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Mindful Agility

Business & Economics Podcasts

Mindfulness for insight, and agile for results give us the innovation and drive we need to succeed. Dan Greening and Mirela Petalli help you use both practices together to live life well.


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Mindfulness for insight, and agile for results give us the innovation and drive we need to succeed. Dan Greening and Mirela Petalli help you use both practices together to live life well.




Learning from Failure, Without Losing Your Mind

Learning from failure ought to be easy. Good experiments should fail, about half the time, especially if they aren't costly. And agile experiments are designed to be low cost. But failure, it turns out, freaks us out, especially when we are new to a field. That might explain why agile transformations fail at a very high rate, even though the benefits of agile are well studied. Folks in an agile transformation are new to agile, and little failures at the beginning can lead them to run...


Why Bother? Purpose Drives Creative People to Minimize Distraction, Recruit Buddies, and Build Success

Our clumsiness in life creates most of our suffering. We haven't practiced the skills we need to be happy. We don’t see what’s going on around us. We don’t see the causes early enough to prevent a train-wreck in work or life. And when we don’t know how to distinguish truth from delusion, well that leads to a world of hurt. But if we don't have a purpose, should we or anyone else care that we mess up? Mindfulness skills help us reduce the dumb stuff we do to ourselves. When we get more...


The OODA loop: Learn faster and smarter while slowing down impediments. An American military strategist used OODA to beat enemies in war. OODA can help you succeed with peace of mind.

The faster and better we take action against impediments, the more successful we'll be, according to renowned military strategist John Boyd, developer of the OODA Loop. The OODA loop is observe, orient, decide and act. It’s how we take action in new situations and succeed. In this episode of the Mindful Agility podcast, Tom Looy explores how John Boyd used the OODA Loop to help fighter jet pilots, and ultimately whole military campaigns, succeed against enemies. You can use it in your own...


Failure in Dublin: Matt Learns Lessons the Hard and Fast Way, through Experiments

When we fail, we can easily fall into anxiety, guilt, or depression. But failure can lead us toward success. A simple Google search reveals many famous people discuss their failures and subsequent successes. We can succeed through failure, too! In this episode of the Mindful Agility podcast, Mirela Petalli, Matthew Zimmerman, Dan Dickson and Dan Greening discuss an episode of Matt's life. He moved to Ireland, thinking it would solve all his problems, and discovered: Nope. But through that...


Wine Store: The pandemic compels old school Manhattan store to modernize to retain market. Can mindfulness and agile get Dan Dickson unstuck?

People around us need help. Our inclination is to rush in, fix the problem, and rush out. After all we have stuff we need to do, ourselves. But we can get stuck. And stay stuck. For months. Dan Dickson wanted his friend’s pet project, a wine store in Manhattan, to succeed. Dan had the skills to add online transactions to their web site. But, he didn’t want to get stuck doing all the work forever. Dan Dickson built the new site, and created the wine database structure. Because he didn’t...


Mindful Parenting: Christina Smith Shares How Agile Methods And Frequent Feedback Give Her Children The Tools They Need To Succeed

In this episode Christina Smith, a certified scrum master, shares how she started using scrum and mindfulness not only in her work, but also her parenting. Like most parents, Christina wants her children to lead happy and fulfilling lives, both now and when they are adults. She also needs them to take out the trash now and then too. Stressed with trying to be a perfect parent, Christina decided to experiment and apply the same techniques she uses as an agile scrum master at work to her...


Enjoy.com Crashes Into Reality, Bye Bye $500 Million: Ron Johnson confidence, venture capital fueled unsafe speed. Mindful Agility was too slow, cautious for their taste

In this third and final episode on fabled merchandiser, Ron Johnson, we discuss the startup Enjoy.com, which turned $500M of invested capital and goodwill into nothing. This was Johnson's second attempt as a CEO. What did he learn from that failure? How did it shape his new company? Your co-hosts, Dan Dickson and Dan Greening, bring perspectives of traditional and agile management, finance and technology, retail and service. We think our analysis demonstrates how you can make better choices...


Business on Fire Part II: Could Business Mindfulness Have Stopped the Failure of Steve Jobs' Protege Ron Johnson at JC Penney?

This is the second episode of a three-part series on fabled merchandiser, Ron Johnson, and how he failed to restore JC Penney to its former leadership in retailing. In this episode we're going to be talking very explicitly about business mindfulness and how it applies. If you want to understand "business mindfulness," this is the episode for you. If you'd like some background on scaling mindfulness, you'll like Episode 2 on self-similarity (our first full episode). If you'd like to hear our...


