Podcast Ep. 87: Intent-Based Leadership with Michael Guiler

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Episode Description:

On today’s episode of the Agile Coaches’ Corner podcast, Dan Neumann is joined by a new guest, Michael Guiler. Dan and Mike will be focusing on the topic of intent-based leadership and the key leadership characteristics that allow for intent-based leadership. Mike will discuss how an organization can begin to take the first steps towards intent-based leadership, how to avoid common pitfalls, and practical tips and advice on embracing intent-based leadership throughout an organization.

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Key Takeaways

  • What is intent-based leadership? What problems does it solve?
    • Helps to get the entire team to chip in and no longer wait for approvals and sign-offs
    • Takes the pressure off of one single leader and unlocks the potential of every employee
    • The opposite of directive leadership
    • Changes the pattern from leader-follower to leader-leader
    • Those in leadership roles are not telling people what to do/how to do it; they are setting goals and directions
    • The “followers” are engaging their creativity, mind, and intelligence and leveraging those skills and sharing their solutions with the leadership (this gives the organization a great opportunity to learn and exposes leaders to things they hadn’t thought about before)
  • Getting started with intent-based leadership/characteristics of leadership to allow for intent-based leadership:
    • Before the leader-leader pattern can happen, a lot of growth has to take place
    • Keep in mind that this process won’t happen overnight
    • Immediately begin to address competence – leadership at all levels can’t thrive if your team doesn’t have the skills or knowledge to prioritize and take action
    • Establish safety – mistakes will happen; it’s how we react to those mistakes that will enable leadership at all levels to thrive or to fail miserably
    • Use mistakes as a learning opportunity rather than punishing an individual
    • Be curious and ask good questions from a place of true curiosity
    • Challenge your preconceived notions of how things have always been done
    • Embrace new ideas and thoughts – there’s a real chance you’ll learn something
    • Allow time for the team to talk out loud
    • Respect others opinions and encourage them to have their own point of view
    • It’s hard and will take a lot of time and investment, but it’s money well-spent – the productivity will explode
    • It’s important to set guide rails in the technology world
    • Focus on the goal/outcome instead of the “how”; set clear intentions and let the team figure it out
    • Adopt the “I intend to” language pattern
  • Mike’s intent-based leadership tips:
    • Once the competency is established and you’ve gotten your organization thinking about it, it is important to establish safety (without safety people won’t bring their creative-selves or do anything new)
    • It is crucial for the team to know what the goals are
    • Have an “ish” mindset; decisions and actions being taken won’t match yours and that’s OK
    • Overcome urges to command and control
    • Be tolerant of differences and encourage different points of view

About Michael Guiler: Mike is an agile consultant at AgileThought. He has been an agile coach for over 13 years and has experience helping geographically dispersed organizations – in both the business and technology fields – to transform and better achieve their goals. His focus is on helping organizations learn and apply the values and principles of the agile mindset to continuously improve.

Mentioned in this Episode

Michael Guiler’s Book Picks:

Transcript [This transcript is auto-generated and may not be completely accurate in its depiction of the English language or rules of grammar]

Intro: [00:03] Welcome to Agile Coaches’ Corner by AgileThought, the podcast for practitioners and leaders seeking advice to refine the way they work and pave the path to better outcomes. Now here’s your host coach and agile expert, Dan Neumann.

Dan Neumann: [00:16] Welcome to agile coaches corner. I’m Dan Newman, your host for this episode and happy to be joined by a new guest here. So we, uh, promise to get to go easy on him. Uh, so I’m happy to be joined by Mike Guiler one of my colleagues here at AgileThought. Welcome.

Mike Guiler: [00:32] Hi Dan. Thank you very much for the invitation. I’m looking forward to this and I’m so glad you’re going to take it easy. Yeah,

Dan Neumann: [00:38] We’ve had a couple new folks. Uh, Andrea Floyd was new a couple of weeks ago and uh, so that’ll be good. We get some good, some new voices here. Before we get into our topic today, which is going to be intent-based leadership, I wanted to like play those bobs from office space. Like what do you actually do? So what, so maybe for gifts, folks, that just a sense for what you do at AgileThought.

Mike Guiler: [01:02] Thanks. So I am an agile coach for AgileThought. Um, what that means is I get to work with a lot of really great clients and help them adopt an agile mindset and work their way through a transformation and adopt agile.

