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The Value Exchange – our weekly video/podcast is out now

We have been cheerleaders for more working out loud for a number of years. It is an integral part of our culture and holds first spot on our Behaviour Manifesto. SO it was with huge delight and privilege that this week were able to speak with John Stepper, Founder and Author of https://www.workingoutloud.com/ This was our first meet and we unceremoniously sprung on John a lastminute.com request as to whether he was happy for us to record our conversation. Thankfully he obliged and as 2023 sees us endeavouring to push our working out loud even further, beyond institutional and organisational boundaries and borders, it’s a great opportunity to be able to share the conversation wider.

For more info information on John Stepper and Working Out Loud visit https://www.workingoutloud.com/ or connect via LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnstepper/

WATCH/READ NOW

Youtube video – Episode 3 – Working Out Loud with John Stepper   (click to watch)

Transcript –  scroll to see text below 

If you want to join the conversation and participate in The Value Exchange, then Get in touch

 

TRANSCRIPT – Episode 3 – Working Out Loud with John Stepper 

00;01;23;20 – 00;02;03;25

Rob Pye

Good morning, John. Thanks for this spontaneous acceptance of making this a recorded webinar rather than a private conversation and introductions wise. I’ll introduce myself then Annabelle. I think we’ll be okay because we missed the first time round intro from Annabelle. But I’m 56 years old. Met Annabelle when I was working back in EY in 1999. And my thing, what gets me out of bed is organisations and bureaucracies are not really good at solving people and planet problems.

 

00;02;03;25 – 00;02;37;10

Rob Pye

We do lots to make money, but people, communities, the environment, the biosphere, they’re not very good. And originally a geek. Most of my work is about talking to people at the moment, and so that’s probably enough of an introduction to get away. So over to Annabelle. 

 

00;02;38;20 – 00;02;58;04

Annabelle Lambert

But my thing, as I’ve said, we’ve sort of been working together on this journey, which is that, you know, an experiment really into the future of work.

And my thing has always been about people and putting them more central to sort of understanding what they are, what they can and what they want to do and how that then emerges in their relationship with their work. You know, what value they want to bring to the world through their work and work being the broadest sense.

 

00;02;58;04 – 00;03;24;15

Annabelle Lambert

When Rob talks about, you know, he’s a father, he’s a you know, we would view, you know, caring and looking after the kids. And, you know, it’s a level of work that you need this part of your life. So and so they’re just considering the whole person really in that way, which has meant, you know, I’m a massive advocate for a real what I call real flexibility, which is a really a two at least a two way thing, because you can’t be flexible on your own on this.

 

00;03;24;15 – 00;03;45;02

Annabelle Lambert

You have agreement from wherever else you’re engaging. So. So and everything that that means also enjoyment. Fun is my fourth value. Fun at work. Enjoyment, really important. And a long, long time ago. And I read your book and I felt that this brought some things in my life I didn’t feel I’ve followed as a Bible in any way.

 

00;03;45;08 – 00;04;13;18

Annabelle Lambert

But just the idea of sharing things to get improvement from others really resonated with me and also sort of the generosity element of it. I feel if you give then you get and the world’s a better place. So. So I’ve been following you for that long. But at the centre of what we do, we have this thing called value exchange, which is sort of a tool or a means of going on a journey really with oneself.

 

00;04;13;18 – 00;04;51;23

Annabelle Lambert

And whatever one’s network is around oneself that one wants to engage with from a perspective of work. And about two, two and a half years ago, we embarked on taking this to younger people as the pandemic hit in the UK. We always wanted to move ourselves because we started this 24 years ago. And then so about two or three years ago, we were 20 years into this journey that is this experiment and and we were older and we’d always felt if you are future of work you’ve got to engage with young people, you know, and see whether we could make this work, this model, which had worked well for people who were in quite

a privileged situation and could invest the time in doing it. And so, pandemic hit, 5-6 young people came to it with no roles, no salary, no nothing, just the basis that we have this system of work built around this thing called value exchange. Can we work with you? Can you work with us and see where it takes you?

