a barrier -we have a bias that documents that are finished are deliverables, not alignment or progression of thinking.

 

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This is so true. It's important to know your audience.

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Question 4 is now posted!

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^^^ THIS. YES.

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Tiny Habits are huge. Spend time each day to Describe, Respond and Celebrate https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqcQJnrhngk
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Here's a blog I recently wrote on that exact subject for perhaps reading later "ESN Tipping-point" 7 barriers and ways to crack it! https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/7-ways-crack-esn-tipping-point-lesley-crook?trk=mp-author-card
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One barrier is making a decision before a conversation has had a chance to develop (although sometimes it's just necessary). Sometimes people's best ideas take time to conceive. Even though working out loud implies "discussion," you're not really working out loud if you're not also listening. Overcome this barrier by discussing your work early!
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Somehow, we have to start valuing contribution instead of completion (which never happens in a service-oriented world), and valuing people that are well-connected instead of supposed "experts" (which don't actually existing a world that changes this fast).
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Adding on to @Allison Michels above, when posting, are you trying to be interesting or are you interested? Reminds me of those early social collab debates we had back in the day.
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Barrier: Trust. People do business with people they know, like and trust. Building that trust is the foundation to working out loud. That's why community management is so key. Community managers help people feel like their contributions matter by liking them, sharing them, helping people find that content who need it. That builds trust and engagement.

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As I was learning the power of working out loud, my biggest barrier is concern about how people will interpret what I say.  Will they think me foolish for not knowing things I "should" know?  Will they think me arrogant for sharing information I know and others don't?  Will my boss think I'm wasting my time typing out what I'm doing?

 

So I tried it - I talked to my manager to make sure he was on board with my participation.  I typed what I was working on - and I found that others thought I was helpful, and they appreciated my honesty and willingness to help.  and I found that my coworkers were understanding and wonderful to work with - beyond my expectations.

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Amen on fears, Melanie. Posting in public is akin to kissing spiders to some folk.
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So much this: 


@Deleted wrote:

One other thought... don't underestimate people's fear of this new behavior. We don't want to be wrong. We don't want to look uninformed or even stupid or out of the loop. We don't want our lack of progress on a deliverable from one week to another to reflect badly on us. We don't want to be pulled off our schedule by the new information that someone contributed because we worked out loud!


Brusque dismissal can often hide the fear of the unknown. Just like there is no one-use-case-fits-all with Yammer, there is no one-approach-fits-all when talking to individuals about Yammer.

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Similar to what others have said, I think it takes some getting used to seeing information appear in a conversation that you haven't been able to talk to your team about yet. Another barrier is getting management comfortable with the process, sharing draft content, getting over the fear of judgement because it's not perfect, and encouraging their teams to do it as well. I really like @Cartier Gwin's point about listening. It's a two way road, sharing and listening (providing feedback).