Do You DDO?

April 3rd, 2014 by Kelly Kienzle

A Deliberately Developmental Organization (DDO) is, on the surface, some people’s worst nightmare.  This strategy states that colleagues should be fully transparent about their greatest weaknesses, explicitly state what their developmental goals are, and constantly be working towards achieving them.  Ouch.  Yet underneath this strategy can be found possibly one answer to the elusive work-life balance question.  Here’s how….

In a DDO, the culture is that we are always learning.  Thus we are living a more fulfilled life through the work that we do.  We are viewing our organization as a lab in which we can test our new skills.  The long to-do list on our desk is actually a road map to self-development.  And we are positioning our weaknesses as opportunities to learn something about ourselves.

It’s like weaving a double thread: On the surface, we are working hard to meet our responsibilities and complete our tasks. Yet simultaneously we are weaving a second thread: we are improving ourselves.  We are learning again, and rarely do we feel more alive than when we are stretching ourselves towards a goal that we believe in.

As an added benefit, we no longer have to hide our weaknesses, pretend to be more than we are, or manage how others perceive us.  This is something most of us shamefully spend so much time doing each day.  Yet if all of that subterfuge is thrown out, then a DDO culture starts to build.

We bemoan how our jobs kill our work-life balance.  We crave more meaning, personal attention, or outlets to just be who we authentically are.  Well, in a DDO you can do that by means of your job.  Instead of your job being the roadblock to work-life balance, what if it was the catalyst?


Not sure if this idea will fly in your group?  Contact me for a brief discussion on what your organization would need to move towards this type of culture.  We’ll discuss the potential blocks as well as pay-offs.  Achieving better work-life balance may be closer than you think…

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