An Image – A Great Tool for Intelligent Disobedience

Posted on October 4, 2009

We received this story from an attendee at a recent keynote presentation which demonstrates that a simple and common image can show decisions in a different light. Here’s the story:

In an Executive Program Review today, I used clipart of a person walking around with a tin cup, collecting coins. Along with the image, I included words to the effect of “I was reviewing the surveillance videos last night, and found this image of the VP of Engineering outside the CFO’s office looking for the $190k in added cost for the project additions approved over the past 7 weeks.”

We do not have a great closed loop on budget adjustments, and I’m sure that now the whole executive staff will recall the $190k in approved budget changes when the VP of Engineering shows up with that cup in hand…

Sometimes management makes decisions in a vacuum, only when taken in the aggregate do we understand the implications to a program, and the organization as a whole. This was a very provocative and successful way to bring that to light, and make sure the appropriate action was taken to adjust the scope and budget successfully.

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