Experiences Mar 2, 2021

Working Out Loud (WOL) – Structured networking to achieve goals.

John Stepper’s innovative peer learning method made its debut at Bechtle in January 2021. Our 10 Circles with just under 50 motivated employees will be meeting once a week for an hour up until the end of April 2021 to work towards our individual goals. Relationships, visible work, generosity, a growth mindset and purposeful discovery are the five elements on which the approach is based. As an organisation that is constantly learning, the methods of targeted knowledge sharing, networked working and valuable communication have helped us develop culturally.

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Tina Schwarz
Personnel and organizational development

From theory to practice! Here are some of the participants’ experiences:

Isabelle Holaschke – WOL: A journey into the unknown.

It takes a lot of effort to sign up for something and invest additional time to do so when you could just carry on with the life you know. For me, the desire to try something new won the day and that’s how my WOL journey began—with around 50 colleagues from different departments who had been at Bechtle for differing periods of time, which is what makes it so good! Everyone is encouraged to openly share their opinions and ideas.

To start off, we got to know our Circle colleagues, and defined our individual goals either in great detail or quite broadly. Whatever the case, the most important part is really wanting to work towards achieving your goal. The great thing about the WOL method is that everyone can work at their own pace and there is no pressure at all.

The Circle Guide provides a fantastic guideline on the tasks to do every week to bring you closer to your goal and includes one or two that require some courage, which brings me to the next special feature of WOL...

It is possible to network with people around the world to discuss a topic using the various social media channels. I built up the courage to take this step in week 2 and was amazed by the feedback! I received everything from personal messages to useful comments and sometimes just a few likes. There are so many people who have already asked themselves the same questions, filtered through the mountain of answers and are in a position to share their findings.


Jonathan Lehmhaus – Out of the comfort zone.

Out of curiosity, I signed up for the first Bechtle WOL group and since then can only speak of the extremely positive experiences I’ve had.

In the first get-to-know-you session, we each presented some facts about ourselves, which not only lightened the mood, but also made the first contact so much easier. Since then, our we meet once a week for an hour to talk about the exercises in the WOL Guide and to share our insights. This works very well because the Circle brings people together who would normally have nothing to do with each other because they work in very different parts of the company. Our weekly get togethers are like a brainstorming session which help us all take a step closer to achieving our goals.

I can wholeheartedly recommend WOL to anyone who is curious, who would like to network with people both within and outside the Bechtle Group, and who is willing to step out of their comfort zone.


Matthias Randelshofer – Confusion gives way to intensity and focus.

I was a little confused at the beginning because after a big in-house company kick-off meeting, I suddenly found myself with my a long digital guide, four colleagues, my topic of choice and no idea what I was supposed to do to in the first of the weekly meetings of our “Circle 10”.

I initially thought WOL’s approach seemed contradictory:

  • Give something and you may or rather it is very likely that you’ll get something in return. The Guide seemed to me to be slightly (too) esoteric. Either that or the culturally influenced mindset behind it was simply different.
  • On the other hand, the approach was about deciding on your own topic and pursuing the goal you have set yourself over the following weeks until it has been achieved, although the goal itself can be fine-tuned.

This approach is fantastic because sometimes the best ideas get lost in our own minds, but not with WOL. This self-commitment and regular reporting to the Circle forces self-discipline and progress.

As time goes on, both approaches merge seamlessly into one as working on your own topic ideally becomes a speciality and this is exactly what brings you closer to other people.

In the past I’ve had lively discussions with Bechtle colleagues and external companies that are working on the same topics. I can see positive examples in this and also how I definitely don’t want to do it.

I find WOL to be a good method, especially given the current situation, to put our self-discipline and organisation to the test. I can’t wait to see how far my first topic will take me in these first 12 weeks and I am absolutely convinced that I will make much faster progress with WOL.

To summarise, I think WOL isn’t something completely new. It changes intensity and focus and communication, while also expanding our online social network.


Gabi Schmidt – Powering towards your goals.

I am open-minded and curious by nature so of course I wanted to know what is WOL?

I have plenty of goals and a whole heap of motivation to achieve them and this is where WOL comes in—helping to smooth the way towards those goals.

After just three weeks taking part, I’ve definitely gained a lot. My personal goal is to build on my expertise, skills and abilities and network in order to tackle challenges.

By sharing information, we become zukunftsstark. Having a wide network with people with all kinds of different skillsets is both enriching and exciting as each one of us can bring something to the table, and working together is worth its weight in gold. This is the only way to be able react quickly to and resolve issues in our fast-paced world, and that’s why I find it so interesting. I want to be a part of it, grow with it and profit as much as I can help other people to overcome stumbling blocks. And, yes, it’s a lot of fun as well! Why? Because we are discovering something new, getting to know new people, the unexpected happens and we never stop learning because we are all only human and each have our strengths and weaknesses.


Want to find out more about Working Out Loud? Then get in touch with me!

 

The copyright of the graphics belongs to John Stepper, workingoutloud.com