How Future of Work, Appreciative Inquiry and Working Out Loud Connect With #ESN

Posted on by Brandon Klein

The fundamental overlap is about contribution

Future of Work Working out LoudRaising the contribution rate of employees and their satisfaction at work and spreading this to customers is, I suspect, the key point of intersection of Future of Work, Appreciative Inquiry, and Working Out Loud. We know from reliable Gallup surveys that only 13% of the global workforce is engaged at work and actively contributing. The vast majority are simply complying with "being at work".

We can call the engaged people Contributors because they voluntarily give all of who they are to their work, their colleagues and the Enterprise and they readily engage with and build social networks and social ecosystems and collaborate for social good. The fortunate companies who have high numbers of Contributors in their workforces are set up to take advantage of the new social business and social networking technologies because the Contributors are wired for collaboration. And it is not a Generation X or Millennial characteristic, rather it is a question of company culture.
Appreciative Inquiry + Future Of Work + Working Out Loud

Starting with Appreciative Inquiry - it aims to spread the goodness the Contributors see in their daily work in order to motivate those who are, at the moment, simply compliant.

Next, the Future of Work perhaps means many things to many people but it is also focused on making people more engaged and productive in any chosen setting i.e. Contributing more, and being able to do so in the setting and work environment of their choice. In organisational terms this often translates into flexible working environments and a focus on new cultural norms which include collaboration, transparency (openness), sharing (as in flow rather than assets), and finally empowerment.

These ideas are increasingly seen in corporate foyers and value statements - this much we know! This also requires culture change, but is perhaps, for Future of Work, more generational-driven as the younger employees come already "pre-wired and integrated" with technologies which enable them to instantly invoke the core values i.e. you don't have to bolt it on to reticent minds.

And finally, the Working Out Loud movement is relatively new and was defined about 3 years ago by Bryce Williams as:

              Working Out Loud = Observable Work + Narrating Your Work

It has been popularised by John Stepper of Deutsche Bank and he describes five key elements of Working Out Loud, they are:

    Making your work visible: the fundamental starting point;
    Making work better: one of the main reasons for openly narrating your work is to find ways to improve it;
    Leading with generosity: framing your posts as contributions showing that you're not just looking for help but offering to help others, too. This is akin to our concept of creating abundance.
    Building a social network: interacting with a broader range of people;
    Making it all purposeful: since there's an infinite amount of contributing and connecting you can do, you need to make it purposeful in order to be effective.