The Power of a Challenger Mindset

Viewed in Russell Reynolds

Russell Reynolds Associates, one of the world’s top five executive search firms, expanded its mission to include management consulting, and that expansion is reflected in a growing number of impressive and constructive reports, surveys, and articles that the firm now routinely releases.

Challengers explore unconventional ways

One of the more recent examples is this insightful December 10 article by the firm’s chief executive officer Constantine Alexandakis on the value and competitive edge companies obtain when they maintain a “challenger mindset “in which they are unafraid of reasonable risk and demonstrate a willingness to explore challenges in unconventional ways.

Challenge the status quo can lead to remarkable results

“Whether I am working to help improve the effectiveness of their leadership team or to find their next chief executive officer, I always strive to venture off the tried-and-true path, to bend the way people think, pushing them toward an unconventional approach,” Alexandakis writes. “Why? Because I have seen firsthand how challenging the status quo can lead to remarkable results.”

Alexandakis describes how bringing a challenger mindset to several  contemporary issues confronting today ’s companies would prove constructive.

Retention initiatives

Facing what he labels the “Great Resignation,” for example, he sees a strong case for creative approaches to employee retention. He cites Spanx CEO Sara Blakely, who “surprised her employees with first-class plane tickets anywhere in the world and $10,000” and Amazon, which “will kick off 2022 paying college tuition fees upfront for most of its 750,000 hourly employees.” The broader message is that, in this unconventional era of mounting employee retention challenges, unconventional solutions can prove fruitful.

Patience and Persistence

He also urges leaders and organizations to be patient and persistent as they pursue product or other solutions to their organizations or consumer demand. “Look at James Dyson, who developed more than 5,000 failed prototypes over 15 years in his attempt to build a better vacuum cleaner. Each obstacle and every failure brought him one step closer to success, and to the $9.4 billion he is worth today,” Alexandakis writes.

Challenger mindsets can be acquired

 “A challenger mindset does not have to be innate; it can most certainly be a learned virtue. Change you mindset, take risks, ask the difficult questions, and always come armed with solutions,” he concludes.

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