Mindful Agility

Mindful Agility

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.


February 28, 2023 49 min

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, ...

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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 ...

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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 c...

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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 s...

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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 c...

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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 techn...

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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...

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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 E...

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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 aris...

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June 28, 2022 44 min

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 ...

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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 ...

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May 17, 2022 53 min

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 mindfu...

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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 l...

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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, th...

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March 15, 2022 27 min

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 th...

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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 t...

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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 ...

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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.

The sting separator sound used i...

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December 30, 2021 1 min

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. 

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  • Hosts

  • Mirela Petalli is a trained mindfu...
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