An Everyone Culture | Robert Kegan

Summary of: An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization
By: Robert Kegan


In the age of rapid change and intensifying competition, companies that focus on fostering a culture of self-development possess a distinct competitive edge. ‘An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization’ by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey uncovers the groundbreaking approach taken by deliberately developmental organizations (DDOs) that interweave personal and professional development with their business strategy. Throughout this book summary, you’ll explore innovative practices that encourage employees to face their insecurities and weaknesses, and case studies that demonstrate the tangible benefits of embracing a DDO philosophy.

The Power of Developmental Organizations

Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey’s book, “Deliberately Developmental Organizations,” introduces the concept of DDOs where companies merge revenue building with individual growth. They argue that many individuals waste time and energy running away from their insecurities and limitations. The book showcases how DDO practices help managers and employees escape this denial, leading to enhanced performance, satisfaction, and success. Kegan and Lahey present an innovative approach to self-development that will inspire entrepreneurs, senior leaders, HR heads and managers, but may unnerve those who prefer emotional privacy at work.

Overcome Self-Limitations

In their book, Kegan and Lahey argue that people waste time and energy on hiding their insecurities and skill deficiencies. However, they offer insight on how achieving job satisfaction and personal growth is possible. The authors highlight Deliberately Developmental Organizations (DDOs) as businesses that cultivate human growth and development, leading to increased profits and productivity. By embracing personal growth opportunities, businesses can reach their full potential and enjoy benefits such as improved retention, accountability, and error correction. Kegan and Lahey’s book provides an unusual perspective on self-improvement and corporate development.

Next Jump’s Controversial Success

The book uses Next Jump as a case study to explain why deliberately developmental organizations (DDOs) succeed. Next Jump’s culture of “Better Me” plus “Better You” equals “Better Us” is achieved through careful monitoring and observation of employees, as well as a Personal Leadership Boot Camp. While the authors praise Next Jump’s methods, readers may find them evocative of the military or certain cults. The book raises important questions about the balance between company coherence and individuality, and whether psychological intrusiveness is ethical in pursuit of profit.

Decurion and the Four Core Tenets

Learn how Decurion, the cinema multiplex company, is able to achieve significant revenue growth while promoting employee emotional intimacy through its unique culture and core tenets, which include valuing meaningful work, prioritizing human growth, and sharing knowledge.

The authors of the book detail how Decurion, a deliberately developmental organization, fosters a culture that emphasizes routines and practices for getting work done, a unique language and shared deep assumptions. At Decurion, employees are encouraged to develop both individually and in communities through co-worker emotional intimacy, which is enforced through practices such as a “check-in” and “check-out” where participants discuss their emotional state and how they feel about meetings.

Moreover, Decurion is not a company that hoards knowledge to consolidate personal power. Instead, they have a policy of “giving your job away,” meaning that employees are encouraged to share knowledge, thereby promoting a culture of collaboration that prioritizes human growth over the search for profit.

Decurion resolves conflicts in a unique way as well, through the use of a “fishbowl” method, where four senior people sit in a circle with colleagues around them to discuss conflicts and behaviors. This not only helps resolve conflicts but also sheds light on underlying mindsets that might fuel misunderstandings.

In this summary, you will learn how Decurion’s four core tenets have resulted in its significant revenue growth and unique internal culture, where the company’s focus is on meaningful work, human growth, and knowledge sharing.

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