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"Hierarchies and bureaucracy kill innovation and make organisations inefficient and slow. Flattening those hierarchies, distributing leadership and initiative, and the need to allocate resources dynamically, are of increasingly critical importance in a world of systemic challenges and existential risks to whole industries and economies. This programme will give you a more profound multidisciplinary understanding of power, hierarchies, and their role in organisations and will equip you with actionable tools to make your organisation as flat, fluid and flexible as it needs to be, whilst being aware of the common pitfalls to avoid in any transition."

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About The Programme

"First, let's fire all the managers." The famous title of Gary Hamel's 2011 HBR article captures the general frustration with corporate hierarchies. In response to this mood, methods for flattening organisations have mushroomed in recent years. Chances are your organisation has tried aspects of at least one of the many schemes that have at least some "flat" elements: lean, agile/scrum, Teal, Nuevo Estilo Relacional, Holacracy etc. And you may have read accounts from Patagonia, Semco, Haier or RedHat about their journeys towards a more decentralised, self-managed organisation.


In this programme, you will learn the roots, commonalities, and differences of these approaches and cases. We will:

  • Distil some key insights and then go through them one by one and illustrate each with case studies

  • Explain why they are essential through scientific insights from different disciplines - biology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics

  • Propose some empirically proven, easy-to-use tools to implement the insights in your organisation.

In this way, you should be able to avoid pitfalls other organisations have experienced when flattening their structures.


The reality is, of course, that while the idea of flat, decentralised organisations is very appealing, few organisations succeed in transitioning to such structures, and some that do succeed slide back into traditional command-and-control over time. We will therefore also investigate the hurdles organisations interested in this transition face and look at examples of organisations failing to keep this organisational form alive, suggesting what some of the reasons might be.

Who Will The Programme Benefit?


Anyone who wants to understand what applying a flat and flexible organisation can achieve in their contexts and would like to know how to implement one whilst avoiding the risks. The programme should be especially relavant to Directors who would need to approve such a change and the senior executives who would be responsible for the implementation of it in businesses and organisations in any sector – commercial, government, public sector, and not-for-profit sectors, including: companies, national and local governments, health, care, education and other service providers, charities, institutes and professional bodies etc. The programme will also help those who have already introduced flatter structures but are struggling with the implementation and want to know why.


The programme will benefit people in all job functions associated with project responsibility including the most senior executives and change and transformation directors or managers. And there will

be much to be gained by those with responsibility for core elements of the change: strategic management, project management, risk management, operations management, systems and resources management, internal audit and compliance, organisational development and people management etc.


The programme will benefit all consultants and advisors whose clients are considering moving to a flatter organisational structure to achieve greater flexibility, or ought to be doing so. That means just about every business or organisation that has not yet moved to this model. And that means just about every business or organisation.


Researchers and educators with an interest in organisational design, development and change management. Those with an interest in strategy, risk, governance, operations management etc. It should also appeal to people interested in project management, systems thinking, leadership, and corporate culture. 

Who Is Delivering The Programme?

Dr Frederic Schneider


Frederic has taught executives on MBA programmes about behavioural economics and incentives in organisations at leading Business Schools in Zurich and Cambridge. He has also consulted and advised private and public institutions in organisational efficiency and work psychology.

He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Zurich and has 15 years of researching, consulting, and teaching experience at leading institutions globally, including the University of California at Berkeley, Yale University, and the University of Cambridge. His research has been published in top academic journals, and he writes policy analysis for various leading think tanks.

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Frederic is currently working on his book Flat Fluid Flexible: How to be a 21st Century Organisation and Avoid the Pitfalls. It will support the programme and follow the same structure, bringing all his research, articles and experiences together in a coherent volume designed for practitioners facing the challenges associated with the changes they are being forced to make. .

Paul Barnett


Paul  is the Founder and CEO of the Enlightened Enterprise Academy and, with Mike, the co-Founder of the Critical Systems Institute. The Academy is also incubating other institutes related to its objectives, and Enlightened Enterprise Media is being developed as a multi-media publishing solution to support the whole enterprise. 

Paul will support Frederic in the production and delivery of this Programme, and the publication of a related book for practitioners. 


Programme Agenda & Structure

The 12-Week Programme of 12 Modules will be delivered via the Enlightened Enterprise Academy Hub, an online platform. 

Each module will be released weekly as a folder of content to be watched, listened to, or read. The content will include a pre-recorded video presentation by Frederic, to be watched before that week's live session.

