Case Studies

Apollo Education Group

Transforming from Command-and-Control to Organizational Self-Management

“I read Doug Kirkpatrick’s “Beyond Empowerment: The Age of the Self-Managed Organization, ” and I fell in love with the concept of self-management. The way Doug lines the book out, using Morning Star and their work actually provided a framework for me and my organization to follow…The biggest thing that we did was that everybody read the book and we had a book club. And we sat down as an organization in our first entrée into truly working on our self-management practices and as a team determined what pieces of the book and the structure we could adopt. And we put together a project, basically, to transform our organization but we did it all as a team.” –Stephenie Gloden

Can a visionary leader transform an entrenched business-unit bureaucracy from command-and-control to self-management? Yes, she can. Meet Stephenie Gloden, former Vice President of Enterprise Resource Management at Apollo Education Group in Phoenix, Arizona.

From the Insight to Action Leadership Innovation Podcast, by Dawna Jones:

Stephenie Gloden is a passionate person. After reading Doug Kirkpatrick’s book “Beyond Empowerment: The Age of the Self-Managed Organization” rather than attempt to impose the ideas she worked with her team at the University of Phoenix, Apollo Education Center to ‘own’ the ideas and implications.

It is not that education systems do not want to deliver skills to equip students with 21st Century skills; it’s that the systemic blocks make it extremely difficult. A high level of vision and tenacity is required. To handle high speed change takes different skills so in this program you’ll hear:

  • How they inserted accountability into interpersonal relationships internally
  • What impact being fully responsible had on learning and growth of leaders
  • What surfaces when you see people as more than their role
  • About Redflint: a partnership between big corporations, the university and an accelerator
  • About the ecosystem benefits for startups, big corps and entrepreneurs
  • Why MGM in Las Vegas signed on as a partner

Stephenie Gloden is the former Vice President, Enterprise Resource Management at Apollo Education Group and part of the partnership behind the RedFlint Experience Center, Sparked by University of Phoenix.

Innovative entrepreneur, intrapreneur and leader, Stephenie promotes a highly engaged culture focused on delivering value-driven service and solutions that meet customer needs. She applies lean startup principles, agile methodologies and self-management practices to driving collaboration in an interdisciplinary context. Fortunately, she’s not afraid to push the envelope – an essential trait in someone having to work around an entrenched systemic holding pattern.

Stephenie Gloden and Dawna Jones are on LinkedIn.

To learn more about RedFlint: CLICK HERE

Podcast link: CLICK HERE

To see a video from the Consortium for Service Innovation about using self-management at Apollo: CLICK HERE

Methodologies and Tools used:

  • Personal Commercial Missions
  • Informal Colleague Operating Agreements
  • Self-Managed Communication and Conflict Processes
  • Coaching and Mediation
  • Modeling and Developing Self-Managed Leadership Competencies


  • Successfully transformed the Contact Center/Shared Services Group from command-and-control to Organizational Self-Management
  • Provided a working model for change for the larger enterprise, parts of which are now studying the feasibility of transformation for their own groups
  • Created effective working interfaces with the surrounding hierarchical organization
  • Team drove the Organization Self-Management project implementation

A Story
Of Partnership

Our Case Studies are more about our clients than about us. If we have done our jobs well, the role we played in helping them institute organizational change or navigate complex business issues will be apparent in their pride and success.