Author(s): Robert KeganDownload
Publish: Published March 22nd 2016 by Harvard Business Review Press (first published January 5th 2016)
ISBN: Edition Language English
A Radical New Model for Unleashing Your Company’s Potential
In most organizations nearly everyone is doing a second job no one is paying them for—namely, covering their weaknesses, trying to look their best, and managing other people’s impressions of them. There may be no greater waste of a company’s resources. The ultimate cost: neither the organization nor its people are able to realize their full potential.
What if a company did everything in its power to create a culture in which everyone—not just select “high potentials”—could overcome their own internal barriers to change and use errors and vulnerabilities as prime opportunities for personal and company growth?
Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey (and their collaborators) have found and studied such companies—Deliberately Developmental Organizations. A DDO is organized around the simple but radical conviction that organizations will best prosper when they are more deeply aligned with people’s strongest motive, which is to grow. This means going beyond consigning “people development” to high-potential programs, executive coaching, or once-a-year off-sites. It means fashioning an organizational culture in which support of people’s development is woven into the daily fabric of working life and the company’s regular operations, daily routines, and conversations.
An Everyone Culture dives deep into the worlds of three leading companies that embody this breakthrough approach. It reveals the design principles, concrete practices, and underlying science at the heart of DDOs—from their disciplined approach to giving feedback, to how they use meetings, to the distinctive way that managers and leaders define their roles. The authors then show readers how to build this developmental culture in their own organizations.
This book demonstrates a whole new way of being at work. It suggests that the culture you create is your strategy—and that the key to success is developing everyone.
Some Reviews: 530 ratings 63 reviews in Goodreads.com
The leadership team at my work read an Everyone Culture. Fascinating. It covers three companies who the authors have labeled “deliberately developmental organizations” (DDOs). They have practices in place that constantly pull their employees outside of their comfort zone, in ways that help to develop them as people and in their profession. They have normalized making mistakes, so that employees can feel safe to learn from them, and it also makes people more efficient. The author posits that people waste a tremendous amount of time covering up their inadequacies, and if they instead would expose them, they would be able to learn.The most powerful part of the book for me was the sixth chapter, where the author has you work through an activity to help you uncover the unconscious tendencies you have to protect yourself from uncomfortable growth. It helps you walk through determining a behavior you want to work on and then all of the things that you put in your own way that prevents you from achieving your growth goal. I discovered things I didn’t know about myself while working through that activity.The book left me feeling challenged as a leader in my organization to figure out how to institute practices in our workplace that would equally help stretch and develop people.
Kegan and Lahey explore what they believe to be an excellent model for an organization: Deliberatey Developmental Organizations, or DDOs. They argue that these organizations are more supportive of employees because they remind them that they hired them because they were good not because they were perfect. By accepting this as a truth, employees can waste less time on pretending to be perfect and can become more efficient contributors to the company and to their individual growth.At its core, there is nothing wrong with the practice or the ideas that influence it. Constructive development is useful. However, the prose in this book fails to excite or engage the reader. The book varies wildly from the overly intellectual to the incredibly accessible. Good for a brush up on the topic, but there are better works on DDOs.
If you are hungry for examples of companies changing the way they conduct business with an eye on “futureproofing” their business models by investing in people, this book takes you beyond research and theory. The authors follow 3 organizations who’ve adapted a unique version of how a DDO (Deliberately Developmental Organization) operates and the results they are getting. The book also profiles others experimenting with the overarching principles, strategies and imaginative tactics.The DDOs profiled practice their unique system wide view of holding people accountable for transcending their strengths by embracing their personal immunity to change even as the organization publically challenges everyone to be on this same personal development path. CEOs and senior leaders aren’t exempt…in fact for most profiled in the book the core leadership team begins the immersion process into the culture change.I’ve implemented immunity to change principles (ITC) with individual coaching clients and have witnessed its transformative insights so seeing ITC as a system wide approach to transforming organizational cultures better prepared to co-create a new and better future is exciting and well worth following.
The book introduces Kegan’s model (here stripped of the details and intricacies) in the context of business cultures. The ideas are demonstrated on 3 existing companies, incl. Bridgewater. I’m committed to reading anything about Dalio and Bridgewater so I really enjoyed it. It is also better than Hess’ Learn or Die.About the efficacy of the method: as with most books, there is a huge survivorship/selection bias going on bolstered by the fact that actually all 3 companies developed their cultures independently of Kegan’s work.Additionally the final chapters on how to instantiate learning cultures in existing companies essentially backtracks on most of its claims. Particularly the authors of **Everyone** Culture work only with a handful high-ranking C-suite managers (on relatively short time scales).
This IS an important book, and I do buy the gospel of adult developmental psychology. I’m just skeptical about the work presented here in terms of business psychology. It MIGHT work, but this is far, far from showing anything even remotely conclusive…
I’m afraid we’re still alone here and wish Kegan et al. focused rather on a different direction – small (possibly online-facilitated) self-selected communities.
This book details a very interesting new paradigm for running a business. A deliberate developmental organization removes the need for any employee to expend energy on hiding their weaknesses, maintains a hierarchy while creating a culture of accountability with radical candor and transparency throughout the entire organizational chart – down, across and up, expects and treats all employees as part of the team (not just providing extensive leadership training for those identified as the up and comers) and much more. It’s a fascinating approach that appears to be successful with at least some organizations that are highlighted throughout the book. It’s fairly new so we will have to wait and see if it is sustainable. My largest fear is that CEOs will read this book and decide to transform their organization into a DDO without the extreme commitment, hard work and commitment to being vulnerable that is required to make it successful.