 

00;05;10;27 – 00;05;50;23

Annabelle Lambert

And then the government, through the pandemic, introduced this initiative called Kickstart in the UK, which was basically allowing employers to take on young people between 16 and 24 to have a minimum wage paid by the government but have six months of work experience. Whichever employers wanted to take this up. So so we doubled the size of our organisation almost overnight two/three months, went from 30 to 60, took on 30 young people on the same basis of, there are no roles, this is all about you and how can we help you get from where you are now to where wherever you can get to in six months.

 

00;05;50;23 – 00;06;26;07

Annabelle Lambert

And it varied quite massively because some people were, you know, ex-offenders, county lines drugs, and then other people were, you know, firsts from Russell Group universities. And it was so wonderful and a strenuous journey. And, and by the end of the Kickstart scheme, we’d helped We’d worked with about 65 young people, been through our work system and just bought this work system value exchange, the thing that I’ve sort of that’s kept me here really for the last 24 years came a bit front and centre, and I’m still a bit on a mission of world domination at the moment that this is a better way of working.

 

00;06;26;15 – 00;06;47;20

Annabelle Lambert

I haven’t invested in a white cat yet, but that yeah, I mean, you know, in a nice way what what did it delightfully disruptive or something you politely disrupted was afraid Rob used a few days a few days ago the quiet quite liked in a polite disruption rather than world domination but so that’s me and that’s what I’m about.

 

00;06;48;27 – 00;07;15;02

John Stepper

You mentioned we doubled the staff, so we took on 30 people. So what are the other 30 people do? 

 

Robert Pye

Yeah. So we’re going to we’re going to save that one for a tiny bit. John When when we sort of just who are you? Why do you do what you do? And then and then we’re just going to have some banter, which is random conversation, which normally sparks fantastic stuff, but we’re not going to excuse you from an introduction.

 

00;07;15;12 – 00;07;56;24

Annabelle Lambert

No pressure. No pressure either. 

 

John Stepper

A little bit about me, and it certainly changed over time. So if you ask a question two years ago or certainly five years ago, I said I’d give you a different answer. Following your lead. I have five kids, between 12 and 27. So I really see it’s interesting on multiple levels, but to see even the difference between them and what their experiences or expectations are of work and life and even the planet has changed over those 15 years.

 

00;07;56;24 – 00;08;21;09

John Stepper

That gap, most of most of my career, my life, I had a job and it was, you know, by most accounts was a good job. I worked in banking and, you know, where I grew up in the Bronx, if they paid you a certain wage, you really didn’t ask any questions and you just did whatever whatever they did.

 

00;08;21;09 – 00;08;57;02

John Stepper

So to land in investment banking. And I was also a computer scientist before the Internet was like a golden ticket of a kind. And I did that unquestioningly. And my career, I was doing fine, was very lucky until I wasn’t. And it was only when things changed, Financial crisis, organisational changes, etc., that you start to wonder like, Oh, I’ve, I’ve just been playing a kind of career roulette my whole life.

 

00;08;57;24 – 00;09;29;29

John Stepper

And I was lucky at times and now I’m not lucky. And this is a terrible feeling. But it’s not just about me. It’s about everybody who’s kind of waiting for some next shoe to drop, or whether it’s a reorg, a budget cut, a layoff, you know, a new boss, pick your  thing. And that motivated me to do something that I could take more control.

 

00;09;31;02 – 00;10;03;08

John Stepper

And at first I thought I was going to be technology. So I was in a position at the bank. I could bring in a social network back. I know just like 2009, 2010, I was still early. And I thought, well, these tools really allow you to shape your reputation, have a voice and connect with people like you so that you could access opportunities without waiting for your boss to do something on your behalf or And the tools are important.

