Intelligent disobedience in a business context is the ability to counter management directions or instructions and suggest improvements while defending the integrity of business requirements and organisational goals.

This ability requires courage, good presentation skills and political awareness. The ability to apply intelligent disobedience sets great leaders apart from those who are merely good. The skills required to utilize intelligent disobedience can be learned, and are taught by the Intelligent Disobedience staff in a poignant, pragmatic way.

The process of intelligent disobedience is similar to the way a seeing-eye dog is trained to help its visually impaired master. In moments of potential danger to their master, the dogs might have to disobey a master’s command and carry out the appropriate actions to protect and ensure the master’s safety. Similarly, leaders must possess the courage to defy management decisions and directions, if that defiance can help ensure the organisation’s success.

Our Core Intent

To support great leaders so they are able to assess and respond to each business situation they face in an optimal way, placing results over process compliance; they discard “the rules” when appropriate. “Intelligent disobedience” discusses a vital skill set to achieve optimal outcomes, and presents a “toolkit” to help the reader deploy this skill. Real life experiences from successful leaders are included to provide context to the techniques presented in the Intelligent Disobedience book, and supported through coaching, workshops and keynotes.

Statement of Aims

The Purpose of Intelligent Disobedience – The Difference between Good and Great Leaders

  • Enhance your business success
  • Discuss approaches for successfully dealing with senior managers and stakeholders
  • Expand the success of your business
  • Ensure the ongoing success of your management team
  • Help you examine methods for proposing potentially unpopular directions or opinions
  • Recommend ways for you to craft compelling arguments to garner business support
  • Propose a decision making process for when you should ‘bend the rules’ or alter processes – leveraging common sense over common processes on an exception basis
  • Provide guidance to determine instances when improved outcomes are better than ensuring compliance with corporate norms or management directions

Our Team

Bob McGannon – Director

Bob McGannon

Bob is the co-founder and director of Intelligent Disobedience Leadership in Australia. Bob specialises in advanced leadership techniques, strategic program and portfolio management and has established Project Management Offices on three continents. Bob has worked with inexperienced to advanced business leaders from more than 15 countries, with a wide variety of industry backgrounds. Bob has more than 30 years of I/T, project management and business analysis experience, 18 of those years with the IBM Corporation. His management experience includes technology outsourcing, I/T delivery service measurement and quality, business analysis and advanced project management.

He is the author of Intelligent Disobedience: The Difference Between Good and Great Leaders,  released on 17 March 2018 by Routledge (Oxford) and the intelligent disobedience blog. Bob has also published white papers and articles internationally and was a contributing author to the books Advising Upward and The Keys to Our Success: Lessons Learned from 25 of our Best Project Managers.

Denise DeCarlo – Director

Denise DeCarlo

Denise DeCarlo is the co-founder of Intelligent Disobedience Leadership in Australia and is a specialist in project management, Information Technology (I/T) management, technology outsourcing, team building, applications software development and quality. She has spent 30 years in the I/T and project management field, seven of those years with the IBM Corporation. Her management experience includes applications development in various architectures, technology operations management, contract development, methodology implementation, mentoring, and team building. She has worked as a project management consultant managing customer project teams of 6 to 115 people. She has been delivering intelligent disobedience concepts via workshops and her management approach for over 15 years.


Bob, what a great book you wrote.! The way you presented the concept of intelligent disobedience as something you do intentionally out in the open on purpose is perfect.

Jan JordheimProblem Management Architect at Catholic Health Initiatives | IT Manager

What a great book that doesn’t just talk about “empowerment” but defines it, unpacks it and gives you a road-map to follow to create intelligent discretion in your team.

Mario CortésAuthor | Speaker | E-Learning Developer

A quick thank you for yesterday’s presentation on intelligent disobedience. Your insights were immensely helpful.

Bruce Williams

Your presentation made a real difference to quite a few that attended that I spoke to.

Mel MessinaInnovation Centre – Univ of Sunshine Coast