If you are unable to make a live session, you will find the recording in the folder afterwards. And the content associated with the whole programme will be accessible for a minimum of 12 months after the programme ends.

Each week the 90-minute live session will feature Dr Frederic Schneider in dialogue with a guests that have relevant knowledge and experience to share. That dialogue moderated by Paul Barnett will be followed by an audience Q&A session.

Before the start of the programme, all delegates will be invited to join a small Reflection Group (optional). The groups will consider the content of each module at the end of each week. This programme feature is designed to help participants develop their thinking about ways to apply the insights they have gained. Such applied thinking strengthens the chances of seeing and understanding the direct relevance and value of flat organisations in practice.     

The Enlightened Enterprise Academy Hub is also designed to support the ongoing development of learning communities long after the programme ends. It will allow you to develop strong and lasting relationships among a network of peers with similar interests.


Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about any aspect of the design and delivery of the programme.   



From corporate scandals to growing disenchantment with governments and global governance emergencies, organisations today are facing a systemic crisis. We start by highlighting fundamental causes of this crisis. We then discuss what changes are needed and how they can be achieved. 

Week 1 – An Introduction to the 21st Century Imperatives

Rethinking Leadership


In the following two weeks, we will discuss the defining characteristic of flat organisations –a radically different concept of leadership. Rather than concentrated at the top, leadership is a distributed and emergent/situational role.

Week 2 : Structure: Everybody is a Leader..Sometimes

Week 3:  Leadership: A Different Kind of Leading 

Reimagining Organisations


In the following four weeks, we will learn how this different, flat approach to leadership translates to central aspects of organisations: information / innovation, decision-making procedures, incentives / motivation, and communication.

Week 4: Information: The Power of Collective Intelligence

Week 5: Procedures: A Different Kind of Decision-Making & Resourcing

Week 6: Incentives: A Different Kind of Motivation

Week 7: Interactions: A Different Kind of Communicating

Reaping the advantages

In the following three weeks, we will zoom in and combine the key topics we encountered in previous weeks and deepen our understanding of how the different strengths and features of flat organisations result in their characteristic advantages.

Week 8 – Productivity: Flat Organisations are Efficient and Scalable 

Week 9 – Adaptability: Flat Organisations are Flexible and Resilient

Week 10 – Fulfilment: Flat Organisations are Attractive

How do you get there?

In the final two weeks, we will zoom out and condense the insights we have gained over the course of the programme, clarify the obstacles and threats to flat organisations, and sketch avenues for a fundamental transition from pyramidal, frozen, and brittle to flat, fluid, and flexible.

Week 11 – Challenge: The Principal Obstacles for Change

Week 12 – Transition: Changing Behaviour, Changing Systems


What are the Programme Objectives?
And What Happens After?


  • Create an understanding among participants of the nature of hierarchical and non-hierarchical organisation principles, their different benefits and drawbacks, and a solid framework to analyse hierarchies in your current organisation.


  • Develop the capacity of participants to employ a fresh, multidisciplinary perspective to rethink and redesign hierarchical structures, master the strategic and operational issues of organisational change, and create a dynamic and resilient organisation that is a great workplace and creates value for stakeholders and society.


  • Help develop a community of interest focused on the topic and continue to develop the body of knowledge and practice insights to support practitioners in future. 


  • Contribute to the production of the book "Flat Flexible Fluid"


Delegates completing the programme will also be acknowledged in the Flat Flexible Fluid book, which Frederic is currently working on, and will receive a free copy once it is published.


On completion of the programme participants will:

  • Be invited to join a growing community of interest in the topics covered by the programme.


  • Be able to request a certificate of completion if they wish.


  • Be offered membership of the Enlightened Enterprise Institute for free for six months.

  • Qualify for a 20% discount on any other programme offered by the Enlightened Enterprise Academy

What Investment Is Required?
And How To Apply


The standard cost of the programme is £1,200, but the special price for our first cohort is £800. This includes all materials, the forthcoming book, and all other benefits. 

We offer discounts to participants from middle and lower income countries, and a range of other discounts. To check if you qualify check out our discount policy 


Payment plans are available to spread the cost, and partial scholarships are available in special circumstances.


Details of the next dates for the programme are published in the NEWS section 


You can reserve your place online now


Refunds may be requested, and will be considered, prior to the start of the program, but not once it has started.  

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