Jonathan Anthony (@thismuchweknow) is Director of Corporate Communications at Teekay based in Vancouver in Canada. Jonathan is also a co-founder of International Working Out Loud week and one of the most adventurous practitioners of working out loud. It all fits with his stated ambition to be a Corporate Disorganizer.
Jonathan, you have been an adventurer in applying working out loud in Teekay with your efforts to map the networks of the organisation, work out loud under the stairs for the week and so on. What is the appeal of working out loud to you?
It’s about me, you, us.
Me: the only way I learn is to do; try new approaches, create something, put it into the marketplace of ideas, see if it survives/prospers, and then iterating anew.
You: as I learn, I share. Hey, share is the new save
I don’t know what might be useful to you, but if I try 10 things, likelihood is that something will connect with you, pique your interest.
Us: sharing creates a feedback loop. My default position is share openly, without boundary. I can co-create and learn with anyone, anywhere. The more I share my work, the wider my network becomes. Others gift to me their experiences, examples, ideas. I take on this learning and iterate again, building on my previous work and that of others.
Such is working out loud.
What adventures have you tried this wolweek and what is ahead?
I am trying to avoid standing alone this time (vs. working out loud under the stairs, which was my own brave/foolish challenge).
So with my team, we developed a culture wall in the training room. Firstly, as a team, we discussed our work, methodologies, critiques, and hopes for the projects we have to hand. It is a hands-on strategic planning and teambuilding session all in one.
Then we determined how to showcase the work for colleagues to understand, participate in, ask for more of. We will host short sessions on five topics on Monday, via a culture open house. Culture, virtual reality, portraiture, video production and space design are the topics, and each person in the team will run one session.
We hope to encourage colleagues, open new dialogues, sell our services, build muscle in driving dynamic organizational outcomes. It will be fun.
You call yourself a corporate disorganiser. How does that influence your approach to working out loud?
If I call myself Head, Corporate Communications, that is how I will approach the work. Nothing wrong with that, but it is limiting to the potential, emergent outcomes. When I say I disorganize, it is a promise and also a reminder to myself – push for more. There is always more.
Working out loud is the same: I am injecting creative tension into the work, with the expectation that the outcomes are vital and dynamic.
You have a strong interest in personal branding. How does working out loud and personal branding connect for you?
Well, I suppose working out loud, sharing my work, showcases to others what I can do, and personal branding is about making a promise that you then deliver on. A CV/resume speaks to the past, flatly. A personal brand is imbued with energy and potential, and must be consistently proven and built upon.
You have taken working out loud around the world with Teekay and even to the seafarers on ships. What stories strike you from people sharing their work out loud?
Driving an enterprise social network solution into the heart of the organization – Teekay was the world’s first company to use yammer-as-intranet – has profoundly changed our culture, towards openness and emergent practice; away from control and the idea of perfection. People have an account, and they have a voice, and they share their work for their own ends – internal branding, teambuilding, collaboration, culturestorming, collegial help etc.
Personally, I feel I know the organization intimately because of that work and that sharing. I see the gift of sharing every day, and I marvel afresh what a great company I work for because of the great people I work with. Imagine 5 years of firehose fantastical stories, served up daily, in bite sized pieces. It is a phenomenal, humbling experience. And now we are attempting to join thousands of seafarers holed up in vessels across the seven seas in the same way, to reflect their community of practice and acknowledge their professional brother/sisterhood.
Any advice for those looking to create new experiences through working out loud?
Godin says, find your tribe. Weinberger speaks of, small pieces loosely joined. If you start somewhere, without too much expectation, and move out into the world, optimistically, amazing things can happen. Your workview can change, for the better. Working out loud is simply narrating and sharing your work. What’s to lose?