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Working Out Loud: We Create a New Mindset

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Tags: Company
Julia Weber, May 29, 2019
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Julia Weber deals with networking in transformation - in the "Working Out Loud" Co-Creation Team and her department, the transformation office.
Companies need to have an agile and innovative working culture in order to meet new challenges. ZF is also taking appropriate steps with in-house and external pitch nights, a new social intranet and agile methods of working.

However, I believe that the most important thing is changing the mindsets of employees and managers, that is, their way of thinking. And the best method for doing that is Working Out Loud. We have formed what we call a Co-Creation Team to help spread this method throughout the company.

What is Working Out Loud?

What is Working Out Loud?

As the name suggests, it initially involves Working Out Loud. But that doesn’t mean everyone should sit at their desks singing loudly. The point is to speak openly about your work, make your work visible and reveal something about yourself. And it also involves a new kind of networking. The traditional form of networking, which has been practiced in many companies for years, is based on a quid pro quo. That means I help someone and share knowledge so other people will help me in the future. Working Out Loud has a different approach. This method is about giving something – namely knowledge, advice or assistance – without expecting anything in return.

What Happens in the Circles?

What Happens in the Circles?

One essential element of Working Out Loud and the primary means of changing employees’ mindsets are the Circles: small groups of employees from different departments. Circles are not traditional working groups and they do not work towards a common goal. Instead, each member of the Circle is pursuing an individual goal, a personal project. Our Circles meet for one hour a week for twelve weeks, either “in real life” or on Skype calls. Small assignments give the Circles structure. However, the focus is on sharing experiences, personal development and mutual support. The exchanges in the Circles encourage employees to leave their comfort zones and move beyond insular thinking. They become familiar with the perspectives of their colleagues from very different departments. This can lead to whole new approaches instead of being set in our ways of thinking.
"The most important thing is to change the mindsets of employees and managers."

The Co-Creation Team: Who We Are and What We Do

The Co-Creation Team: Who We Are and What We Do

We have formed a Co-Creation Team to help spread Working Out Loud throughout the company. Essentially, it consists of four young employees, including me. We have no official mission. We want to be a catalyst for Working Out Loud because we think it is the best way to establish a new kind of collaboration at ZF. To this end, we provide information at various ZF locations, bring together interested parties and advocate the method to managers. More than 400 ZF employees now participate in the Circles and we have established one of the largest communities on our social intranet. But we aren’t finished yet. We want to convince many, many more colleagues of the advantages of Working Out Loud.
Julia Weber (second from the left) with the Co-Creation Team.