The Successful Maverick – A Tale of Intelligent Disobedience

Posted on April 30, 2018

Josie Thomson is not your average independent consultant. She embraces intelligent disobedience so successfully she earned the title of “Maverick of the Year.”
Josie provides coaching, keynote and training services and describes her approach as “97% professional and 3% cheeky.” Josie knows when to apply the “3%” to push or break through boundaries for her clients. Using bold and challenging questions most people would be hesitant to ask, she disarms and revels thoughts and concerns from her clients that might otherwise go unaddressed.
Applying the essence of intelligent disobedience, Josie engages her challenging approach at certain times, not as a universal “normal” approach. She uses her maverick style of questioning when she senses “she is not able to access her client’s thinking.” Her questions release radical thinking and “awareness of self” within her clients. Using questions such as “What is the fear here?” or “How do you know that for sure?” or launching into a set of rapid fire questions about self-integrity and her client’s understanding of their goals inspire new thinking or reveal old assumptions.
Does she ever get it wrong and not get the results she hoped for? “Rarely,” says Josie, “I am not afraid of being wrong, and my clients understand that I am trying challenging techniques for their benefit. In addition, I typically ask permission to challenge them so I stand on firm ground before engaging in a maverick approach.”
Josie fully understands her boundaries when engaging in her intelligently disobedient approaches. First, there are no assumptions. “You need to ask questions to establish a full context of a client’s situation before challenging them.” Second, she will probe any restrictive processes their clients may surface by asking “who made the rules?” Getting further clarification by asking whose rules they are and if those rules are congruent with her client’s values and moral compass will often open new avenues for exploration.
Applying intelligent disobedience to your approach at work can open new avenues for you as well. Challenge yourself, and the thoughts of others, and strive for excellence!
To contact or learn more about Josie, visit
To learn more about incorporating intelligent disobedience into your leadership practices or the practices of your leadership team visit You can also order the new Intelligent Disobedience: The Difference Between Good and Great Leaders book from the publisher at or via Amazon.