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Mike Burrows – Leading in a Transforming Organisation

Three modules of Leading with Outcomes as an integrated, workshop-style training experience:

Day 1. Leading with Outcomes: Foundation

Day 2. Adaptive Organisation (I): Business agility at every scale

Day 3. Adaptive Organisation (II): Between spaces, scopes, and scales

We’ll be exploring what it means to lead in an organisation where change is happening wherever it’s needed, at the pace it’s needed, and engaging the people who are needed – everyone whose energy, insights, and innovations you’ll need.

On day 1 (Foundation) we look at how to develop and pursue strategy in the language of outcomes, introducing some key conversational and organisational patterns and tools. You’ll be developing skills you can not only bring to set-piece strategy events such as reviews and workshops but apply in everyday settings too.

On days 2 and 3 (Adaptive Organisation parts I and II), we will be exercising those skills further as we get to grips with a classic and powerful model of organisation that we’ve made accessible and brought up to date, applicable to organisations of all shapes and sizes.

For any given organisational scale (day 2), what are the preconditions for business agility, and what gets in the way of that? Similarly, in what practical ways can we help the relationships between organisational scales (day 3) to be more healthy and productive? You’ll be learning some of the “deep magic” of organising – how to understand it in terms of relationships and constraints – and you won’t look at organisations in quite the same way again!


You can approach Leading in a Transforming Organisation in complementary ways:

  • As a workshop, an opportunity to explore how your organisation (or your client organisation) works and how you might influence that
  • As leadership development, participants invited for their growth potential
  • As technical training, participants attending out of interest in the models covered
  • Per the final section below, as a near-alternative to Leading with Outcomes: Train-the-Trainer / Facilitator

If any of those speak to you, you’re invited!

    Our rating for this training is
    5 stars

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    • practice-oriented
    • interactive
    • small groups

    Our Trainings & Workshops:
    for practical use in your everyday work life.

    Upcoming events

    Berlin (leanovate)
    Mike Burrows – Leading in a Transforming Organisation
    Mehr Informationen
    1.165,00 EUR872,00 EUR


    Leadership and strategy facilitators



    3 days




    Leading with Outcomes: Foundation

    Inside-out Strategy: Fit for maximum impact

    What is it about?

    Creating a common understanding of strategic topics and targets is painful. There are many ways to do strategy in organizations, most fail in practice. Either because strategy is too high level, too sophisticated or because daily tasks overrule strategic efforts. 

    On top of that creating alignment is tough: When strategy comes top down it often misses input from those in charge; when it is created bottom up often the bigger context is missing and bringing together the different ideas is time consuming, difficult and demanding. 

    The additional influence of the leader is those environments sometimes considered more disturbing than helpful, let alone motivating and inspiring. As a consequence many organizations lack a realistic strategy, lack alignment, lack attention for the strategy and it becomes decoupled from the real needs and opportunities of the organization as well as from the daily business. Disengagement may be the consequence and old behaviors cannot be overcome

    The same pattern applies when going towards more operational or project oriented work: Overoptimism, ignorance of ideas, needs and abilities and lack of alignment lead to missing goals and ignorance of desired outcomes.

    Content of the training:

    Day 1: Leading with Outcomes: Foundation

    Developed for leaders at all levels – senior sponsor, manager, team lead, consultant, or coach – Leading with Outcomes: Foundation is your ideal introduction to the language of outcomes, its philosophy, its skills, and its role in your organisation’s transformation.

    1. Leading in a transforming organisation – introducing outcome-oriented change

    • Engaging with the role of leadership in the transforming organisation and learning a powerful pattern for conversations in strategy
    • Leading in a wholehearted organisation – what it means to lead where engagement, integration, and initiative are celebrated
    • Leading with Outcomes – the concept and the curriculum
    • Introducing the IdOO (“I do”) pattern – Ideal, Obstacles, Outcomes

    2. Conversations in strategy – two strategy approaches and virtuous circle

    Applying the IdOO (“I do”) pattern – Ideal, Obstacles, Outcomes – in a strategy exercise for a scope of your choosing:

    • Establishing context – Who and what are we dealing with? Being a keeper of context, on the lookout for failures of context
    • Ideal: Envisioning a compelling future – reaching the right customers, meeting their strategic needs, achieving results in the way to which we aspire
    • Obstacles: Identifying what’s in the way of what we want; Outside-in and inside-out strategy; Framing obstacles for a productive conversation
    • Outcomes: Looking beyond those obstacles to something better – signs of emergence, indicators of progress, measures of success, and on towards goals & aspirations
    • Organise the strategy with Objectives and Key Results (OKR) – Where do we want to get to? How will we pace ourselves to see that we’re getting there?

