What is a Deliberately Developmental Organization (DDO)?
A Deliberately Developmental Organization, or DDO, is a transformative concept in people’s development. Coined by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey in their groundbreaking book “An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization”, a DDO is an organization that puts personal growth at the heart of its strategy. With a continuous learning and development culture, these organizations view inadequacies not as vulnerabilities but as opportunities for individual and collective growth.
Definition and Principles of DDOs
At its core, a DDO is a high-potential incubator that fosters a culture of continuous personal development, turning traditional Human Resources on its head. Key collaborators in this approach include Andy Fleming, co-founder of the consultancy Way to Grow, and Lisa Laskow Lahey, a well-known figure in adult development.
There are three critical dimensions to a DDO:
- Home-Grown Talent: A DDO focuses on developing its workforce rather than seeking talent externally.
- 360-degree Feedback: Feedback is crucial in a DDO. This regular, open, and honest feedback promotes self-awareness and helps to identify blind spots.
- Psychological Safety: A DDO emphasizes creating an environment where everyone feels safe expressing their ideas and concerns.
The Difference Between a DDO and a Traditional Organization
Traditional organizations tend to separate professional duties from personal growth, often treating the latter as a ‘second job’ for employees to pursue in their own time. In contrast, a DDO embeds personal development into its team members’ day-to-day operations and responsibilities.
Four Levels of Leadership in a DDO
In a DDO, leadership is more comprehensive than a single role or level. There are four fundamental levels of leadership:
- Individual: Encourages self-awareness and personal growth.
- Team: Builds a supportive environment where everyone can develop.
- Organizational: Aligns personal growth with organizational goals.
- Systemic: Advocates for growth and development in the broader business environment.
The Benefits of Creating a Deliberately Developmental Organization
DDOs have several key advantages, from increased productivity and innovation to enhanced job satisfaction and reduced turnover. By harnessing human potential, DDOs also benefit from a more engaged, motivated, and competent workforce.
Strategies and Approaches for Creating a DDO
Creating a DDO requires a shift in organizational culture. Strategies include establishing a continuous feedback loop, providing ongoing learning opportunities, fostering psychological safety, and linking personal development to business goals. Executive coaching, mentoring initiatives, and leadership development programs are valuable tools.
Assessing and Measuring the Impact of a DDO
The impact of a DDO can be assessed through various metrics, such as employee engagement, productivity, turnover, and customer satisfaction. Case studies from successful DDOs, such as LinkedIn, Decurion, and Next Jump, provide valuable benchmarks.
Overcoming Challenges in Building a Deliberately Developmental Organization
Building a DDO has its challenges. These include overcoming resistance to change, managing transparency demands, and balancing personal development with business objectives. Yet, these hurdles can be overcome with commitment, open communication, and a robust change management strategy.
Best Practices for Creating a Deliberately Developmental Organization
Best practices for creating a DDO include fostering a growth mindset, developing supportive leadership, encouraging openness and vulnerability, and focusing on learning over perfection. Regular reflection and adaptation are also crucial.
The Role of Leadership in Creating a DDO
Leadership plays a critical role in creating a DDO. Leaders should model the desired behaviours, create a safe and supportive environment, encourage feedback, and link personal growth to business success.
Creating a Deliberately Developmental Organization is Worth the Effort
Creating a DDO demands commitment, effort, and a significant shift in mindset. Yet, the rewards – a more engaged, fulfilled, and productive workforce – make it worthwhile. With the right strategies and a relentless commitment to development, any organization can reap the benefits of becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization.
To revolutionize your workforce and foster a culture of continuous personal growth, consider exploring our Leadership Coaching program. By leveraging their expertise and guidance, organisations can embark on a journey towards becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organisation. Contact Leadership Tribe’s expert consultants today and take the first step towards building an organization where every individual thrives and contributes to collective success.