Dan Neumann: [01:17] Very cool. All right. Well, thank you very much. And intent based leadership, um, is our topic today. And so maybe you could help put a little bit of a framework around that. Where, where did you come across that concept? And it was curious to see if it’s same place I did, and then, um, why you think it’s important?

Mike Guiler: [01:38] Um, so I came across it from David Marquez, uh, book, uh, turning the ship around, uh, awesome book should definitely read that. Um, and my current client actually is, um, really intent pun intended, um, to, to adopt it. So, um, we’ve been helping them and, uh, we’ve noticed a lot of really interesting things going on and I thought this would be a great topic for today.

Dan Neumann: [02:04] Very cool. And when you say they’re intent on leading on adopting, it went very well. Nice pun by the way. Very nice. Um, what problem are they hoping to solve with intent based leadership?

Mike Guiler: [02:18] So they’re very keen on, and I love the concept right around, you have all of these really great people in your organization, but the reality is, is that a lot of organizations, you really only engage a portion of their brains. And in fact, some of these people are basically just told what to do and when to do it and how to do it. Um, and so getting everybody’s brain engaged, um, really adds to the, the dynamics and the ability of an organization. So I think that’s probably one of the biggest things they’re trying to get out of it is, is how can we get everybody to chip in here and really do some amazing,

Dan Neumann: [02:57] Yep. I think what you on there is super important. You companies hopefully are hiring for talent and for capabilities and we want creative thinking and then the system can stuff them into a box where they have to play mother, may I, for anything they want to do and then wait for approvals and wait for sign-offs and wait and wait.

Mike Guiler: [03:17] Absolutely. That’s exactly what happens in most organizations. And if we can unlock that or help an organization unlock that, think of the power an organization gets from doing that.

Dan Neumann: [03:30] The other thought related to that. And I, uh, COVID has obviously been top of mind, it is related to intent-based leadership and that I think it takes the notion away from there as one super smart person who should know everything and direct everything and pull all the puppet strings. And that’s ridiculous. Um, and I, and I’m that leader. I don’t want that kind of pressure and responsibility. I mean, like, I mean, I, I think I’m pretty smart, but there’s a, like other people are pretty smart in lots of different ways.

Mike Guiler: [04:01] Well, and you know, companies spend so much time finding that right person, right. And they invest that time and effort and money into it, and then they don’t let them, or they don’t give them the opportunity. Maybe that’s a better way of saying it to really show what they can do. And then you’re right. It falls on that, that one person, or there’s that group of five people or whatever the heck it is. And it that’s a ton of pressure. It’s not very efficient. And they don’t really realize the company doesn’t realize what they really could gain if they just unlock the potential of all of the people that they worked so hard to recruit and hire and train.

Dan Neumann: [04:37] And David Marquet in that book, which is the same one, turn the ship around right. And come across this. And then he did a keynote at one of the agile talks, uh, agile conferences. Um, his ship went from worst to first in the Navy as far as performance and reviews. So definitely he saw some, he saw some outcomes there. Maybe you could give folks a sense for what, when they get to intent based leadership, what might that look like? So we’ve talked about intent based leadership and it kind of, um, it’s different than the directive leadership where you tell everybody what to do or you, you give them direction, but what might it look like to be on the other side of intent based leadership where it’s actually present?

Mike Guiler: [05:20]
So, uh, David talks in his book about, uh, changing the pattern from a leader or follower to leader leader. And so that’s really what you want to begin to see that, you know, the people in the leadership level, in the organization, aren’t telling people what to do, how to do and when to do it, they’re really setting goals and directions if you will, for their organization. And then the people that are typically referred to as the followers, if you will, they’re engaging their creativity, their mind, their, their intelligence, and leveraging those skills. And then going back to leadership saying things well, this is what we’re going to do. They’re providing the solutions, if you will, and the house on what to do it, uh, this gives the organization a great opportunity to learn. Um, leaders might be exposed to things they hadn’t thought about, uh, cause let’s be honest when they set goals, you know, most of the leaders in today’s world have our, you know, got to that position because they solved a lot of things. So when they even, they begin to start to set goals, they have solutions in the back of their brain, right? They, they, they think they know how to do it. They’re going to be surprised at the creativity and the options that their people that they hired are going to come up with. They’re probably in almost all instances will find really new and creative ways that they didn’t to solve something that they didn’t think about. That’s awesome.