    3. Moving into action – ideas, experiments, feedback, and learning

    From developing strategy to pursuing it, patterns for outcome-oriented innovation. We begin right to left with two levels of done, then the ideation process Meaning, Measure, Method:

    • Right to left, done, and really done – working backwards from key moments of impact (someone’s need met) and learning (all of it accounted for), making the most of every feedback opportunity
    • Meaning – thoughtfully re-engaging with our Agenda for Change, focusing on what’s important
    • Measure – how we’ll know that we’re winning
    • Method – new ideas and how we’ll test them

    Day 2: 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-Renewal

    • The relationships and constraints of any organisation’s inner learning loop
    • Turning intent into progress and turning experiments into intelligence and insights
    • Creating space for emergence

    2. Adaptive Strategising:

    • 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

    Interlude (I)

    Two classic exercises:

    • Obstacles Fast and Slow, framing obstacles for a productive conversation
    • 15-minute FOTO, our Clean Language-inspired coaching game

    3. Mutual Trust Building:

    • Models of trust-building leadership
    • The systemic role of trust
    • Sensemaking – making meaningful progress in the presence of ambiguity


    • The Viable System Model, Stafford Beer’s classic model for all organisations that have the drive to “maintain their capacity for independent action”; here it is the framework within which the other models and tools are integrated
    • Complexity science and anthro-complexity – Cynefin and more
    • Agendashift, Leading with Outcomes, Right to Left, and Wholehearted – outcome-orientation, leadership, and strategy
    • Lean-Agile (“Lean and Agile celebrated both separately and together”) and friends

    Day 3 (Thursday, June 6th): Adaptive Organisation (II): Between spaces, scopes, and scales

      What every leader needs to know about scale:

      • The relationships between different organisational scales
      • Navigating, reinterpreting, and developing structure
      • Organising without reorganising

      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.

      4. The space between

      What the scaling frameworks don’t tell you:

      • Understanding formal structure
      • Your organisation in 5 networks
      • Team Topologies
      • Between scales: Structuring, translating, reconciling, and connecting

      Interlude (II)

      As Interlude (I), plus:

      • Option Relationship Mapping – organising outcomes visually

      5. Organising at human scale

      • Thinking in circles – organising without reorganising
      • Teaming and re-teaming
      • The developmental organisation

      6. What lies beneath

      • What made it that way? What keeps it that way? Out of what does that emerge?
      • Engaging more deeply with constraints
      • Revisting the the Meaning, Measure, Method pattern – generating solution ideas and their corresponding hypotheses


      As day 2, plus:

      • Sociocracy (aka Dynamic Governance, Circular Hierarchy) – purposeful collaboration and self-governance at every scale
      • The Deliberately Developmental Organisation, Robert Kegan & Lisa Laskow Lahey’s model for building organisations that align personal and organisational growth
      • Dave Snowden’s Estuarine Framework – references here


        The trainer

        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.

        Why this is important:

        In this training you will become familiar with the approach of leading with outcomes as well as with the tools Mike created for Agendashift’s purpose:

        • Help you increase effective participation across and between strategy, development, and delivery
        • Help you articulate the outcomes around which your operational, improvement, and transformational work should be aligned, a facilitated, participatory process
        • Help your organisation embrace the language of outcomes, minimising lazy prescription and freeing people and teams to find innovative solutions to your most important challenges
        • Help your organisation on its path to wholeheartedness, facilitating the formation, pursuit, and ongoing development of an effective transformation strategy

        Who is this training suitable for?

        For practitioners in leadership, strategy and change: This training is for eexperienced as well as aspiring leaders that look for a way to bridge the gaps between strategy, organizational development and delivery and this way to strengthen the abilities and culture of their organization.

        What do you get out of it?

        Three principles guide everything we do:

        • Keep asking the agreement on outcomes question:
          What if we put agreement on outcomes ahead of solutions?
        • Keep bringing outcomes to the foreground
        • Keep finding new places for strategy to happen

        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

        This training helps in bridging the gaps: Strategy, organisation development and delivery integrated and made whole through participation. The language of outcomes inviting leadership at every level. You and your organisation will benefit from new conversations and new kinds of conversation, solutions emerging from the people closest to the problem.

        “This is a very precious opportunity:
        Mike has been a friend and partner of leanovate for many years and we share the mission to help organisations grow in wholeheartedness – helping them become less at war with themselves, their obstacles, imbalances and contradictions; creating both value and meaning in the process.”

        Markus Hippeli, CEO of leanovate


        If you need further information, please refer to the information
        provided by Agendashift Academy by Mike Burrows.
        But as we like to say: Making is like wanting, only better – so: