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Exploring agility and new forms of organization

This page provides links to relevant articles and presentation materials on agile organizations, Holacracy and related issues. It was created to support an event run at Ashridge Executive Education, July 4, 2018.  It is updated to include important new materials. Visit the event page.

Most of us sense that there is something wrong with our organizations: too much control, too little inspiration; too much transactional behaviour, too little collaboration; too much efficiency, too little agility.  


We also read about exciting new organizational forms, sometimes referred to as ‘managing without managers’, at other times given labels, like ‘Holacracy’, ‘Adhocracy’ or ‘Teal’. 


Most of us have experienced the thrill, energy and effectiveness of a self-directed team, the uncertainty, chaos and confusion of insufficient leadership or the demotivation, time wasting and bureaucracy of too much control.


We also hear the names of companies like Zappos, Wholefoods, Semco, Spotify and Morning Star.  Companies that are either committed to a different way of organizing or are experimenting with new forms of organization.


This event is about exploring these new forms of organization.  We want you to gain three benefits:


  1. You will understand better what is possible: what some example companies are really doing. 

  2. You will develop a list of the design principles that are helping organizations operate with less structure and less hierarchy

  3. You will experience what it feels like to be part of a structure-light organization


After attending, you will be able to guide experiments with these new forms in your organization.

Workshop presentations


Exploring Agility and New Forms of Organization - July 2018

Siemens - G2G Holacracy experiment

Responsive Organisations

Lessons from ING's Agile organisation

Making work work

Browse the topic




Despite Its Flaws, Holacracy Is Saving The Future of Business

Forbes magazine


What kind of impact can Holacracy have from an HR perspective? A former manager shares her experience.

A conversation with Annemieke Verhoeff, on Medium


The rules and processes of Holacracy

Holacracy: Not safe to try

Julia Cullen, March 2018

Brian Robertson on Holacracy (18 mins)

Spotify's video on Holacracy (13 mins)

Zappos video on Holacracy (4 minutes)



ING's video on Agile (5 mins)

What to Expect from Agile

By Julian Birkinshaw


Embracing Agile

by Darrell K. Rigby, Jeff Sutherland, and Hirotaka Takeuchi

Harvard Business Review, May 2016 issue

Agile at Scale

By Darrell K. Rigby, Jeff Sutherland, and Andy Noble

Harvard Busniess Review, June 2018


McKinsey on Agile


The agile manager

Aaron De Smet, July 2018


How to create an agile organization

Survey of current trends in agile adoption, October 2017


The keys to organizational agility

Interview, December 2015 


Agility lessons from utilities

Sven Heiligtag, Dominik Luczak and Eckart Windhagen, December 2015

Other forms of organisation


Reinventing Management

Part 1: What Color Is Your Organization?


Reinventing Management

Part 2: What Happens When No One Is In Charge?

by Rod Collins, Director of Innovation, Optimity Advisors, on Huffington Post

Company examples


Spotify 1


Spotify 2








Related issues


Sharing power: why it requires deep personal change

by Robert Anderson and William Adams


People Want Power Because They Want Autonomy

by Julie Beck, on The Atlantic (reporting on a study conducted by researchers from University of Cologne, University of Groningen, and Columbia University)

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