Dan Neumann: [06:42] That is, that is super cool. And related to leaders, kind of having the goals that people are going after. I could see this pairing well with something like objectives and key results where you’re being very clear about this is the objective that we want to achieve. And then people can work on kind of the how to, to achieve that.

Mike Guiler: [07:03] Absolutely. So, you know, when the leadership come up with their, their metrics, right? So they get that great inspirational objective and they come up with their metrics. It’s devoid of the, how so, you know, intent-based leadership really plays beautifully into that model where now those people can figure out, well, that’s our goal. We want to move X from 10% to 30%. Let’s figure how to do that. And let’s come up, let’s engage our creativity and get that done. That’s a very powerful technique.

Dan Neumann: [07:32] Very cool. So let’s say hopefully we’ve convinced some people, or at least piqued some interest in like, Hey, this intent based leadership sounds way better than being told what to do or sounds better than telling everybody what to do. Uh, and being expected to be that, that big brain in the room. So what might a well made it look like to start down that journey from your perspective and some of the experience you’ve you’ve had with your client here? Not your specific client, of course, but your generic client. Yeah. We don’t want to share, we don’t want overshare, but yeah.

Mike Guiler: [08:06] So, uh, well, first off I think if you’re lucky enough to find, um, even on the organization or even one leader within an organization, that’s interested in dipping their toe into this, let’s celebrate that. Right. Because the vast majority of the leaders out there in the marketplace today, they didn’t get here by engaging, uh, you know, or adopting the leader leader model. They got here by, you know, several different ways and probably not all that are, um, as let’s say, productive or helpful as you might hope for. Right. But they’re there.

Dan Neumann: [08:38] Yeah. There’s, there’s a lot of research. What does, Oh gosh, what’s the, what’s the, uh, the mental characteristic of a lot of leaders. Um, I want to say narcissistic, which might also be true, but that’s not the one that comes to, um, sociopath. Right. Isn’t there a bunch of research that says people that have a slight tendency towards sociopathy. I’ll have to Google that and see if I’m just making stuff up. But, um, but you’re right. Like they’ve gotten somewhere because in a lot of places, systems reward the telling. And so you have the system itself perpetuates, and if you don’t tell you don’t get up to the top. And so you get there by telling so, right. So leader leader is strangled in a lot of organizations very early on.

Mike Guiler: [09:20] Yep. So, so let’s celebrate that. Let’s let’s if nothing else in, in today’s world, let’s give them the virtual high five. Um, maybe if we can get back together, you know, we can actually pat them on the back or something, shake their hand, let’s congratulate them. But then, you know, intent based leadership, just like an agile transformation, you know, when you’re talking to an organization, they want to jump directly to the benefit and skip all the hard work. Um, and so helping them, you know,

Dan Neumann: [09:48] Wait, wait, we’ve got to do hard work.

Mike Guiler: [09:51] Yeah. Oh, absolutely. So yeah, they would just assume tell us what to do, right. As opposed to going through the steps, but you got to go through the steps. And there’s some, I think, some very basic things that they have to make sure that they’re beginning to grow in their organization before an intent based leadership and leaders can be the leader leader pattern can actually take hold and begin to grow. Right. This is something that’s not going to happen overnight. And I I’m going to say having, having done 11 and half years in the Navy, uh, so, you know, reading David Marquet’s book, uh, there was a lot into it. I could go, well, that’s cool. I get that. But there’s something that doesn’t kind of come out in the book that maybe should, which is says it a few times that they spend, especially on the submarine force, it’s an unbelievable amount of money, they spend in training up these people. So the competency level of, of the individuals on a ship, especially a submarine is through the roof. I mean, they really invest in that. That’s not always true at other organizations. So, you know, it’s great to say, I want to leader leader model, but if the competency level, what, all the levels isn’t there, they’re not able to do that. And when they start to do it, especially if you just kind of, you know, flip the switch and say, Hey, you’re all leaders have a great time. You’re going to get some really bad stuff coming out so, you know, assessing at, at every level, do you have the competency to make decisions or even to come to an observation that you want to share, you’ve got to make sure that’s there and you got to invest in that. And that that’s time and money, time and money well spent. Navy’s a great example. They actually did that and they do it to this very day, but not every organization has done that. And from a leader’s point of view, one of the things that, and I’m sure Dan you’ve encountered this too. You’ve walked into an office to have a leader and you said, Hey, you know, I intend to do this. So using the language from David’s book, I intend to do this and their response is, that is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. Have you lost your mind? What they teach you right away, that you’re never going to do that again. And so you walk out of the office and you never, ever come back.

