Working Out Loud Circle – Post 1

Last week I started facilitating my first Working Out Loud Circle.  I will be recording my thoughts after each week as a way to reflect what I learned in facilitating the circle.  I am starting small, with one colleague to get practice.  For some brief context on why I wanted to begin facilitating Working Out Loud Circles – I help companies improve the way they collaborate to accomplish business objectives for a living.  A foundational layer in improving collaboration is the act of working out loud – it is a digital skill that employees need to improve to help themselves and their employer’s drive performance.

I have been wanting to find ways to help people build those skills in a systematic process, which put me on a path to learning more about informal learning over the past year.  I took a couple of online courses from Harold Jarche and Jane Hart, as well as read John Stepper’s book, Working Out Loud, so I felt I had plenty of theory and personal practice in developing these skills.  Now is the time to put my learning to the test by teaching.

A couple of weeks ago I gave an internal presentation to my company on Personal Knowledge Mastery, providing a summary of my experiences in implementing Harold Jarche’s methodology for driving personal learning.  After the presentation, one of my colleagues asked if I could help him on this journey – and that led to facilitating my first Working Out Loud Circle.

Week 1 Reflections

To prepare for week 1, I re-read Chapter 10 of Working Out Loud, The Week 1 Circle Guide, The Circle Guide Overview, and the Tips for a Successful Circle.

After having the initial meeting (we had 30 minutes available, rather than an hour), I felt I should have written down a concise sentence to explain what a circle is and how it will work.  I kind of rambled in my description, but I did get the point across in a way that made sense to my colleague.

Because we only had 30 minutes, I explained we’d be able to work through defining my colleagues’ goal, and beginning his relationship list, but he would need to finish that work after the meeting.  We also agreed to having an hour each week to conduct our circle.

We didn’t focus on creating a Twitter account during this meeting – we saved that for meeting two.

After our meeting, I sent a link to the Week 2 Circle Guide for my colleague to read before our next meeting.






2 thoughts on “Working Out Loud Circle – Post 1

  1. Hi Ben, thanks for sharing your experiences with us. One question though: the way you write it, it sounds as if you don’t have your own goal to pursue, is that a misinterpretation on my side?
    Being a WOL’er myself, I think on of the biggest successfactors is the peer support within a group of people trying to achieve the same thing – reaching a goal within a group.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment and question Barbara. My goal in facilitating a working out loud circle is to grow my skills in facilitating a circle, and see the value they deliver (an experiment). Upon seeing the value that the circle creates via this experience, my goal has now switched. I am now thinking through how I can help organizations implement circles as another vehicle to grow the digital literacy of their workforce to improve performance via better collaboration, cooperation and engagement.

      I will also continue to facilitate circles, as well as participate in circles, in the future as a core component of my personal learning strategy.

      Liked by 1 person

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