People are the very building blocks of any organization, yet organizations, and even churches behave as though individuals are merely resources that are to be consumed by the organization in the process of accomplishing the goals. An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization, by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey shifts the focus to developing the individuals within the organization. This book takes a practical look at corporate culture, organizational behavior, effectiveness, and change while focusing on developing a culture that is safe for the individuals who make up an organization develop, as they work toward greater productivity of that community.
Kegan and Lahey’s description of “deliberately developmental organizations (DDOs)” reminded me of Professional Learning Communities PLOs . The ideas and concepts of individual development while enhancing the goals and purposes of the institution or organization resonate with me. Those aspects of DDOs and PLCs that identify individual’s strengths, and empower them, not just for the greater good of the organization but also as a jumping off point for further development of each person intrigue me. While both DDOs and PLCs integrate self-evaluation and observation into their process, DDOs seem to go much deeper into the barriers of change. PLCs seem to focus mostly on educators who self-select to engage in change, as they collaborate through the process of person growth and the improvement of professional skills.
In contrast, DDOs revamp the entire organization from the top down. There are three dimensions of a DDO. The Home, Edge, and Groove are those dimensions that function as the framework for a DDO culture of growth. It is these elements of community, personal growth, and the implementation of developmental practices that create a flow of shared vulnerability in a within a trustworthy community that is participating in ongoing developmental growth practices.
The authors establish early in the book vulnerability and its essential role in a growth culture. They refer to Brené Brown’s research, that states that vulnerability is the place where both the barriers to change and our most creative, empowering growth exist . It is clear by the various examples of individual and organizational change outlined in the book that vulnerability is important. Yet, as I think of the organizations, I have been a part of the upper leadership often are the ones who threaten the safety of the group, thus destroying the atmosphere for authenticity and vulnerability.
Creating a culture that values the individuals as the foundational stones of that institution must be safe enough for them to reveal all aspects of themselves. I wrestle with how to implement the concepts of a DDO in my ministry setting. I can see how there could be immense value in the development of disciples willingly reveal their hidden self while engaging in a personal growth process of spiritual maturity and eternal purpose.
Some questions that this book has raised for me.
If in fact we as God’s people are being transformed more and more into Christ’s glory how is that measured?
Do I/we provide a community that is trustworthy enough for people to be vulnerable? To willingly reveal weaknesses and pursue change?
Am I looking for volunteers to fill positions or do I see individuals who I can help mine their gifts and challenge their personal and spiritual growth?
Am I willing to release my vision for the good of the development of the people God has called me to serve?
If the church functioned more like a DDO, would people be more inclined to take responsibility for the workings and needs of the church?