Dan Neumann: [12:10] Yeah. I liked the, the competency part is definitely important. And I was, I was thinking about that as you were describing it in, um, in the management three, but it managing for happiness and management 3.0, there’s the, the delegation, uh, poker activity where there’s, there’s many layers of delegation and it it’s, it’s a spectrum. It’s not an either you have it, or I have it necessarily, but it’s, it’s an array of delegation that makes me think of, as an organization is building up the competency. Maybe the, the leader is better off holding those cards a little more tightly. Um, and then gradually loosening up the power. So David Marquet, I think give an example where somebody came to him and wanted to do something. And he said, did you check XYZ? You know, have you, have you done what you need to do? And I, I would have got thrown out of the Navy or shot in the back by one of my colleagues, you know? So thank you. I’m glad for your service. And this, that book probably resonated much more strongly with you having been in the service and that particular branch, but he gradually loosened up to leadership as opposed to just throwing him the keys to the sub, if they even have keys and, um, and, uh, and letting them run it, which is perhaps the problem that the first crew had. I don’t know.

Mike Guiler: [13:28] Well, and, and I don’t think David calls us out, but it was an observation I made for sure. And so maybe he did call it out, but, uh, you know, he, he mentioned that he’d spent, I think, a year training to go to a different sub. So he knew everything about that sub. Uh, but when he, when he landed on the Santa Fe, you know, almost overnight, he didn’t know anything. Well, he had a rough idea obviously, but he knew he didn’t know nearly as enough of what he would have expected to know. So he was sort of forced in some ways that, okay, you know, I had seen a version of intent based leadership work on another side that he was on, but he was really forced to do this. Well, a lot of our leaders out there today, that’s not true of them. Right they’re in a leadership position because they walked up that chain. So they, they know everything about that. So you have to, he was forced to, I use the term be curious. He was forced to be curious, cause he literally didn’t know he had to ask questions. He didn’t know the answer to, and that’s one of the things leaders have got to start to think about too, is that they’re asking their people to become leaders. And so they’re going to be presented with things that either A, they know I’ve done that in the past. I didn’t play out so well or guess I’ve never thought of that. So they really need to become curious and ask really good questions, but not from a position of, well, I’m going to ask three questions and that will make you come to my mindset. That that’s really not what this is about, because I’ll tell you these smart people that you’re trying to turn into really great leaders. Will see through that and in about 30 seconds and they’ll, they’ll stop coming to you. Cause I got, okay, he’s not really interested. Right. He doesn’t want to hear me.

Dan Neumann: [15:09]
It’s it’s a quiz. It’s not, you know, it’s not asking for curiosity. It’s it’s Oh, it’s either quiz or manipulative. Right. Where they’re trying to. Yeah. Like you said, bring them back around to what you’re trying to think. Yeah.

Mike Guiler: [15:21] So, so the leader, the leader is trying to adopt this model. Has got to figure out that I’m really need to be curious? You know, they might teach me something. I might learn something really cool here. That’s awesome. Or you know, Oh, I’ve been here, let’s ask some questions. Maybe they don’t see why this might not work. Or maybe I’m really missing something. Maybe the environment maybe COVID-19 has changed something and I don’t see it, but they do. So this might work. So really learning to be curious is really critical in my mind, at least of adopting a typical leadership. Right.

Dan Neumann: [15:52] And that’s another thing that can take a little bit of time, you know, much like you were saying, the learning takes some time it’s faster to tell or it, and it’s time consuming to actually engage.

Mike Guiler: [16:05] Yeah. I mean, what a, what an awesome observation, Dan, right? It’s hard. It takes time to help people get to where you are and to, to, to, to give them the information that you’ve acquired over time. Maybe they haven’t had the time that takes a lot of time and investment it’s money well spent. Right? I mean, once, once your organization gets to a level, it, the productivity and everything they do just explodes, but that’s that takes time and you’re right. When it, when it comes between a rock and a hard place, you might default to, uh, I’m just going to tell you what to do, but you’re just short term profits for long term pain. It’s not where you want to be.

