A new way to work

I was listening to Audible’s Accelerator business series Today.

One of the segments addresses a new concept of business management.

The segment was called “Let Employees Be People”. It’s published by the Harvard Business Review. It is an interview with Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey. Dr. Kegan and Dr. Lahey are the co-founders of mindsatwork.com and the authors of a new book called “An Everyone Culture”.

Their concept focuses on organizations becoming Deliberately Developmental Organization (DDO).

This idea focuses on how most people in the workplace spend their time are hiding weaknesses. Kegan and Lahey talk about how the effort involved in hiding your weaknesses essentially creates a second job for you. They talk about how pretending to be perfect and failing to acknowledge individual developmental opportunities limits your success. They go on to say this even limits the success of your company.

It’s an interesting concept that goes on to discuss how an organization can be open about individual weaknesses and opportunity’s for improvement with everyone in the organization including senior management.

Their book Chronicles three organizations that have embraced this management style and discuss how this new concept may be a foreshadowing of new business concepts to come.

One of the examples given is of individuals who lean towards always wanting to have an answer. They refer to this as leaning arrogant. Another example are individuals who lean towards insecurity. These are the folks that tend to shy away from volunteering for opportunity’s or remain silent during meetings because they don’t want to appear stupid.

The concept of  DDO is that individual weaknesses should be openly discussed and acknowledge by everyone in the organization. Having an openness about your weaknesses is meant to allow individuals to actively work towards improvement. Presumably one has the support and backing of one’s colleagues and managers in this quest.

Having been in organizations that do not embrace imperfection, in some ways I appreciate this new concept. On the other hand, my nature is generally to be more private, which makes me uncomfortable with this notion. This entire blog actually pulls me out of my comfort zone. That said, I know that it is a burden to feel like you have to be constantly on guard about your weaknesses.

Personally, I am always working towards self-improvement. This takes a lot of introspection and mindfulness. Being aware of how my words and actions affect others is a task all its own. Working towards improving how I relate to others is an active and constant effort. So the concept of working towards self improvement is not new for me, but having that information be shared as public knowledge among my peers and my managers feels intrusive. Kegan and Lahey suggest that this is the future way to manage. Maybe I’m a little old fashioned in this regard.

So what do you think? How would you feel about your colleagues at work being actively involved in your self improvement? Would you embrace this kind of a culture? Or would you be uncomfortable and put off? Tell me what you think.

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