 

00;10;03;08 – 00;10;21;24

John Stepper

They just weren’t enough. As it’s now. It’s obvious most people were busy. They didn’t really see what it was, but the benefit might be for them. And they were also afraid, like, what if I do something wrong? I get in trouble with my boss? And so that led me to shift from being kind of technology centric to people centric.

 

00;10;22;16 – 00;10;55;10

John Stepper

Developing ways that people could make contributions, could offer more of themselves at work, could find other people like them that could either help them or that they could cooperate and learn from, but do it in a self-directed way by sparking self-determination. And when I did that, for some people at least, It made a big difference. It just gave them this sense of empowerment, of intrinsic motivation.

 

00;10;55;26 – 00;11;39;12

John Stepper

And it was a beautiful thing to see when the pilot light goes on and somebody and some people went on to do great things, some people just felt more whole, more comfortable at work, more confident. And in 2016, like my time with that bank ended unceremoniously and I decided to try to make that into a business. And so my initial motivation was, Hey, how could I help myself and other people in this bank to have a better experience? Like to make more of themselves and do it in a way that was, that felt good.

 

00;11;39;28 – 00;12;16;12

John Stepper

It felt good, but that also led to better work. It was also better for the company. But once you turn it into a business and I think, Annabelle, this might have prompted one of your original questions or outreach was, well, that’s that’s nice, but who’s it for? And is it just a nice idea that some people like, or is it something that has a value in a marketplace and that some people are willing to pay for so that it’s sustainable, it’s an exchange, it’s not something else.

 

00;12;16;26 – 00;12;44;21

John Stepper

It’s not just charity. Not that charity is bad. But I wasn’t in position to just be to just be charitable. And so that was the last seven years trying to really figure that out. I’ve since made more things and I stumbled into, almost literally stumbled into working with companies that I’d never imagined I would work with. And, you know, and later in the conversation, talk about work.

 

00;12;45;01 – 00;13;10;02

John Stepper

What did that look like and what’s a business model, and do you even need one or why is that important? But now what I do is kind of back to my original motivation. I feel that what I have to offer is particularly suitable and valuable inside the workplace, like that’s where it’s needed most. That’s where I can reach the most people.

 

00;13;11;09 – 00;13;55;23

John Stepper

Although the world’s a big place and the Internet’s a big place, it’s inside companies that I actually have more success and more access and can make a bigger difference. And so that’s what I do now, is I make this range of peer to peer learning and development methods and infect, companies with them not left too much to be counter-cultural or corporate rebel, but really to help to help people that to help people wherever they are, whatever job, whatever company to help them have a better experience, build skills, confidence, networks in ways that are good for them and also good for the company.

 

00;13;55;23 – 00;14;30;02

Rob Pye

So so you’ve just given us enough content there to maybe spark about three days of conversation

 

Annabelle Lambert

I love the bit about why you started, because Rob and I started in 1999. 

 

Rob Pye

I was going to go there. 

 

Annabelle Lambert

But you can imagine the technology that we had and we started by trying to sell communities of interest into one of the big four that we happened to work for at the time.

 

00;14;31;05 – 00;15;20;12

Annabelle Lambert

And in hindsight, I like what we did. We did. We didn’t. But in hindsight, oh no, we were absolutely mental. But we tried. We did. We did do that. 

 

Robert Pye

But also in the year 2000, we came across to the US to meet some of the founding fathers. It was all male, of the Internet, as it was emerging then in the year 2000 and looked at a lot of the cultural underpinnings of techno optimists who could have said the same things as you’ve said in terms of this individual agency and a connecting delivering value and met with some people.

 

00;15;20;20 – 00;15;55;26

Robert Pye

One was Etienne Wenger who’s communities of practice. We came across for him because he wrote a really interesting book,that popularised the term communities of practice which studied insurance claims processes, you know, big corporate, you know, how do people make sense of the world when their job is being a very mechanistic claims process and in financial services some other people like Cliff Figalo out of the Well.