Business on Fire Part I: Steve Jobs protege Ron Johnson burns JC Penney cash fast as CEO

As an executive working for other CEOs, Ron Johnson succeeded wildly in redesigning Target stores and building Apple Stores from scratch. But then, as a CEO, Ron Johnson crashed and burned two later companies. Join Dan Dickson, a seasoned retail executive and Harvard Business School grad, and Dan Greening, co-host of Mindful Agility, as we talk about Ron Johnson's first failure, JC Penney. Major shifts in management practice arise in response to crises. Lean Manufacturing helped Toyota and...


Want lasting change? Label emotions

If we want lasting change, emotions may be our strongest opponent. When forced to change, people feel fear, rage, anxiety, and other emotions. Emotions are designed to satisfy basic needs: defend, fight, flight, reproduce. But when they overwhelm us, they shut down logic. They’re great when we’re suddenly confronted by a lion in the African savanna, we don’t have to take time to think. We just feel fear and run. But when building a strong family, or tackling some other tough, long-term...


Hand to mouth awareness: stop harmful habits and get a great smile

Nurse Heather's four year old son, Jack, likes to put his fingers in his mouth. But this can lead to dental problems in the future. She heard the episode about Matt learning to keep track of his keys, by noticing that he was setting them down and saying "I'm putting my keys on the counter." Heather wondered whether it could help her son. We also discover that Heather has bigger plans, involving her husband, and this was just a practice run. These last two episodes explore "noticing and...


You Lost Your Keys. Again?!

We all have hapless friends who would lose their head if it wasn't attached. Maybe we are that friend! Matt recently moved in with his girlfriend, Mirela Petalli (our co-host), and Matt realized losing his keys kept making them late. Can mindful agility help? Matt and Mirela worked together. Matt is familiar with Scrum, an agile technique; Mirela is familiar with mindfulness. Together they take us on an exploration of how mindfulness alone can help us get more done. When we bring in agile,...


Noah Rasheta: Fewer Expectations, More Success

Our stories provide a shorthand self, which gives us focus while the stories make sense, but they put our happiness at risk. If we imagine them to be complete and permanent we are doomed to suffer. When we release our attachment to our stories, we create freedom. Only through our actions will we transform ourselves and our world. The stories are only decorative. We talk with Noah Rasheta about the stories around him, as he lives a life with fewer attachments. We find out how we can avoid...


Noah Rasheta: The Entrepreneur Driving the School Bus

When we choose ambitious goals, we're going to create stories about them. But nothing lasts forever: our jobs, our achievements, our friends, our relationships... or our stories. If we attach our identities to ephemeral stories (and aren't all our stories ephemeral?), we will suffer. Noah Rasheta, the host of the Secular Buddhism podcast and author of three books on Buddhism, abandons the story he told himself and others, that he was a successful entrepreneur. He takes us on a journey of...


Iterations for Ukraine

The Russian war on Ukraine is in full force. The Mindful Agility co-hosts have ties to Eastern Europe. We are contending with our own reactivity, as we interact with others less familiar with the region. Our friend, Rob Coles, discusses how he employed an agile strategy to direct funds to individuals on the ground in Ukraine. He ran several iterations, adapting with each new discovery to send money more effectively. To understand the challenges ahead, we can employ compassion. There are...


95% Vegan, 100% Happy: Goals and Compassion

Today we're discussing goals, interdependence and compassion. Nurse Heather faced a challenge that the rest of us encounter. She had a goal that seemed incompatible with her family and environment. Our goals and our social environment often conflict. In our personal lives, if we want to stop smoking, focus more on studying, or lose weight, our family and friends can present big challenges. In our work lives, too, if we want to meet with teammates daily, get feedback weekly, or honestly...


Resolutions Just Humiliate Me: Goals and Reactivity

Improvement is hard enough, whether we're trying to fix a Fortune 100 company or quit smoking. Our reactivity can create unrealistic expectations and then encourage others to dictate our futures. Reactivity tells us to give up when our first attempts fall short. It tells us to feel guilty, which can sideline us further. Mindfulness meditation teaches us to harness those few seconds between our emotions and actions. It can push the pause button on our amygdalas and increase our likelihood of...


Zooming In and Out on Life: Self-Similarity

Many systems exhibit self-similarity. If you zoom in or out, you keep seeing similar patterns. Recognizing self-similarity can help us become more agile at different scales of our lives and work. We can discover new insights, even when our limited language and perspective gets in the way. Meditation is a big part of mindfulness. This episode experiment includes a guided meditation on the topic. Credits The sting separator sound used in this episode is a derivative of Swing beat 120...



Welcome to the Mindful Agility podcast. Mindfulness and agile can help you lead a more fulfilled life, at work and at home. Mindfulness practices help us gain insight and clarity, while agile practices help us forge new paths. We explore both. Support us Hosts Human References Academic References Staff Daniel GreeningMirela PetalliDan Dickson Links Mindful Agility web siteMindful Agility Community Facebook groupMindful Agility Youtube channel