Dan Neumann: [17:01] Very cool. Okay. So if we’ve got, um, we’ve got some hard work involved in this and it requires some curiosity as well. Um, I’m, I’m gonna tee this one up. I’m guessing you and I might not come up with the same solution. We see this with agile teams, when they’re delivering product backlog items, the Product Owner asks for a, what the house left up to the team. There’s a lot of different hows. Does that cause any problems with, with intent-based leadership, with the ways of doing things?

Mike Guiler: [17:33] So, I mean, it can be, uh, it’s possible, right? Um, part of leadership is also setting up the guide rails. So in the, uh, in the technology world, so when I’m talking to teams around being self-organizing right. I, you know, I started talking to them and maybe they’re, maybe they’re a Microsoft shop. Um, that doesn’t mean that they get to decide overnight to switch to Java. That’s probably something that’s set up from an organizational. These are your guard rails. So, you know, these are your tool sets, you know how you get it within those tools, that’s up to you, but you’ve got to stay within the guard rails. And when you do this, right, you obviously have to establish that for your organization. What are our swim lanes and another analogy that plays right. What swim lanes do we have to stay within within the swim lane, have a great time, right. Come with really empowering brand new thought process. Awesome. Right. But you got to stay within, you know, the left and right bounds.

Dan Neumann: [18:32] Yep. Yeah, no. Right. Those, those guard rails for decision making, like you said, the Java to .net, if that’s not going to serve your organization well, necessarily to have that much diversity of technology, you know, so maybe it makes sense to try something and pilot it or an experiment, but just to be like, you know what, we’re going to drive the sub on the surface, across the ocean. That’s not gonna work.

Mike Guiler: [18:59]
Well, it will work, but you might end up getting some very quickly.

Dan Neumann: [19:04] Yeah. Yeah. That’s, that’s a, that’s kind of, not exactly hiding with pride. Okay. So what other tips do you have for, um, for folks who are curious about intent based leadership or looking up to set up some preconditions for it, what do they need to know?

Mike Guiler: [19:21] So, so we talked a little bit about, you know, the, the goals. So I think that’s really important. So once you’ve got sort of the competency there, you’ve got, um, the, the organization starting to think about it. You know, David talks a little bit about, you know, changing your verbiage, right? So, uh, in adopting the I intend to language pattern, I, I think my suggestion is, is that something you come pretty much later in your process, right? You need to become, you need to establish a safe environment. And we haven’t really talked about much about safety at this point. So let’s throw that in now. Um, we did mention, you know, that, that behavior, when you walked into your, your leader’s office and you said, Hey, you know, I have this idea and the response, her response back was, that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Well, that’s not a safe environment. You can’t, you know, you will teach your people not to come in and offer up any ideas very, very quickly. So they got to, as an organization, you’ve got to establish that safe environment where, you know, we can have a conversation and we can even have disagreements and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with a disagreement. It’s how we handle it. Right. If we turn it into a learning opportunity, if we say, you know, we tried this and this is why that failed. And have you thought about these things? Oh, I didn’t understand. Oh, okay. That’s fine. Right. There’s an opportunity to learn when it becomes, you know, I talk about I’ve used in the past, you know, I’ve got my sledgehammer and whacked you on the head, you know, as soon as you’ve done that, you know, intent based leadership is not going to work. So establishing safety is really important for an organization without that, without your leader being curious and without the leader setting goals, you’re probably going to have some problems.

Dan Neumann: [21:02] Yeah. So the safety to offer those up some curiosity and had knowing what the target is that you’re, that you’re shooting for your goal.

Mike Guiler: [21:10] Absolutely. I’d like to throw in too that leaders have gotten to where they have, because they’ve developed a set of skills and a way of doing things. So that’s probably radiated well with their leadership, which is why they were promoted through it. They also had better have sort of an issue mindset, right. Because when somebody is learning something for the first time or doing something first time, the, the thing they produce, whatever we’re talking about is probably not exactly what you would have produced had you done it yourself and that’s okay. Right. If you turn it into a no, no, no, go back. And you’re gonna change all these things because it’s exactly how I want it. I can’t give it to my management that way you’re teaching these people to go, well, then why don’t you just do it yourself? And then, you know, you know, that’s not where you want to be. So accepting that these things aren’t going to be perfect. That’s okay. You know, that’s just yet another opportunity for learning. Have you thought about this? What if we did it this way, uh, to help your people grow.

