Conversations about leadership, learning, coaching and change.

Working out loud: A real alternative to sheep dip training and change programs?

Working out loud: A real alternative to sheep dip training and change programs?

by Moyra Mackie on September 12, 2016

Since 1830 farmers have been trying to protect their sheep from parasites by dipping their whole flock in troughs of fungicide and insecticide.  At the time it was innovative, quick, compulsory and cost-effective.  Over time, however, it’s become clear that this well-intentioned process has not eradicated the targeted diseases and has proved toxic to many of the people working with it (not to mention the costs to the environment).

Are modern companies stuck in 1830?

I see the connections between real sheep dipping and the metaphorical sheep dip approach so many companies take to training and organisational change.  Every year organisations spend billions on top-down culture change initiatives and on large scale training programs.  Over half of them fail to achieve their aims. 

There’s money in sheep dip

You just have to see the offices of the world’s most “successful” consultancies.  The sheep dip approach  appeals to the command and control impulses that linger in many boardrooms.  These programs show the outside world that “something is being done,” whilst being a lot less scary than addressing how leaders are leading through one to one executive coaching.

The sad truth is many organisations – and by that I really mean the people in charge – don’t really want to change.  I have a check list here for you to see if you are inadvertently working for an organisation like this.

Many companies have dumped the dip approach for something better

Fortunately, there are courageous, far-sighted companies out there who know that dipping is not the answer.  

Bosch is just one of these organisations and their story is here.  They have chosen a way of enabling personal and group change called working out loud.

Working out loud helps individuals and teams craft a better way of living and working

John Stepper, the author of the book Working Out Loud, is working with Bosch and other  international corporates,  universities and non-profits.  I was fortunate enough to be asked for input by John on early drafts of his book and have seen the movement grow from a few circles, where he worked, to hundreds of circles in more than 20 countries.

Individuals, whether on Instagram or the Working Out Loud Facebook group, freely express how the practice has changed both their work and personal lives, whilst organisations have called it “the missing piece” of change management.

An easy, risk-free way to experience working out loud

Next month I will be helping John to facilitate an introductory experience to working out loud.  We meet virtually for an hour and a half for six weeks and it’s a perfect way for people interested in applying Working Out Loud inside their organisations who want to experience circles for themselves first.

In the meantime, one of the quickest ways to find out more is to watch my interview with John:

I will warn you that this is my first experience interviewing on camera – and it’s a lot harder and scarier than the professionals make it look!  I was fortunate that John is a great interviewee and I have learnt tons for my next interview.

I hope to see some of you on our course in October.  As someone who has taken part in a circle, I can vouch for the way it really changes and improves the way you think, feel and act at work.

Check out this link for more on joining us.

Post image: By Unknown – Gooreen collection, Public Domain,

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:

Back to top | Back to home