At GANDT, we think of ourselves as digital entrepreneurs who are always ready to step into our client’s shoes, find sustainable solutions, and serve as a reliable partner throughout each of our customer’s digital and organizational needs. Our aim is to empower our clients to one day independently be able to achieve their own business and digital best. We found that this is best happens when we seek digital opportunities proactively, value honesty, and Work Out Loud with them. New to the concept of Working Out Loud? It is as simple as it is transformative. Let’s take a closer look.
The foundation of Working Out Loud
The concept of Working Out Loud was first described by Bryce Willians in a 2010 blog post ‘When will we work out loud? Soon!’. His formula was straightforward yet compelling:
Working out loud = observable work + narrating your work
Later, the concept would be expanded upon by John Stepper who broke it down into five elements:
- visible work
- purposeful discovery
- growth mindset
Taken as a whole, Working Out Loud is a way of approaching work that encourages employees to narrate their actions so others can interact, respond, learn, and apply that knowledge to their own work. It is intended to break through organizational hierarchies and get people to communicate outside of narrow groups.
The idea is that, when team members proactively lead by example, others are persuaded to take part and that helps nurture a more open working culture of truth, transparency, and trust. Of course, the way the elements of Working Out Loud are interpreted and applied is unique to each organization. Here is how we mobilize this core brand value in our company:
Proactive communication to work out loud
As our Performance Marketing Manager Dario Stock puts it, “proactive communication is key to making Working Out Loud possible.” He explains that “by sharing your progress, learnings, and insights in ‘real-time’ not only with the team but with the client, we can both educate while inviting open discussion.”
In practice, we use open Slack channels and Notion to document as much information as possible and keep everyone in the loop on relevant projects. As Dario points out, “this also allows everyone to comment and share their experience and feedback on specific topics” (which helps enhance the quality of our final output). Ultimately, a key aspect of proactive communication is to not be afraid, or limited, by aiming for perfection.
Indirectly, this serves as a knowledge hub that we can always cross-reference. For example, when we are planning a measure for client A and already did it for Client B; we can research our history in Slack or Notion to figure out how we did it before, what the challenges were, and which insights we generated.”
Transparency and the sharing of knowledge
When we Work Out Loud, we share our knowledge and approach each step of a project in collaboration with our internal team and our clients. At GANDT, we believe access to information and insights is power. Therefore, we always aim to provide our clients with a clear picture of how we’ve arrived at various solutions and proposals, to empower them to be able to work with them independently in the future.
As one of our content marketing and SEO experts Greet Gleixner explains, “for me, Working Out Loud means that we try to show our work as we’re doing it. That means asking questions on Slack, sharing drafts, and sharing in public channels so that others have the chance to learn from what we’ve done.”
Learning as a group
In addition to showing our work as it happens, we also feel that it is important to routinely go back and reflect on our processes and experiences. As one of our leading Project Managers Chris Smid summarizes, “once a month we come together to talk about the learnings and important topics from our client work. This helps everyone on the team learn from each other, even if we are not directly working with a specific client.
A current example is working with TikTok Paid Ads in the Swiss market. Due to the learnings we have gathered from different clients, we have been able to transfer the knowledge and help launch TikTok as a viable option in the marketing mix. If we would not be Working Out Loud and sharing our learnings proactively, we would not be able to learn as a group. This is especially important in our industry because digital marketing and business are always changing and with Working Out Loud—everyone in the group is able to keep up with trends.”
Building meaningful relationships
Ultimately, the approach of working out loud is about sharing without needing anything in return. It provides the basis for investing in relationships so that both parties can achieve a goal, develop a skill, or explore a new topic. When we Work Out Loud, our contributions help to build trust over time, deepen a sense of relatedness, and improve the quality of our cooperation and collaboration. This all contributes to higher motivation, enhanced agility, and more opportunities for innovation.