Deliberately developmental

Make a badass out of yourself and those around you, going further and faster than you thought possible.

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I understand what is meant by deliberately developmental

Being deliberately developmental means weaving personal growth into you daily work and life.

I understand the motivations for being deliberatey developmental

By being a deliberately developmental individual you:

  • Unleash your full potential
  • Build stronger, more meaningful relationships
  • Contribute positively to the psychological safety of your environment
  • Improve your self-awareness

By being a deliberately developmental leader you make your leadership more productive, more fulfilling and incredibly rewarding as you see the people around you flourish.

By building a deliberatey developmental organization:

  • Everyone will spend less time and energy hiding, lying and faking their way through the day
  • People remain more connected and engaged with their work
  • You are better positioned to compete for smart and adaptable people
I understand what happens in a deliberately developmental culture

In a deliberately developmental culture

  • People feel safe to share their vulnerabilities
  • People grow
  • The gap between who people really are and who they think they need to be at work diminishes or even disappears.
  • Experiencing yourself as incomplete or inadequate but still included, accepted, and valued — and recognizing the very capable people around you as also incomplete but likewise valuable — gives rise to qualities of compassion and appreciation that benefit all relationships.
I can recognize a deliberately developmental culture 3

The beliefs that underpin a deliberately developmental culture are:

  • Adults can grow.
  • Not only is attention to the bottom line and the personal growth of all employees desirable, but the two are interdependent.
  • The quest for business excellence and the search for personal realization are not mutually exclusive. They are in fact essential to each other.
  • People grow through the proper combination of challenge and support, which includes recognizing and transcending their blind spots, limitations, and internal resistance to change. 
  • Limitations are not failures, but rather a “growing edge,” and the path to the next level of performance.
  • We should be more more focused on how fast we are learning than how good we are.
  • Both profitability and individual development rely on structures that need to be built into every aspect of how the team operates.

In a deliberately developmental culture

  • Sharing vulnerability is expected and promoted.
  • People make their own limitations public.
  • People's inadequacies are not just accepted, they are cultivated.
  • People give open and honest feedback on the limitations of others.
  • People are actively looking to identify their personal triggers and blind spots.
  • People reflect on what's keeping them from reaching their full potential.
  • Root cause analysis of problems includes also looking at individuals habitual ways of thinking, asking "What is it about how you—the responsible party and shaper of this process—were thinking that might have led to an inadequate decision?"
  • Teams engage in "constructive destabilization" to push people out of the comfort zone and challenge their mastery.
  • People's skillsets and the proficiencies within those skillsets are tracked.
  • Structured check-ins allow people to identify ways in which they feel connected to—or disconnected from—the work at hand and their colleagues.
  • If something isn't working, it's everyone’s responsibility to scrutinize and address the design of the underlying process.
  • Everyone has has a “crew” — an ongoing group that can be counted on to support their growth, both professionally and personally.

A deliberately developmental culture fosters:

  • Accountability: Rank doesn’t give top executives a free pass on the merit of their ideas, nor does it exempt them from the disagreement or friendly advice of those lower down or from the requirement to keep growing and changing to serve the needs of the business and themselves.
  • Transparency: Radical transparency involves announcing decisions immediately, enlisting everyone in transition processes, sugar-coating nothing, and sharing the financial details behind decisions.
  • Support: Everyone from entry-level worker to CEO is supported by a “crew”—an ongoing group that can be counted on to support his or her growth, both professionally and personally.
I understand the different contexts of deliberate development 6

Deliberately Developmental Organizations (DDO) are organizations that are committed to developing every one of their people by weaving personal growth into daily work.

Think of a DDO as an incubator for people’s development.

In a DDO, the whole organization is engaged in practices designed to foster personal growth alongside the pursuit of the business’s priorities and tasks.

From My experience with a Deliberately Developmental Organization:

DDOs share some traits with the Management 3.0 approach, such as an emphasis on company culture, personal growth, self-organization and transparency. But the resemblance stops there. Management 3.0 aims to create happiness and self-realization in the workplace. DDOs aim to make a badass out of you, going further and faster than you thought possible.

