Adaptive Organisation:
Business agility at every scale

Inside the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation

Module #4 of an integrated programme centred on leadership, strategy, and outcomes

Parts I & II are both now available, each part certified

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“Very practical, highly participative – learning by doing. I can see so many opportunities to use the approach and tools in my work”

“You inspired people and got them talking – couldn’t have asked for more”

“Combines concepts I previously found challenging in a way that not only makes sense but is highly useful”

“I left motivated and confident enough to try these exercises the next day”

“Expertly and confidently helps you learn how to get from strategy to execution and back again”

“Intensely practical with solid theoretical foundations”


In this final module of Leading with Outcomes, we will be exercising those strategic patterns and skills on a wider range of organisational challenges. To help us, we've given a classic and powerful model of organisation a radical refresh, presenting it in a novel and highly accessible way, and demonstrating its applicability to organisations of all shapes and sizes and its compatibility with modern thinking on complexity. At every step you'll be learning some of the "deep magic" of organising, and you won't look at organisations in quite the same way again!

This module comes in two parts, each part certified.

Adaptive Organisation (I): Business agility at every scale

What every leader needs to know about organising for adaptability:

  • The three overlapping spaces of the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation
  • Integrating strategy, delivery, and mutual trust-building
  • Finding balance in relationships; managing complexity

For any given organisational scale – beginning with the scale and scope you most easily identify with and scaling up and down from there – what are the preconditions for business agility, and what gets in the way of that? Looking at your organisation (or any other), what constraints and freedoms operate? What elements should we expect to see? Between those many elements – people, teams, other organisational units of all sizes, the systems that exist at each scale, and so on – what relationships must be in place? How can we help those relationships become more balanced, more healthy and more productive for all who participate in them?

  1. Delivery, Discovery, and Renewal:
    • Inside value creation's inner learning loop
    • Turning intent into progress and turning experiments into intelligence and insights
    • Reconciling Agile and business agility
  2. Adaptive Strategy:
    • Making organising commitments, autonomy at every scope and scale
    • Understanding self and environment, creating and managing options accordingly
    • Actively maintaining coherent identity, purpose, and values 
  3. Mutual Trust Building:
    • Models of trust-building leadership
    • The systemic role of trust
    • Sensemaking – making meaningful progress in the presence of ambiguity 

Adaptive Organisation (II): Between spaces, scopes, and scales

What every leader needs to know about scale:

  • Relationships between spaces and scales
  • Navigating structure
  • Managing the time dimension

Extending the approach of part I, and providing insights that are mostly absent from process-based frameworks (the Agile scaling frameworks for example), in what practical ways can we help the relationships between organisational scales to be more healthy and productive? And again, we scale down as well as up. What about our networks? And other kinds of relationship – people to business challenges, to business domains, and to their own and others' development, for example? And we finish very much in Leading with Outcomes style, developing and pursuing organisational strategy in the language of needs, obstacles, and outcomes.

  1. Between and across scales:
    • Navigating formal structure
    • Your organisation in 5 networks
    • Between and across scales: Structuring, connecting, translating, and reconciling
  2. Organising at human scale 
    • Teaming and re-teaming
    • The developmental organisation
    • Thinking in circles – organising without reorganising 
  3. Possibility and purpose
    • Dialogic and generative organisation development
    • Developing and pursuing strategy in the language of needs, outcomes, and outcomes
    • The Agenda for Change: Theory of Change + goals + measures of success + commitments + options


As outlined in our white paper Everywhere all at once, The Deliberately Adaptive Organisation deeply integrates these great models:

  • Viable System Model, Stafford Beer's classic model for all organisations that have the drive to "improve their capacity for independent action"; here it is the framework within which the other models and tools are integrated
  • Complexity science – Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS), Cynefin, and more
  • Agendashift, Leading with Outcomes, Right to Left, and Wholehearted – outcome-orientation, leadership and strategy
  • Sociocracy (aka Dynamic Governance, Circular Hierarchy) – purposeful collaboration and self-governance at every scale
  • Lean-Agile ("Lean and Agile celebrated both separately and together") and friends
  • The Deliberately Developmental Organisation, Robert Kegan & Lisa Laskow Lahey's model for building organisations that align personal and organisational growth
  • Objectives and Key Results (OKR) – the strategy deployment framework pioneered at Intel
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Learning by doing:

  • You'll be developing strategy yourself while learning how strategy works as a participatory process
  • With each successive module you'll be gaining fluency in the language of outcomes, learning a range of tools you can use every day
  • Along the way, plenty of opportunity to reflect on your organisation and your relationship with it

What sets us apart – the fundamentals

We keep asking these questions, and you can too:

  • What if we put agreement on outcomes before solutions?
  • How do we keep bringing outcomes to the foreground?
  • Where – and where else – should we be developing and pursuing strategy?

For the big strategy occasions, for those everyday interactions, and for everything in between, we help leaders at all levels put those principles into practice:

  • Having the kinds of conversations that too often get missed
  • Working backwards from key moments of impact and learning
  • Engaging with their organisations in all of their complexity and potential – fractal engagement

Is this for me?

If any of these apply:

  • You're a leader in a transforming organisation
  • You desire change and want it approached in the right way
  • You aspire to leadership 
  • You have something to contribute to the strategy process 
  • You support others in that journey
Yes, I'm in!

Brought to you by Agendashift Academy co-founder and three-time author Mike Burrows

 Mike's pioneering work in the pursuit of the wholehearted and deliberately adaptive organisation brings a needs-based and outcome-oriented perspective to leadership, strategy, and transformation.

Mike has real-world experience as a global leader in world-class organisations and clients in government, finance, industry, and the not-for-profit sectors.

It's part of something bigger

Adaptive Organisation: Business agility at every scale is the fourth, final, and most advanced module of Leading with Outcomes, the Agendashift Academy’s core curriculum. Take them at your own pace and join a growing community of leaders in transforming organisations who are learning to put outcomes before solutions.

The modules in recommended order:

  1. Leading with Outcomes: Foundation
  2. Inside-out Strategy: Fit for maximum impact
  3. Outside-in Strategy: Positioned for success
  4. Adaptive Organisation: Business agility at every scale

Experience it your way

The choice is yours:

They're not even mutually exclusive! Each format brings a different experience, and not only is repeat participation common – each one certified – we make it easy and cost-effective.

Subscription plans: Agendashift for Individuals and Agendashift for Business, each with a risk-free 7-day trial. If you aren’t completely satisfied, just cancel your subscription before the end of your trial period.

Agendashift for Individuals

£245 + VAT

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  • Access all video content and supporting materials for Leading with Outcomes
  • Invitation to our community on Circle
  • Two one-hour Ask Me Anything sessions per month
  • Access to resources – worksheets, templates, infographics, and more
  • Watch on your laptop, phone, or tablet
  • 7-day free trial

Exclusive benefits

  • Access to all event and conference recordings
  • 25% discount on public workshops and coaching services
  • 50% discount on Agendashift conferences
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Agendashift for Individuals

£24.50 + VAT


  • Access all video content and supporting materials for Leading with Outcomes
  • Invitation to our community on Circle
  • Two one-hour Ask Me Anything sessions per month
  • Access to resources – worksheets, templates, infographics, and more
  • Watch on your laptop, phone or tablet
  • 7-day free trial
Subscribe now

For multiple subscribers, check out Agendashift for Business. Easy and cost-effective access for every leader and aspiring leader in your business, with benefits not available to individual subscribers.

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