Dan Neumann: [22:07] And I think that fits well into an inspect and adapt mindset. So I’ve spent some time recently coaching specifically on Scrum. So transparency, inspection and adaptation is three of the pillars there. And that rapid feedback, Hey, I thought this was our goal. Here’s this increment or this iteration towards that goal. Give me some feedback. And then you continue to inspect and adapt. Now, if you’re on an assembly line, pounding out a widget and every widget needs to look the same, that’s a different scenario, but in the high uncertainty type of work, like software development, knowing what that goal is and iterating towards that. And, um, even just businesses are high uncertainty now, you know, especially with code, but I think it was always uncertain and we just kind of pretended it wasn’t and now the chickens have come home to roost. And, you know, if you’re a resilient company able to move fast, you’re able to respond to the uncertainty. And if, if you aren’t, that’s a whole different challenge.

Mike Guiler: [23:10]
So you hit a really great point that having the fortitude, for lack of a better word of, of going, gosh, you know, I’m doing this new thing and I’m going to present it that having the awareness to go to the, whoever go, well, here’s an increment. Am I on the right place? Give me some feedback so that I can iterate now as opposed to, you know, taking the initiative and doing the whole thing and then going back and having completely missed the target. Um, I actually was teaching an agile class, uh, several months ago and one of the attendees shared, um, that he had done a high school project, uh, paper, and he got a C minus on it. Uh, because one, uh, the topic he chose wasn’t on the issues wasn’t on the list. Everything else was beautiful, but he, he missed this topic. So how did, how did he just go on and said, you know, what do you think, you know, now high school, maybe that doesn’t play, but in the work it certainly plays. And you know, is this, am I on the right path? Uh, yup. Awesome. Keep going. Nope. Pivot, you know, not much time wasted.

Dan Neumann: [24:24] Yeah. And checking to see if your inbounds know, even in the high school schools, Hey, I was thinking about this topic, is that good? You know, that might have solved the problem. Maybe that the teacher would, would say it was, um, I don’t know if that would have flown with mr. Petrov, which he, uh, he was my, uh, so is it, how is sociology, whatever, one of those, one of those, one of those allergy types of things. Yeah. He was also the football coach. So I don’t think there was much latitude in that class, but, uh, yeah, you, you talked about, um, something about, uh, kind of some, some creativity and it also, um, reminded me of, of making it safe. There was a, as I was doing some, some research on cognitive bias, one of the research papers that I was reading about research, I wasn’t actually doing the research, but one of the papers was about the association of creativity with it was three word pain, agony, and vomit, uh, correlated strongly with hey, I see you’re making a face like you. Um, but, but creativity where these companies like we want creative people, we have creative, et cetera, et cetera. But the brain is panicking. If there’s a lot of uncertainty and there’s a lot of safety and it correlated these three really negative things with, with creativity. And so if you don’t have the safety people, aren’t going to, uh, bring their creative selves.

Mike Guiler: [25:49] Absolutely. They, they won’t do anything new. They can’t, because they’re, they’re, they’re petrified. If I do anything new, Oh, what are they going to think will happen? Right. They will do the same old every time you’ll get the same basically back to your widget. They’ll get the same widget every time.

Dan Neumann: [26:04] Yeah. Yeah. So what else, uh, what else, uh, comes to mind for, um, for intent based leadership as we come to the, towards the end of our little time box here together?

Mike Guiler: [26:17]
Well, I think every organization, if they invested just a little bit of time, well, a little bit, a little bit being relative, right? They invested a little bit of time and adopted this concept and planted the seeds, gave it time to grow. Uh, lots of water, lots of sun. The return on their investment will be exponential. They, most organizations are underestimating. If they’re even considering this, uh, they’re underestimating the benefits they’ll get from this investment. And they really should take some time and consider this.

