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Harvard DCE

Collaborative Leadership: Building the Organization of the Future

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As the business landscape becomes increasingly dynamic and new players enter the market, successful companies are tasked with building their capacity for agility, adaptability, and speed in order to maintain competitive advantage. Business leaders globally are responding by transitioning from a hierarchical organizational structure to more flexible, team-centric models that foster collaboration, information sharing, and empowerment. We call this the responsive organization.

With this shift, companies have realized improved productivity, better employee engagement, and increased revenues.

In this leadership training program, you will explore the current evolution of organizational design from traditional, command-and-control models to a system of empowered networks—and learn about the opportunities to increase your business performance by introducing principles of responsive organizing in your teams and organization.

Through interactive lectures and engaging group exercises, you will cultivate essential collaborative leadership competencies, and gain the conceptual framework, vision, and tools you need to effectively incorporate these principles.


  • Develop a new, collaborative leadership style
  • Gain critical insights about broad macro-level shifts in organizational design from traditional, command-and-control organizational structure towards a team-centric structure organized for autonomy, agility, and purpose
  • Acquire a reliable framework to introduce principles of responsive organizing at a pace suited to your organization’s capabilities
  • Learn how to build in individual and team accountability with effective performance management tools
  • Create a desirable work culture that attracts and retains high-performing talent, empowers employees, and values entrepreneurship
  • Harness the power of leading, self-management models to maximally utilize employee skills, increase productivity, and capture new organizational value
  • Earn a Certificate of Participation from the Harvard University Division of Continuing Education


What are the new models of responsive organizing?

  • Types of organizational structure
  • Functions and dysfunctions of traditional hierarchical organizations
  • Alternative models to hierarchy (including organic forms, cross functional teams, holacracy, collaborative leadership development)
  • Benefits and challenges responsive organizing

Preparing to lead empowered teams

  • Assumptions of how traditional managerial hierarchy “works”
  • Shifting from boss to coach
  • Tactics and tools for empowering staff while maintaining accountability

Tapping into collective intelligence

  • Conventional barriers to collaboration and collective intelligence and the problems with traditional (hierarchical) group dynamics
  • How to design and facilitate more collaborative and effective meetings
  • Tools for effective group decision-making

Managing the shift to responsive organizing

  • Barriers and resistance to self-management in yourself and others
  • From passion to purpose—presenting the business benefits of self-managed models to gain stakeholder buy in

Who should attend

This program is designed for both organizational leaders and managers across all industries and functional areas charged with managing teams or business units who are looking to build collaborative leadership competencies; gain a framework for implementing self managed teams; or to innovatively enact a new organizational structure prepared for changing market forces.

This program is also designed to help HR professionals, internal consultants, and others involved with organizational design and implementation.


Michael Y. Lee is a Doctoral Candidate in Management at Harvard Business School studying novel organizational designs, and how formal structure can be leveraged to foster greater organizational effectiveness. His dissertation research explores the dynamics and consequences of radical approaches t...
Carlo Giardinetti is an expert practitioner of self-organization principles and a certified Holacracy Facilitator. After a career as a professional soccer player in Italy, Carlo moved into a fast-advancing career in the hospitality industry managing hotels and resorts in Italy, Tanzania, Kenya, M...
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