In this Talent Tales episode I had the honor to interview Katharina Krentz , Sr. Consultant New Work & Digital Collaboration at Robert Bosch GmbH.
Katharina’s creative superpower is being “chancen-intelligent”. It’s one of those German words that does not really translate into English, but it means something to the effect that she has a talent to uncover opportunities and bringing them to life by connecting the right people.
Katharina is also widely credited with popularizing the Working Out Loud (#WOL) method in Germany. [You can read more about Katharina’s personal #WOL story here.] In a nutshell, Working Out Loud is a peer-supported method that helps people to share their work with others which fosters a culture of open communication and collaboration.
According to Katharina, the real power of the method lies in bringing together peers from completely different backgrounds and collaborate with them over a 12 week period. Everyone gets to bring their own learning topic to the circle and it becomes the basis for the network that circle participants learn to build. The method provides a safe space to build trust and support people you might otherwise not know. It also provides structured guidance on how to take very small steps including how to share on social media that can make a huge impact.
While Katharina does not officially report into the Huma Resource department, she considers herself an “HR friend”. HR owns the transformation and collaboration programs, but the overall Working Out Loud effort is very much driven by the business. Their joint purpose is to build communities at Bosch to power innovation and knowledge sharing across the globe.
Bosch has made a strong commitment to instilling the Working Out Loud method and fostering associated behaviors. Working Out Loud training at Bosch is available to all associates and can be completed during business hours. A key in implementing the method was to articulate its impact on strategic goals such as innovation, diversity, and collaboration. And, of course, there needs to be a role like Katharina’s to drive the effort and an Executive sponsor (in Bosch’s case it’s the CHRO) to make it a business priority.
The company is also rolling out Working Out Loud to key departments as a change management tool. HR is one of them. They are currently running an experiment with 250 HR people across the world with the goal to increase connectivity across different HR roles and to better understand HR strategy.