Working out loud; importance and ideas

By Andy Lancaster, Head of Learning and Development at CIPD

I have always been pretty gregarious; happy to chat to anyone I meet and willing to share my view even when it is not fully worked through. Not only that I am always interested in what others are up to. You may call me nosey but other folk's ideas and practice and are just too fascinating to ignore! And why would I want to spend time re-inventing the wheel?

Over the years I have found an open approach has paid huge dividends in making new friends and professional contacts, learning new things and gaining insights which would not have been the case if I hadn't been willing to let the "drawbridge of life" down.

Honesty and openness is strangely infectious!

So it's been fun working at CIPD with Johanna Ratcliffe and the team to produce a short video on "working out loud" within the Institute to encourage best practice. Staff who are making efforts to model open two-way communication have been encouraged to share their top tips on creating an even more engaging approach about sharing with others what you are up to.

This is a crucial challenge not only for CIPD but for any organisation in an increasingly "social world" where honesty must now trump "radio silence" or even worse "one-way spin".

The need to increasingly work "out loud" was recently evident to me when I was asked to provide an update of what CIPD had been up to in L&D in response to some learning profession members, who at membership renewal time, where unsure as to what value they were getting for their fee.

The fact is that we have been doing much but it hasn't always been known is at the core of the challenge of CIPD enhancing its approach to "working out loud".

And it's not that CIPD doesn't; we have numerous members' networks, events, publications, blogs and social media channels, but the challenge is to provide easily accessible access points where members, learners and non-member professionals can engage with what we are up to.

In fact, I had a recent example of the value of choosing to "work out loud" on Twitter by asking openly for ideas about what optional units L&D practitioners think should be in the new CIPD Level 5 L&D qualification. Of course we got some gems back which have helped shaped the agenda!

So, back to the video, here are 10 top tips noted as being important parts of "working out loud" which certainly I want to role model at CIPD.

  • Consider what wider groups may have an interest in what you are doing
  • Use the full diversity of communication channels; people connect in different ways
  • Be eager to allow other people to be involved in your conversations
  • Proactively and regularly share to generate wider interest, input and ideas
  • Report the journey; destinations are great but milestones are important and interesting
  • Share your knowledge openly; you may not think others would value it, but they do!
  • Don't be fearful of things that have gone wrong; share failures as well as successes
  • Bring a human side to projects; it's not just processes but people engaged in them
  • Don't be afraid to say what is "good" for fear of seeming boastful. Celebrate success
  • Engage with other people's work and ideas as well as them getting involved with yours!

So the purpose of this blog is to "work out loud" about approaches that are being discussed at CIPD and I hope the tips may be of use to you and your organisation in your efforts to proactively engage others in what you are up to!

You can find out more about Andy on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter @AndyLancastertUK.

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