 

00;15;57;10 – 00;16;28;15

Robert Pye

Howard Rheingold (Yeah, yeah) the online communities, but so then then we find one forward and I’m just going to quickly answer your question that I avoided, which is what what are those people we so in in in in ethos 12 years ago we, we decided not to work for organisations but to work for ourselves, to be an incubator or accelerator of socially valuable things.

 

00;16;28;28 – 00;16;53;03

Robert Pye

So that could be nonprofits, charities for profit, you know, technology. So we’ve spent the last decade and a bit building stuff for our own benefit, like being a sort of social venture capitalist. The young leaders project that I’m about, and we’ve done some quite really, quite, you know, big, big stuff. But they’ve all been about people and planet.

 

00;16;53;03 – 00;17;27;21

Rob Pye

But certainly my geeky mission has been the interplay not just within organisational culture but between organisations and between individuals and organisations. So the interplay between me as a person and I happen to work for an organisation or I work for one organisation and want to talk to another. And of course, you know, in the middle of a global macro economic system, you know, we have if it hasn’t got a price, it’s got no value.

 

00;17;27;21 – 00;17;57;06

Rob Pye

And when we go from our corporate firewall in finance or anywhere, anywhere else, we’re mediated by, you know, this contract of exchange rather than the concept, let’s say, of communities of practice. So we value exchange in our system theory, if you like, is about how do you have conversations with one another, how do you communicate and we see a movement developing which you might call working out loud.

 

00;17;57;06 – 00;18;22;24

Robert Pye

So my next question might, might be where did that where did the working out loud come from as a concept more than your back story? What, why? Why working out loud? Where did that come from? 

 

John Stepper

So as a phrase that had been, it would have been used by a number of people and had really come to mean making your work visible in different ways like that.

 

00;18;22;24 – 00;18;51;27

John Stepper

That was what it meant. And what I decided to do was I felt that that wasn’t enough. Like this, this idea of making your work visible actually appealed to a small set of people. 

 

Annabelle Lambert

Those that would dare do it. Yeah, 

 

John Stepper

Right. So yeah, so we all, we don’t, we all the same people kind of met at the same conferences to talk about how this was a good thing to do.

 

00;18;52;18 – 00;19;29;18

John Stepper

And I, I wanted to reach, I wanted to reach more people than that and so what I did was I took that phrase, but I kind of humanised it and tried to build a wall. Why would you? And so I expanded it just to mean more than knowledge sharing. But this idea that I have a voice, I have a right to be heard, to contribute, to offer more of myself, and to do it in this way that leads to mutually beneficial relationships with other people.

 

00;19;29;18 – 00;19;57;06

John Stepper

So like, it’s fundamental, I’m not just that’s why, you know, so often people use a kind of a megaphone for working out loud and in the second edition of the book, I had to put it, you know, this thing that’s shouting like a one way and 

 

Annabelle Lambert

That’s loud. Yeah, yeah. 

 

John Stepper

People really love the loud part. We have plenty of loud what we don’t necessarily have is

 

00;19;57;06 – 00;20;27;27

John Stepper 

attention, listening, empathy, all things, you know, And so like long story short, I took that phrase and imbued it with elements that are more human, that are more prosocial, and try to turn that into something else. 

 

Robert Pye

So one of the things you mentioned in your introduction was another trigger word. I said there’s enough contact there for several days, but  peer to peer.

 

00;20;28;08 – 00;20;54;29

Robert Pye

So we’ve been on, and this isn’t an organisational design question. It’s more of an agency question for individuals at work, peer to peer. So we know a guy called Michel Bauwens, who’s the founder of the Peer to Peer Foundation, and he’s got a wiki that again like yourself, if you’re working out loud he’s mister peer to peer.

 

John Stepper

How do you spell his last name?

