A Different form of Intelligent Disobedience

Posted on July 26, 2009

Sometimes a sound can trigger the needed reaction!

After delivering a conference keynote on intelligent disobedience a delegate approached me to share this story…

As a business analyst at a major hospital, he was frustrated by project sponsorship that wasn’t stepping to the plate to establish priorities for critical staff members so the project team could collect appropriate requirements for what was being called a ”priority one” project. After many attempts at communication with various sponsors to try to rectify this, the team decided demonstrative action was needed. Using three fundamental elements of intelligent disobedience – risk, creativity and persistence – he decided to try one more attempt at communicating the need.

The team took a ”crash cart” – yes one of the hospital rolling carts holding a heart monitor and a defibrillator that was recently repaired and needed to be tested. They rolled it into the hospital’s Board of Directors meeting. One of the project team members had the heart sensors hooked up to himself under his dress shirt and the monitor was working; it was beeping in the normal way as his heart beat. (Well, maybe a little faster than normal, because he was a bit nervous!) The project manager briefly described the problem and when it came to describing the impact on the project, they unplugged the sensors from the monitor, sending it ”flat-lining”, with the accompanying long steady beep tone. That noise alone triggered a reaction with the senior medical personnel that were part of the Board of Directors.

Priorities were then laid out for the needed staff members – the project moved forward to a successful completion. Intelligent Disobedience saves the day!

Intelligent Disobedience Leadership provides workshops, coaching and consulting with a focus on courageous leadership through intelligent disobedience. We can help you and your teams design a community of practice which leverages constructive “intelligent disobedience.” For further information, email us at info@intelligentdisobedience.com.