Dan Neumann: [26:57] I like that metaphor of planting the seed. I mean, you can go out and you can, you can try and drown the tree and fertilize the tree and yell at the tree and do all the, you know, coax the tree. But it, it just takes time. And it’s not a, it’s not a rocket launch where you just dump a bunch of fuel and fire together and hope it doesn’t explode. Uh, it’s it’s a process and it takes time, but it’s that continual investment of a little bit of time. So I like, I like that metaphor.

Mike Guiler: [27:24] And it takes, it takes constant care and feeding. Right. Um, a few bad missteps can really, you know, cause the, that little seedling, not to grow any longer. And so it takes that discipline, I think is a good word from leadership to go, okay, we need to change how we’re behaving. Um, so David talks about this, right? He says, uh, what was it? You know, we had to decide were we going to change our behaviors and hope they change their mindset or change our mindset. So they changed their behaviors and he decided that they would change their behaviors. So they were going to emulate what they were expecting from their people so that their people would see it and go, aha in doing it so what, what I fear is that people read the book or, you know, are back to our conversation around, you know, we want to go agile. So we just want to jump to jump to the end because we didn’t want to do all the hard work. They just want to jump to the end and say, okay, we’ll start talking to me with, you know, tell me what you’re going to do. That won’t work. If you haven’t laid the groundwork, if you haven’t prepared the field for the seeds, you want to plant it won’t work.

Dan Neumann: [28:34] Yeah. The behavior first approach to change makes a lot of sense. And as you’d mentioned, the agile essentials too, I think that’s one of the opportunities there is with working with clients in change it, you can try and win the, the, the mindset or the perspective, but sometimes it makes sense just to start, look, we’re, we’re just going to try Scrum. If it stinks, we can talk about that later, but let’s just try and make an increment in two weeks. I don’t need to convince you it’s the best thing to do or that it make sense, but yeah, let’s, let’s try it.

Mike Guiler: [29:06] That’s right. I mean, humans like to see things, right. So when we begin to see, Ooh, that my work. Right. I get it. Let’s try that again. Let’s let’s do another increment. Well, let’s pause for a second. Let’s let’s get a little better and let’s do another increment. Let’s keep doing it. Okay. This might work.

Dan Neumann: [29:22] Yeah. Just it’s so crazy. It just might work. I love it. Well, Mike, thank you for taking some time and sharing an intent based leadership. I appreciate it.

Mike Guiler: [29:32] Absolutely. Then any anytime enjoyed it.

Dan Neumann: [29:35] Thank you. And I was curious, we ask people kind of what they’ve been reading. And so I’m wondering if you would share what you’ve, uh, maybe what you finished or what you’re heading on to next.

Mike Guiler: [29:49] Sure. So I just finished, uh, Deming’s the age of agile and, uh, next book on the reading list is, uh, leaders eat last, uh, really liked, uh, age of agile, uh, especially with, I think he calls you the three rules. So, uh, small teams, customer focused and, uh, network, um, awesome way of thinking of changing your agile mindset.

Dan Neumann: [30:17] Very cool. Yeah. And I think he’s got a bunch of nice examples in there. I think I’ve had, I think I only made it about halfway through. Not that it was a bad book, I just got distracted by some other book.

Mike Guiler: [30:27]
It takes a bit of a commitment to get through it. That’s true. But it was a great book. You should, you should definitely read it or listen to it.

Dan Neumann: [30:36] I’ll have to keep finishing. Yeah. I was on a drive up to the upper peninsula of Michigan from Northern Indiana. And so I had, I had some hours. Oh, and I did a quick Googling while we were going through. And uh, in this Forbes article, roughly 4% to 12% of CEOs, exhibit psychopathic tendencies. And in the general population, that’s only about 1% and in prison it’s 15%. So by some estimations, CEOs are almost a psychopathic on average as the general prison population. So those might not be the organizations where intent-based leadership would take root, but that does leave us, you know, somewhere between a 78, no 88% and 96, where it probably stands a fighting chance.

Mike Guiler: [31:24] So we have a target rich environment.

Dan Neumann: [31:26] We do have a target rich environment. Hey, thanks for taking the time. Mike, appreciate the sharing.

Mike Guiler: [31:33] Thanks.

Outro: [31:36] This has been the Agile Coaches’ Corner podcast brought to you by AgileThought. The views, opinions and information expressed in this podcast are solely those of the hosts and the guests, and do not necessarily represent those of AgileThought. Get the show notes and other helpful tips for this episode and other episodes at

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