An Everyone Culture by Robert Kegan
  • Title: An Everyone Culture
  • Subtitle: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization
  • Author(s): Robert Kegan, Lisa Laskow Lahey
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
  • Year: 2016-03-01
  • ISBN-10: 1625278632
  • ISBN-13: 9781625278630


“An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization” by Robert Kegan, Lisa Laskow Lahey, Matthew L. Miller, Andy Fleming, and Deborah Helsing is a groundbreaking book that presents a revolutionary approach to organizational development and employee growth. The authors argue that by creating a deliberately developmental organization (DDO), companies can foster a culture where employees are encouraged to challenge themselves, embrace vulnerability, and continuously develop their skills. Drawing on real-life case studies of DDOs, the book provides valuable insights into how organizations can transform their work environments to become spaces of profound personal and professional development.

The book introduces the concept of “holding environments” within DDOs, where employees are supported and encouraged to confront their limitations and engage in ongoing learning. By challenging the traditional view of work as a place of performance pressure and judgment, the authors advocate for a new paradigm that views organizations as places of deep personal growth and learning. “An Everyone Culture” offers practical tools and strategies for leaders and managers to implement this developmental approach, creating workplaces where employees can thrive, become more resilient, and contribute meaningfully to the organization’s success. Overall, the book is a thought-provoking and inspiring guide for leaders seeking to build cultures of learning and development that empower their workforce and drive organizational excellence.

Book Review

“An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization” by Robert Kegan, Lisa Laskow Lahey, Matthew L. Miller, Andy Fleming, and Deborah Helsing is a transformative and thought-provoking book that challenges traditional notions of workplace culture and employee development. The authors present a compelling case for deliberately developmental organizations (DDOs), where learning, growth, and personal development are not only encouraged but deeply embedded in the fabric of the organization. Through detailed case studies of DDOs in various industries, the book showcases how these organizations create “holding environments” that provide employees with the support and space to embrace challenges, learn from failures, and continually evolve their skills.

One of the most significant strengths of “An Everyone Culture” is its emphasis on vulnerability and psychological safety as critical elements in fostering a culture of development. The book encourages organizations to move away from a performance-driven culture of constant judgment and instead embrace a culture of learning and experimentation. By creating an environment where employees can openly share their struggles and be supported in their growth efforts, DDOs empower individuals to reach their full potential and unlock new levels of creativity and innovation.

The practical insights and strategies offered by the authors make “An Everyone Culture” a valuable resource for leaders and managers seeking to revolutionize their organizations. The book outlines tangible steps for building a DDO, from rethinking hiring and onboarding processes to incorporating ongoing coaching and feedback mechanisms. By providing real-world examples of how DDOs have achieved remarkable success, the book serves as a source of inspiration and motivation for leaders looking to transform their organizations into places where employees feel valued, supported, and driven to reach new heights of personal and professional excellence.

In conclusion, “An Everyone Culture” is a must-read for leaders and executives who aspire to create thriving and dynamic organizations. Robert Kegan and his co-authors offer a compelling vision of how DDOs can redefine workplace culture and unleash the untapped potential of their workforce. By challenging conventional wisdom and advocating for a culture of continuous learning and development, the book presents a roadmap for cultivating a high-performing and engaged workforce. With its blend of theoretical insights and practical applications, “An Everyone Culture” is a powerful tool for leaders seeking to build organizations that not only succeed in the present but also thrive in an ever-evolving future.

Word Count: 388

Target Audience

The book “An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization” by Robert Kegan, Lisa Laskow Lahey, Matthew L. Miller, Andy Fleming, and Deborah Helsing is primarily targeted at leaders, executives, managers, HR professionals, and organizational development practitioners. The book’s content makes it particularly relevant and recommended reading for the following audiences:

  • Leaders and Executives The book is highly recommended for leaders and executives looking to transform their organizations into thriving and high-performing environments. “An Everyone Culture” offers a revolutionary approach to workplace culture that emphasizes continuous learning, employee development, and psychological safety. Leaders seeking to create a workplace where employees feel valued, empowered, and engaged will find valuable insights and practical strategies in the book.

  • Managers and Supervisors Managers and supervisors responsible for leading teams and supporting employee growth will benefit from reading the book. “An Everyone Culture” offers ideas on how to create “holding environments” that encourage open communication, vulnerability, and constructive feedback. The book provides guidance on fostering a culture that encourages employees to embrace challenges, learn from failures, and develop their skills, which ultimately contributes to the success of both individuals and the organization.

  • Human Resources (HR) Professionals HR professionals looking to design and implement developmental programs within their organizations will find “An Everyone Culture” to be a valuable resource. The book offers insights into rethinking hiring and onboarding processes, incorporating coaching and feedback mechanisms, and creating a culture of continuous learning. It provides HR practitioners with practical approaches to creating a positive and growth-oriented work environment that attracts and retains top talent.

  • Organizational Development Practitioners For professionals specializing in organizational development and change management, “An Everyone Culture” offers an innovative and evidence-based framework to guide their work. The book presents a case for deliberately developmental organizations and provides real-life examples of how DDOs have achieved success. Organizational development practitioners will find the book’s ideas and strategies applicable when working with clients to create cultures that foster individual and organizational growth.

The book is recommended reading because it presents a fresh perspective on workplace culture and employee development. “An Everyone Culture” challenges conventional organizational paradigms and advocates for a shift towards embracing vulnerability, learning from failures, and supporting employees’ personal and professional growth. The book offers practical and actionable insights on how to create a deliberately developmental organization that unlocks the potential of employees and leads to improved performance and innovation. By providing real-world examples of DDOs in action, “An Everyone Culture” inspires leaders and practitioners to rethink traditional approaches to talent management and organizational success. Overall, it serves as an invaluable resource for those seeking to create thriving and people-centered workplaces where employees can truly flourish.