Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Agile Coaches' Corner shares practical concepts in an approachable way. It is for agile practitioners and business leaders seeking expert advice on improving the way they work to achieve their desired outcomes. If you have a topic you'd like discussed, email it to, or tweet it with #agilethoughtpodcast.

Apr 5, 2019

This week, Dan Neumann is joined by Dr. Jeff Thompson. Jeff is the Executive Advisor and Chief Executive Officer Emeritus at Gundersen Health System as well as a pediatrician, author, and speaker on values-based leadership. His experience in leadership is extensive — with his role as CEO at Gundersen Health System for 14 years being especially remarkable. During his tenure at Gundersen Health System, they had been recognized across the country for their high-quality patient care.


In his book, Lead True: Live Your Values, Build Your People, Inspire Your Community, Jeff illustrates how a true leader puts their people, organization, and community first. In it, he has compiled stories from a diverse group of leaders who have employed values-based leadership and succeeded. These values greatly align with those of Dan’s in the Agile space.


In today’s episode, Jeff and Dan discuss values-based leadership and how important it is to incorporate in an organization. Jeff gives several deep lessons on excellence and how everyone within the organization can live and benefit through an organization’s values.


Key Takeaways

How to implement values-based leadership in an organization:

Make the values explicit and have the courage to speak them

Give staff clarity on what the organization is about, what you’re going to stand for, and what the purpose is

Use the value set as a means to show them how to get there

Make the purpose known (especially a purpose beyond the money)

Build a steady drumbeat of serving this purpose in a disciplined way

Jeff’s tips and strategies for achieving better alignment around an organization’s purpose and values:

Be really clear and consistent about the organization’s message (write it down and post it; make it very public)

Have the courage to say what the purpose is, what the mission is, and what the values are

Implement a code of conduct that applies to everyone in the organization

Follow through

Use a covenant (or “compact”) with staff and teams to help with alignment

Follow the principle: if it’s not O.K. for everybody, then it’s not O.K. for one

Manage influential people’s bad behavior to improve overall creativity, engagement, and decrease turnover

Benefits of a values-based leadership:

Once it gets going, this model can sustain itself

Improves the wellbeing of the community

Unleashes the talents and creativity of your organization

Encourages innovation by providing a structure that allows staff to act on their own

Encourages creativity, momentum, and excellence by providing a set of principles on how to treat each other


Mentioned in this Episode:

Dr. Jeff Thompson (LinkedIn)

Gundersen Health System

Lead True: Live Your Values, Build Your People, Inspire Your Community, by Jeff Thompson


Want to Learn More or Get in Touch?

Visit the website and catch up with all the episodes on!

Email your thoughts or suggestions to or Tweet @AgileThought using #AgileThoughtPodcast!