Why the HSA Foundation is starting to Work Out Loud

02 August 2016

Throughout June and July of 2016, I was privileged to take part in a Working Out Loud (WOL for the rest of this blog post) circle.

For those of you that haven’t heard of WOL, I’ve shared the words of John Stepper below, who provides a concise explanation in his blog post The Five Elements of Working Out Loud:

Working Out Loud starts with making your work visible in such a way that it might help others. When you do that – when you work in a more open, connected way – you can build a purposeful network that makes you more effective and provides access to more opportunities.

I would add, that WOL is pioneering, innovative and daring. It’s an adaptable approach that has limitless boundaries and has inspired people all across the world to think differently about an element, or in some cases their whole life – to essentially be happier with what they achieve and to carve out new opportunities that may have previously seemed unattainable. I’m not going to delve into all of the elements of WOL in this post – you can discover those yourself by watching John’s TED Talk (link) or by reading his book.

What I would like to focus on in this post is how WOL can catalyse an organisation, and how it has the potential to uncover new opportunities and revolutionise work approaches, by suggesting simple and achievable methods of doing things slightly differently.

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I’ve been working with the HSA Foundation for almost two years now, and I’ve been involved in some incredibly exciting projects: the development of Community Circles in the UK to combat social isolation and loneliness, the pioneering of person-centred approaches across India with our partners IPCAI, as well as an exploration into how person-centred thinking tools can improve development projects in Uganda. What I’ve been missing, is a comprehensive, adaptable approach through which I can communicate to the world the wonderful work that people are doing in these different settings. Until recently, that is.

I strongly believe that WOL will provide us with the framework to develop and improve our communications, and ultimately improve our relationships with our partners and supporters, which we hope will lead to more exciting opportunities in the future. One of the first things that John encourages us to do as part of a WOL circle is to articulate a goal that we would like to pursue throughout our WOL journey. Thereafter, with the support of our circle, we are able to explore a number of innovative and pioneering ways to achieve our goal. Although my goal changed almost every week during our circle, I used the experience as an opportunity to bounce ideas off my new peers and to try new things – they were an inspiring group of people so it wasn’t difficult to do things slightly differently! Now that the course is over, I have developed a new goal, through which I can begin to operationalise this newly found, wonderful approach:

To raise awareness of the inspiring work that organisations are doing to develop person-centred practices internationally

I appreciate that this is a very broad remit, but it has given me focus from which I now have the confidence to develop a marketing and communications strategy to showcase the projects that the Foundation are involved with across the world. Thanks to John, I’ve discovered an approach that is flexible, adaptable and is proven to work. Thanks to my circle, I have the confidence to try new things in order to achieve my goal. It really is fair to say that WOL can change your life, or at least your understanding of what it’s possible to achieve in life. For the Foundation, it has given us focus, confidence and drive to achieve our organisational priorities. For me personally, it has encouraged me to think differently and to see that there are opportunities to be taken from every situation. Thanks John.

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