Version 6

    Working Out Loud Circle Guide:  Week 5



    You expand your set of contributions and become a bit more systematic.


    Suggested reading:

    • Chapter 14 - Deepening Relationships through Contribution

    • Chapter 15 - How to Approach People


    Suggested Agenda

    10 minutes - What happened since last week?

    15 minutes - Exercise: Your contribution checklist

    15 minutes - The group discusses their contributions

    15 minutes - Exercise: From ad hoc to systematic

    5 minutes - A few things before the next meeting


    What happened last week? (10 minutes)

    Each person should speak for a few minutes about what they did since the last meeting. Offer generous encouragement and help each other expand your lists.


    Exercise: Your contribution checklist (10 minutes)

    So far, you’ve been working your relationship list. This week, you’re ready to create a second list: your contribution list. To start, here’s a list of 10 types of contributions, from the simplest to ones that take more effort and are more valuable. Refer to the Contribution Checklist to see how you can perform these actions in [Jive Community].


    1. Connect: Establish a connection with a person online, typically by following them on a social platform or subscribing to their updates.


    2. Show appreciation: Recognition and appreciation are “universal gifts” that Dale Carnegie wrote about in How to Win Friends and Influence People. It could be a Like button or a public “thank you” or giving someone credit for their work.


    3. Share learning: Sharing interesting content and the work of others you admire are low-risk, low-cost contributions that can help others.


    4. Connect the dots: Take something you found valuable and help spread it to other individuals or groups that might find it useful by @-mentioning it or sending it to them directly.


    5. Ask a question: Vulnerability can be a gift. Asking a question allows others to demonstrate their expertise, especially when you demonstrate how you tried to get the answer before asking. Be sure to offer appreciation for help, and make the answer available in such a way that it can help others.


    6. Answer a question: This helps the person asking and anyone else who benefits from your answer in the future. When you answer questions in an informal, humble way, it also burnishes your reputation as someone who is knowledgable and helpful.


    7. Offer feedback: Here you’re trying to build on the work someone else has done in a way that credits the person’s original work while also helping others. The gift is constructive feedback that advances the work, and your feedback may also include appreciation or a question.


    8. Share your experience: Reflect on your work. What have you learned - from both failures and successes - that might help others? It might be resources you find useful or techniques you’ve found effective. Frame it in a way it feels less like “Look at me!” and more like “I thought you might be interested in this.”


    9. Offer original ideas: Beyond reflecting on work done in the past, you can imagine what might be done and frame that as a contribution. What opportunities do you see for improvement and what are your constructive ideas? Credit other people and build on their work wherever possible.


    10. Connect a purposeful group: One of the most powerful contributions is connecting people who care about a particular topic and enabling them to work together on some positive change. It could be a working group that’s focused on a particular problem or a community of practice where members are interested in getting better individually and advancing the practice overall.


    Now see if, for each contribution, you can list one example you might possibly make. Don’t worry about making it just yet. Just having this list handy will help serve as a checklist in the future.


    1. _________________________________________________________


    2. _________________________________________________________


    3. _________________________________________________________


    4. _________________________________________________________


    5. _________________________________________________________


    6. _________________________________________________________


    7. _________________________________________________________


    8. _________________________________________________________


    9. _________________________________________________________


    10. _________________________________________________________


    The group discusses their contributions (10 minutes)

    Talk about some of your contributions. When you were trying to come up with examples, which contributions were easy? Which were difficult?


    Exercise: From ad hoc to systematic (10 minutes)

    Instead of going through everyone on your relationship list each week, tracking these three additional things helps you focus and ensures you don’t lose touch.


    1. The last contribution you made.

    2. The date you made it.

    3. The date you would like to make another one.


    For example, if you just made a connection with someone and you’re not sure how much you want to invest in the relationship, you might set a reminder to make some kind of contribution within two weeks or so. Now go through your own relationship list, and add the three new bits of information for each person.


    Compare notes within your group to help each other adjust your systems.


    A few things before the next meeting (5 minutes)

    At the end of this meeting, the facilitator has three small but important jobs:


    1. Schedule the next meeting.

    2. Remind people to read the Week 6 circle guide and suggested reading.

    3. Ask: “What will you do this week?”


    Try to make at least one of the new contributions from your contribution list.


    Frequently Asked Questions


    Q: What should I use to manage my lists?

    Simplicity and convenience are the most important attributes of any system you choose. I keep my lists on a piece of paper I carry with me and I rewrite each week. Because my list is so accessible, I refer to it more often, and I’m more mindful of the people on it. Others are more comfortable using a spreadsheet, a Jive document or a simple application that they can access on their phone or tablet.


    Additional exercises from Working Out Loud


    Something you can do in less than a minute

    Look back at positive habits you tried to develop—anything from flossing to playing the piano to exercising regularly. Think about the times you achieved your goal and the times you didn’t. What was the difference?


    Something you can do in less than 5 minutes

    Search for people you find particularly interesting - people whose work you admire as opposed to celebrities. What’s their online presence like? Look at their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. What do you like and not like about them?