Read more about companies who have adopted a DDO mindset in the Harvard Business Review article Making Business Personal.

I understand the requirements of deliberately developmental leader 3

If you are a leader who wants to build a DDO, you should understand that you can’t want it just for the company. You must want it for yourself.

You must be prepared to participate fully and even to “go first” in making your own limitations public. You must also not want it just to generate extraordinary business results—you must put equal value on leading a company that contributes to the flourishing of its people as an end in itself.

You will need patience: It takes time to develop an environment in which people feel safe doing the personal work they’ll be asked to do on a regular basis. And you must continually support, defend, and champion this new form of community.

Deliberately developmental leaders

  • Bring their whole self to work.
  • Dare to be vulnerable.
  • Reflect on, openly address and discuss their own weaknesses.
  • Are deliberate about developing the people they lead.
  • Think deeply about feedback and how to effectively incorporate it within the teams, departments or organizations they lead.
  • Provide open, honest, continous and constructive feedback on the potential for improvement of their team members.
  • Build feedback into the structures so that it is part of the fabric of how the team functions.
  • Are open to receiving feedback on themselves.
  • Proactively seek out feedback from seniors, from those they lead and from themselves through self-reflection and coaching.
  • Makes the weaknesses of themselves and their team publicly available.
  • Happiness occurs within a process of human flourishing.
  • Difficulty, stress and even some overwhelm can be helpful, provided you know how to handle it and what to do with it.
  • Achievement is something to be pursued alongside and in parallel to one’s growth.
  • The power of self-awareness is the ultimate business ‘secret weapon’.
I understand the obstacles in building a deliberately developmental culture 5

Being deliberately developmental (DD) isn’t easy or comfortable. So for individuals, groups and cultures optimizing for comfort and quick fixes, deliberate developing is a poor fit.

If the culture, on the other hand, is ambitious on the behalf of individual well-functioning (and willing to put its effort where its mouth is), then DD just might be the mindset to unleash the full potential of each individual and the group as a whole.

Transcending your limits involves overcoming the fight-or-flight response occasioned by confronting what you are working on about yourself.

Early on, nearly everyone finds the level of vulnerability that DD brings disorienting.

When a group of students after a presentation were asked  “So how many of you would like to work at [this DDO] ?” Just three or four hands went up in a class of 80. “Why not?” the presenter asked. One young woman who’d been an active and impressive contributor to the case conversation replied, “I want people at work to think I’m better than I am; I don’t want them to see how I really am!”

Clearly, people who consider joining a DDO must be willing to show themselves at their worst. And those who join with a distinguished record must be willing to consider big changes in the way they operate. Senior hires at both Decurion and Bridgewater told us: “I heard the words about how it was going to be different, but I didn’t understand what that would mean for me.”

A DDO makes work deeply engaging; it becomes a way of life. If you want to be able to go home and leave work completely behind, this may not be the right place for you.

The brand of happiness a DDO offers—which arises from becoming a better version of yourself—involves labor pains. Some people might think they would appreciate that but really would not. Others simply cannot imagine that pain at work could lead to something expansive and life changing.

Finally, a DDO is continually evolving. If you expect a workplace to never fall short of its most inspiring principles and guiding ideas, you will quickly be disappointed. A DDO makes space for its people to grow; they must make space for it to develop in return.

A sustainable DDO culture depends on a critical mass of people who are together long enough to build strong relationships and gain experience with the practices that facilitate development over time. Thus we question the value of this approach for companies that work on a contractor model and maintain flexibility by depending heavily on free agents, because turnover for them might be too high, and commitment to the organization too low.

Building an effective deliberately developmental organization requires that new people be chosen very carefully, with an eye to their appetite for personal reflection and their comfort with examining their own limitations.

Even so, it may take 12 to 18 months to be sure that a new hire will do well in this culture, so you should be prepared for a higher rate of turnover than you might otherwise expect. But the people who make it through this induction will most likely display dramatic levels of commitment and engagement.

I am aware of the book "Everyone Culture"

The book Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization goes into detail on the concept of deliberately developmental organizations.