“Community managers have been unpacking engagement for decades and unlocking its secrets. We’ve turned what community professionals know about engagement into TheCR’s Work Out Loud model, which categorizes different types of engagement based on their core value – validate to increase comfort, share to increase connection, ask & answer to increase trust and explore to increase partnership.”
Some great insight from Luis Suarez about blogging’s past and future, one of my sources for the WordCamp US talk I’m putting together – The evolution of a blogger (and blogging) 2003-2016.
As reading leads to broader thinking, writing leads to clearer thinking. If you have not written much, I urge you to get started. A sharp pen reflects a sharp mind. But writing is not for the weak. The writer must form and then expose his or her ideas to public scrutiny. That takes confidence.
individuals, teams, and their leaders
understand the power of working out loud
so they can crush it
Though no one sets out to fail, failure is an essential aspect of learning. You can’t learn if you never fail. But it is important to remember that failure is but a means to an end – learning – and not an end in and of itself.
Failure should not be sought out, but when it happens you should squeeze it for all it’s worth and learn what you can from it.
“Keep me in the loop.”
This all too common expression is – or should be – the bane of anyone trying to implement, or just use, a community approach of working out loud for collaboration and communication. What it really means is…
I want to know what’s going on with your project, but I don’t care enough to actually spend my own time keeping up with what’s going, so please take time out of your own busy schedule and figure out what information I need to know and then make sure you get it to me. I may or may not bother to read it once you’ve sent it to me.
The next time someone asks you to “keep me in the loop”, let them know where the conversation is happening and offer to grant them access. If they don’t take you up on it, then they don’t really care. If they do take you up on it, they may never join in. But they might, and their participation will be that much more valuable because they are there intentionally, not accidentally.
This goes both ways. Next time someone talks to you about a project that you are interested in, don’t ask them to keep you in the loop. Instead, ask them, “How can I join the conversation?”
Working out loud is typically looked at from the point of view of the person doing the work out loud, with tips and ideas on how to work out loud more effectively. But it is also important for those who are “consuming” this out loud work to understand the process and how they can leverage it in their own work. No one has more to gain, and probably more to learn, from working out loud than the managers of those doing the work. Consider, for example, meetings.
Meetings, in general, assume that the process of work is hidden and that the only thing that matters are the results or, in many cases, the current state of the work. So managers will call meetings, or even worse schedule recurring meetings on a regular basis. These meetings are often set for an hour, because that is the default in Outlook and generally the time blocks by which conference rooms are scheduled.
What other factors do you take into account when you plan / schedule a meeting? Some items might include:
Actually, if you don’t count the availability of a conference room, the only real consideration in the scheduling of most meetings is the agenda, even though it is more likely than not that the agenda is more an outline or a “let’s go around the room so everyone can fill everyone else in on what they have been working on”. The “this is what we’re going to talk about” gets a lot of attention, the “what do we want to achieve” gets a bit less, and the “how does this contribute to our work” gets barely any attention at all.
When, of course, the most important aspect of meetings, the easiest to measure, and the most overlooked – dare I say ignored – is the bottom line. The value of the meeting. (Not just the cost, but the return you get on paying that cost.)
From the book ReWork:
When you think about it, the true cost of meetings is staggering. Let’s say you’re going to schedule a meeting that lasts one hour, and you invite ten people to attend. That’s actually a ten-hour meeting, not a one-hour meeting. Your trading ten hours of productivity for one hour of meeting time. And it’s probably more like fifteen hours, because there are mental switching costs that come with stopping what you’re doing, going somewhere else to meet, and then resuming what you were doing beforehand.
Which doesn’t take into account the productivity loss for the time required to prepare for the meeting, type up and distribute notes, etc….
When it is possible to work out loud, however, the work is not (need not be) hidden and the current state of work, along with all of the context that goes with it, is readily available to all who may need to see it. Including managers. But this requires a change in how managers approach management, and how they interact with the people who report to them.
Instead of asking to be “kept in the loop” through individual emails or by scheduling meetings, it becomes incumbent on the manager to ensure that their employees are working out loud and that they, the manager, keep themselves in the loop.
Thinking in bits isn’t just about changing the way we design forms to collect information or using fancy techniques to push customized content to our users. It also has far reaching implications and potential in how we design our work and the organizations in which we perform that work.
I have a few friends that have heard of blogs, and even fewer that actually read them (though most of them read “established” blogs like those from Fox News or CNN personalities), but I don’t know if I can honestly say I have any friends (or work colleagues) that actively blog themselves. Not sure why, maybe they don’t like to write. Maybe they don’t understand the great benefits of blogging. Maybe they don’t care.
When the word blog was recently revealed as Merriam-Webster’s word of the year, I was asked what the big deal about blogs is, why there is such a big discussion about it, and what makes it different from “the internet.” (If you haven’t figured it out yet, I run in some pretty non-online crowds.) I came up with a few things to say, but couldn’t quite get my feelings and point across.
Fortunately for me, Lilia came to the rescue this morning with her post Blogging as breathing or how to find time for blogging? She provides the following “brainstorm” of the role of blogging in her work:
- professional awareness
- I read weblogs instead of reading mailing lists and searching professional web-sites to stay updated with news and trends
- work-related search
- saving time for searching as in many cases I come across papers/information I need for my work via weblogs and blog/bookmark it
- social search – very often I know whom to ask for a specific information/advice
- reading weblogs is a low-cost way to stay in touch with others (if they have weblogs 🙂
- writing my own weblog exposes my own work and expertise, so it’s easier to establish contacts
- better use of f2f time as with bloggers there is no need for updates on each other news
- getting help or answers fast without being too intrusive
- feedback on ideas and early drafts
- development of ideas in a community (actually: in different communities 🙂
- data collection, interpretation and presentation (e.g. as everyday grounded theory)
- reading other weblogs and being a blogger are part of my data collection instruments
- I use my weblog to test my interpretations and to get a feedback on ways of presenting some pieces of research
- weblog as a research notebook
- keeping notes on reading, research progress, ideas, publications
- organising notes into themes to support thinking and future retrieval
- getting emotional support
I have found myself using blogs mostly in support of Research and Professional Awareness, so my answer to Why Blog kind of focused on those. The Networking and Conversation aspects that Lilia mentioned I think will have a bit more resonance with many of the people I know.