 

00;20;54;29 – 00;21;26;20

Robert Pye

Bauwens, b,a,u,w,e,n,s. I believe he’s probably going to kill me when I get his name wrong because he’s a good friend. But he yeah, the peer to peer foundation, he’s done some remarkable work about kind of looking at again the sort of techno social construct that things might connect in networks rather than 

 

John Stepper 

You spelt his name right by the way.

 

00;21;26;20 – 00;22;08;06

Robert Pye

Ah Well, thank you, Michel. So we’ve, we’ve kind of looked at turning the organisation on its side in many ways, you know, so hierarchies become as Jon Husband would become wirearchies.  You know, Jon has been a partner in Ethos, he’s a Canadian guy.  Does your working out loud have a lot to say, anything to say, something to say on organisational design and work design from a OD kind of perspective.

 

00;22;08;06 – 00;22;54;24

Rob Pye

Do you ever run across that? What is what’s the mix between that culture and the the formal organisation, 

 

John Stepper

Yes or no? So in the beginning it was the answer was more yes, because somebody would take some free Working out loud guides, introduce it like a virus into their company and then try to spread it. And so the early adopters were, I won’t say corporate rebels, but more in that vain, like, hey, this is our chance to do to kind of to do something that’s their’s very different from the hierarchy, right.

 

00;22;55;04 – 00;23;42;28

John Stepper

Take back to love, control, etc. And that felt very good. That’s why it felt more like a movement back then or a statement. What I learned over my experience is that never underestimate the resilience of a corporate structure. So what they would, what I, again this my own experience and other people might view it differently is that these movements were tolerated but they never made much of a difference that might be a little bit strong.

 

00;23;42;29 – 00;24;12;14

John Stepper

They made a difference for the people in them. But what I saw and I saw this multiple times over the years is that the volunteers were very enthusiastic. They spread a thing. It could have, it could be working out loud, It could have been agile, it could be something else. And unless you actually engage the machine, then eventually you get tired, like you run out of runway or there’s a change and then you’re not tolerated anymore or something.

 

00;24;13;04 – 00;24;53;05

John Stepper

And so these movements tended to be short lived or we would just come and go. So what I do now is I embrace the machine. And very often what we have is procured by HR programme managers who have run onboarding or learning and development or or a diversity community. And then that actually makes it safer for people to participate and it makes it easier for them to carve out an hour in an otherwise overcrowded.

 

00;24;54;24 – 00;25;31;05

John Stepper

So it it it’s just counterintuitive, but by engaging a machine, I can actually reach more people and make it safer to practise. And so now does that change the company from an OD or organisational design perspective? No one would say no, but it is what I do instead. So instead of having these big goals of changing a company, I have smaller goals of can I fuel a sense of self determination within an individual, which is exactly what the company wants nowadays anyway.

 

00;25;31;25 – 00;26;07;12

John Stepper

And working at that level, I’m working more at the individual level and the systems level, if that makes sense. 

 

Rob Pye

Well, that’s incredibly insightful and incredibly important. Important because the interplay between individual and organisation, between formal structures, governance, discharge of power and informal working like back to Etienne the interplay between those two things is incredibly important and back to the legitimacy point.

 

00;26;07;12 – 00;26;47;08

Rob Pye

If just before Annabelle thinks of the next question,our own story is one where we wanted sovereignty of the problem solving set set, which is why we incubated and accelerated, just did our own thing. But invariably that involved partnering with really big organisations. So we partnered with the UK government. We’ve got a venture that’s still inside Ethos called Team Police, which is the UK’s police force and 300,000 police officers.

 

00;26;47;21 – 00;27;17;24

Rob Pye

But it’s about their wellbeing. You know, if you’re frontline and you’re suffering incredibly damaging mental health, PTSD, you know, how do you stay well? And so we’re doing physical activity and fundraising to help a payroll be well, and that as a new brand that that will, is becoming its own charity. So they won’t work within ethos, that team, any more later this year, that will be independent.

