book cover
“There is no greater waste of resources in ordinary organizations than the energy spent to hide our weaknesses and manage others’ favorable impressions of us.”

An Everyone Culture Book Review

An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organisation, by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow, 2016


In this book the authors, both Harvard academics, suggest that by ‘owning’ perceived personal and professional limitations rather than hiding them organisations can grow their people and avoid ‘dysfunctional denial’. It’s a fresh and innovative way of seeing human and business growth. Being Deliberately Developmental is sustainable and helps profitability, employee satisfaction, accountability.

So What? 

Three companies – Bridgewater Associates, Next Jump and Decurion – provide the case studies about workplace culture and personal growth around which the book is based.

Following interviews at Next Jump where candidates undergo monitoring and observation, successful hires receive feedback on improvement and attend “Personal Leadership Boot Camp”. Next Jump describes its culture as “Better Me” plus “Better You” equals “Better Us”. Its not for everyone, it’s cultish but fascinating.

At Decurion, staff are asked to engage in a process around “giving your job away” – sharing knowledge instead of hoarding it to consolidate personal power. At the start of every team meeting staff check in – talking about themselves and their emotional state. At the end they check out by commenting on how the meeting made them feel. Self-awareness is seen as the ultimate business secret weapon.

Bridgewater Associates is a very successful hedge fund company with over 1500 employees. They are committed to exposing flaws in individual and team problem-solving and decision-making as part of their way of operating. Again, it can be brutal. With over 200 principles that define their corporate culture and approach to themes such as being honest and open, linking cause and effect, pursuing the complete correct answer to questions, and embracing feedback.

Now What?

The authors contend that too many of us work in situations where it’s challenging, high pressure and low satisfaction. Nothing new there! However, if we add a deliberately developmental mentality and approach it will transform workplace satisfaction, retention, creativity and productivity. Who’d have guessed!