Is Working Out Loud worth the risk?

I think I’ve officially missed Working Out Loud week.

The whole put it out there for the world to see process always seemed a tad messy and fraught with the possibility of looking not-yet-competent. There have been occasions in leadership roles where I’ve sucked it up and worked out loud for the sake of engagement and team ownership, afterall, us intraverts are pooped by the party, not party poopers. Many times however, I was just steering the process to my predetermined outcomes which also just happened to maintain my role.

I figure there’s a better way.

Welcome to Divergent Learning, blog #1, @NeilVonHeupt,

After much consideration, tweets, articles and infographics (from other people working out loud) I’ve decided that Working Out Loud has potential for 3 reasons:


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We can start to make sense of the cheek full of content that we snatch from the fire hydrant coming at us each day. By exploring how one piece might fit in amongst all the others we can begin to see connections and curate a useful and accessible set of resources to provide fuel for what we do.

It’s like a defrag for my brain – by sorting and ordering my thoughts I make room for more.


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After a series of one man L&D roles I’ve learnt this last year that “the network is stronger than the node” (HT @catspyjamasnz). Having held staunchly to the “I’m not interested in what you’re having for breakfast theory”, in May this year I relented and joined Twitter. Inspired by some new connections (@michelleockers @ryantracey @AnneBB) I started to tweet and comment. I joined some twitterchats, I went to some networking events, I cranked up LinkedIn. My twitter network cracked 100 this morning (much to my kid’s amazement as my Instagram posts are yet to hit a numerical count for likes) so I took that as a sign that this whole idea was worth pursuing.

Divergent Learning is my first step towards experiencing this in action.

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The new edge that Working Out Loud brings to good old fashioned extraversion is that it is purpose (rather than preference) driven. So what’s my purpose in all of this?

I’ve been in Learning and Development my whole career. At a recent mentoring event I attended I found myself getting moved by the stories of people’s journeys and I was reminded of why I love this profession – creating space for people to flourish.

In terms of space, I don’t mind if it’s face to face, self directed, AR/VR, social and collaborative, eLearning, MOOC, podcast, ESN or book. There is no one best way. Content, context, facilitator, learner experience, environment, network – there are many factors that will determine what the best solution is.

What I’m interested in is the process of determining and creating solutions – which leads me to Divergent Learning – a place to apply the principles of divergent thinking (“Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions.”) to Learning and Development.

So have I answered my opening question? I’ll let you know.

2 thoughts on “Is Working Out Loud worth the risk?

  1. It’s great to see you blogging Neil. I really like the sentiment behind your blog name and look forward to exploring different learning approached and solutions with you.

    You know my answer to your question of course. Be brave, find your voice and figure it out as you go, I feel like I’ve barely begun – and that my professional life is much richer for working out loud.


    1. Thanks Michelle, appreciate your encouragement! Much of my PD this year has simply been following some of your footsteps having observed the impact that WOL has had as you’ve done it.
      As today is Bruce Lee’s 75th anniversary I’ll follow his advice – “Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own.”

      Liked by 1 person

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