 

00;27;17;24 – 00;27;41;06

Rob Pye

But our own journey post young leaders is that we’ve decided now to step back onto the consulting treadmill more. And there is this bit called Value Exchange, which again is a public good and we want to be viral so people can give themselves permission to have that conversation with themselves on their networks about who they are, why they do what they do.

 

00;27;41;23 – 00;28;11;10

Rob Pye

But it’s also about the corporate and business engagement and the bit you’ve just said about an H.R. engaging and giving legitimacy. My words, you know, to the practice of working out loud is kind of similar to what we’re doing now in going into corporate boardrooms or charities and talking about…. It might be a corporate we’re talking to about ESG, environmental, social and governance and rather like Emperor’s clothes.

 

00;28;11;10 – 00;28;37;14

Rob Pye

You know, when you build a trustworthy conversation with someone and kind of, you go, well, okay, you’ve got a fantastic glossy report, but where are the gaps? And they go “oh diversity, inclusivity”. You know, we’re just doing what middle class males from East London, you know, how on earth do we build an inclusive workforce? Do we just not need a normal distribution where we  go, right, you’re a woman, you’re ethnic minority.

 

00;28;37;14 – 00;29;15;16

Rob Pye

You’re like, I know you, just thought, you know, please don’t try and do that, you know, because it’s going to be damaging. You know, how do you do it at a grassroots level? So it percolates up. So it comes top down, so it goes in from the side and know it’s a big culture thing, but it’s a start of a conversation that might originate from an organisational need that’s acknowledged and a gap that they go we would really like to do that.

 

00;29;15;25 – 00;29;44;15

Rob Pye

So is the movement in organisations? So  It was virally spreading and now it’s commissioned. Is the demand for this stuff within organisations? Has it gone mad? IS it kind of stable? Is it still niche, you seeing organisations go, Wow, here’s an epiphany moment, We really need to just use this to to get the word out there more.

 

00;29;44;15 – 00;30;17;28

Annabelle Lambert

You know, and I think this is a lot you know, I feel this, you know, in my bubble in which I live, you know, employee engagement is rife as a problem. So I’m interested to hear the answer to that question.

 

John Stepper

I’d say it’s in the middle. And what I mean is,  it’s,  I used to appeal or try to appeal to everybody.

 

00;30;17;28 – 00;30;59;04

John Stepper

So whether you’re a freelancer or you’re somebody from and that gave me the impression that, oh, this thing can spread on its own because it was, but but having having, you know, 0.00 1% of the Internet use your thing, is it then it seems like a big number, bigger than I would have expected. It’s actually different than trying to get somebody inside XYZ company to spread it in some systematic way because they have different challenges.

 

00;31;00;26 – 00;32;07;23

John Stepper

Or, to be more specific, what an H.R. person needs to purchase and approve or validate and then double down on some learning programme. What they need is very different from some enthusiastic fan who is curious and wants to try something. And so, I’d say there’s more demand and interest from HR people, so potential customers, but there’s also more work for me, for us, to do on shaping the products so that they’re easier for them to introduce, communicate and spread. Our best benchmark is Bosch, which you may have seen, and they’ve got, you know, so far between 8000-10,000 people who’ve been in circles, which is a big number.

 

00;32;08;13 – 00;32;50;05

John Stepper

And bigger than everybody else. But they had to do a fair amount of things internally to make that happen. And so I, I probably naively thought, oh, it would be easy to make more Bosches. And it turns out that was not the case, that they were really, really good at what they did. The people that work there and introduced it and spread it and it’s on me to take that package and productize it so that other HR, maybe they don’t get to 10000 but maybe 500 whatever it is.  Any that’s

 

00;32;50;05 – 00;33;23;11

Annabelle Lambert

What do you think was different at Bosch John than anywhere else? 

 

John Stepper

So there is a recipe they have I mean, some of these are obvious, but they’re still not things that I, I can offer as a product. They train the trainer in a systematic way. So they have distributed working out loud mentors in many countries. They have a central registry system like little software for circles to register.

