Take a short online course or book a bespoke presentation to introduce you to key concepts and enable you to decide if you want to start the self-organizing journey

What is Self-Organizing Beyond Hierarchy? 

As it becomes increasingly apparent that the conventional management hierarchy is no longer adequate for today's volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous conditions, two other patterns of self-organization are emerging beyond hierarchy: collaborative and agile. These patterns include the constituent parts of self-management, self-organization and self-organizing systems.

This page explains some of these key terms, and the Understand Self-Organization course dives deeper. 

Self-Organization generally takes one of the following three forms: 

An Off-the-Shelf System like Holacracy, Sociocracy or the Collaborative Operating System

(or an adaptation of one of these)


An ad-hoc collection of collaborative tools and processes



no clear structure or defined processes > chaos



Conscious Collaboration

Where people want to use specific tools or processes to replace top-down hierarchy with more collaborative, inclusive and participatory ways of working, without replacing the whole management structure.


These terms or often used interchangeably: where some management functions are decentralised into self-managed teams which are empowered to work more autonomously and with less managerial oversight and control than in a conventional management hierarchy.


Self-Organizing Systems

Where leadership and management functions are distributed across a whole organisation as part of a coherent system. The most popular systems of self-organization practices are Holacracy®, Sociocracy, S3 and the Viable Systems Model and there are many organisations which create their own versions. 

A Self-Organizing System: Holacracy

As one of the most popular self-organizing systems, Holacracy is a set of practices in which people make meaningful decisions and drive change in pursuit of their shared purpose; by encoding autonomy & agility into their organisation’s DNA.

Another way of describing Holacracy is a way of running organisations without managers. The management hierarchy is removed and replaced by a rule-set which applies equally to everyone. If you are interested in Holacracy then book a session with a Certified Holacracy Coach to explore how we can support you to assess your readiness to adopt. 

Systems of Systems

No single system can completely meet all of an organisation's evolutionary needs by itself. As self-organizing practices mature, gaps emerge which reveal the need for combining multiple systems/practices/tools/ processes/models such as Holacracy, Matrix Leadership, Language of Spaces into a coherent combination such as in the For Purpose Enterprise,  or the example explained below in the Symbiotic Enterprise.

A Deeper Introduction- The Symbiotic Enterprise

This conversation between Christiane Seuhs-Schoeller and Nick Osborne is an introduction to Self-Organization where she explains the importance of making the distinction between ‘Relational’ & ‘Organizational’ spaces,  why different processes are required for for each, and how this gives rise to a model called the Symbiotic Enterprise. 

The Era of Self-Organizing Beyond Hierarchy is Here

Few people really understand it

Even fewer can truly practice

There’s a new story unfolding

About how humans organise

How we work together to achieve a purpose

It’s a story of flow... tension, alignment, difference, autonomy, constraints, unleashing collective intelligence

This new story includes self-organization, wholeness & evolutionary purpose…

Whether you call it Teal, or evolution, or upgrading, or simply getting on with it; it’s happening whether you like it or not

And we all face the choice; of either adapting or fading away

Join us on a journey

Into this new, unfamiliar, confusing landscape

Where we all need guides

To help us differentiate from what we take for granted, connect with each other in new ways, adapt to the unpredictable

And evolve how we learn, work and live together

This process cannot be hurried

We are invited to pause

Slow down and fully engage

For what could be more important

Than to truly and deeply participate in life unfolding

Evolving how we learn, work and live together.