 

00;33;23;23 – 00;33;48;08

John Stepper

So it’s easier for them to meet and find time. And they have great, they’ve developed great materials to explain what the hell it is and how it relates to Bosch and why they should do it. They did a great job in profiling people and spreading internal working out stories of Bosch colleagues, which further normalises it and makes it accessible for people.

 

00;33;49;09 – 00;34;14;25

John Stepper

And they did an amazing job of getting early on sponsorship from the head of HR for the company, who was a board member, and then plugging it into different programmes in different locations. So, you know, normally when I, when we sell to a company, I sell to a person who has a budget and span of control, and that’s good.

 

00;34;14;25 – 00;34;45;01

John Stepper

But it’s very hard for that person and say, oh yeah, and I’m going to spread it across the company. Whereas in effect, the boss team sold it over here and that made it a lot easier to sprinkle throughout different divisions and countries. 

 

Rob Pye

Yeah I mean we in the UK, we know the chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, CIPD, which is essentially the HR Directors membership club.

 

00;34;45;02 – 00;35;23;28

Rob Pye

HR the industry in the UK, as a generalisation, which is not not a great starting point, tends to be quite traditional. Do you see a lot of working out loud in  the UK and further question, you know, so UK companies, UK organisations, where in the world is this is this quite big?

 

John Stepper

For sure. You know most of what we do is in Germany and Switzerland. 

 

Rob Pye

Is there a reason for that I would think?

 

00;35;24;03 – 00;35;54;23

John Stepper

I would think so. The story I tell myself, which may be true. It’s one of two things either Germans and Swiss, they’re structured. They like the structured approach and they’re culturally more open to these innovative learning things. Maybe. That’s one reason, possibly. The other is, well, Bosch was the first company to use it, and then they, in effect, spread it.

 

00;35;54;23 – 00;36;25;24

John Stepper

And it certainly was true in 2016, 17, 18 to their industry and then beyond. Then the people of those early adopters were very visible and vocal. So, you know, ideas spread through social networks. My first corporate customer was in Germany and then they spread it to other German based companies, many of whom are global. And we don’t have marketing, we don’t have sales people.

 

00;36;25;24 – 00;36;57;14

John Stepper

And what was originally spread by word of mouth. So that makes sense that it’s spread in Germany and Switzerland. And now it would be up to me to develop sales and marketing to tackle other markets. The way we, when we have people in the UK or other countries. So there are certainly people who are in working out loud circles in other countries, just as one of our programmes has somebody in Pakistan who had trouble accessing the Internet and our workbooks.

 

00;36;58;01 – 00;37;28;27

John Stepper

But it’s that’s usually driven from a global customer who’s trying to connect the dots across locations and in that example, they were based in Dusseldorf, right. So you have a German or Swiss company headquartered there, but then or like Bosch, but then they spread it to their location, sometimes dozens of locations. And just to finish that thought, that tells me it’s not a cultural thing.

 

00;37;29;17 – 00;38;05;12

John Stepper

Like I think if the world’s a big place. So it’s not as if, oh people in Pakistan won’t like this kind of thing. We have hundreds of people at Bosch in Japan in circles. And this isn’t obviously consistent with that cultural stereotype of, you know, being invisible and having contributing out loud. I think it has much more to do with… with who’s even aware of our product, then it is..

 

00;38;05;18 – 00;38;26;29

John Stepper

Do they have,  is there social proof in their circle that other people use it? And so if you’re sitting here in the U.S., I haven’t heard of it, and I don’t know anyone who has. Whereas if you’re in Germany, you’ve seen it in HR magazines. We’ve had an HR  programme which has had about 700- 800 people of HR managers who’ve been in circles. So that, again, social proof normalises it. It just feeds on itself. 

 

A quick administrative question, is it okay, I have just got a message. I have to leave in a few minutes, maybe like five or 10 minutes. Okay. 

 

Rob Pye

Yeah, yeah, yeah. We, number one, we can edit 

 

00;38;52;28 – 00;39;24;02

Rob Pye

But number two, I think we only planned 45 minutes. We are kind of getting there anyway.  I was going to move to my next one, unless,that’s just occurred is so…. The question, John, is, you know, in the history of the world, it’s you know this is quite not been long since you could have gone from flash to bang on working out loud.

 

00;39;24;20 – 00;40;05;14

Rob Pye

Where would you like to take it? So if we think in next 5, 10 years of your life you know, where was this heading then in your dreams. 

 

John Stepper

I’m smiling because I’ve been asking myself that question. So the honest answer is I don’t know. If you asked me that a year ago, I’d say, Hey, I’d like to build this business and grow it like it would be more of a business answer because I could see how this could scale.

 

00;40;05;14 – 00;40;34;08

John Stepper

We have certified coaches, a handful, in Germany and Switzerland, who do a fantastic job. And it can be a very scalable model both inside the company and as a business. It turns out I don’t love doing that. Or maybe I’m also it’s either my whether I don’t love it or I’m not good at it, or those two things are combined.

 

00;40;34;16 – 00;41;07;12

John Stepper

And so one of the things I’ve been working on lately that I like is we created a method for people in operational environments, manufacturing, health care and working with those audiences, doing more field work, like really people who really get learning and development. They’re not in the HR talent development program, right? Like it’s a different audience. That to me feels very fulfilling.

 

00;41;08;06 – 00;41;46;12

John Stepper

So that’s one path I’m exploring. Hey, I could do more hands on work with people who need it more. That’s one way that that could go. Another is we’re working with the university here in the US in Iowa, and they’re looking at another method for resilience. So it’s not quite what you describe for the police, but it’s in that direction and it’s really applied positive psychology in my support for that.

 

00;41;47;23 – 00;42;10;25

John Stepper

And they’re looking at can we offer this to citizens of Iowa who need it? I think. Well, that’s interesting. And, you know, and not something I ever imagined doing. But boy, that would really spark a sense of purpose, I’m well behind you and what you do in the kind of programmes that you do for people that need it.

 

00;42;11;04 – 00;42;43;03

John Stepper

Maybe my future is, it’s a nice portfolio that has corporate customers and also does this meaningful work inside those customers as well as in society at large. And I’m still figuring that out. Well, if we can survive to fight another day, as they say business wise then, and those two doing that exploration and experimentation and it doesn’t have to be a huge thing.

 

00;42;43;14 – 00;43;10;08

John Stepper

It could just be a theme. 

 

Rob Pye

But I think that’s a lovely point to be respectful of your time and bring this little mini webinar to a close. It’s always the best , no planning. But so in terms of where we take this, we’d love to offer you the opportunity to look at value exchange personally.

 

00;43;10;08 – 00;43;36;18

Rob Pye

You know, it’s all about who are you, where, where have you been, where do you want to go? And to the extent that it might, it might be interesting for you then, you know it’s there. We’ll also put this down as a video, as a transcript, as a, you know, a vlog blog, as what would you call it 

 

Annabelle Lambert 

Podcast 

 

Rob Pye

A podcast I think is the word I’m looking for. Modern technology!

 

00;43;36;26 – 00;43;57;17

Rob Pye

Well, you know, I’m 56 and I’ve no idea what I want to do on a grow up kind of thing, but just huge thank you, massive insights. Thank you Annabelle for bringing you here. And until the next time. 

 

John Stepper 

It was really a pleasure, I respect what you both do. I’m very happy to have met you and learn more about it.

 

00;43;57;17 – 00;45;12;14

John Stepper

So to be continued 

 

Rob Pye

To be continued definitely. Thank you. Thank you. 

 

Annabelle Lambert

Thanks, John.

 

 

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