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Personal-best leadership experiences all begin with a challenge, a novel or difficult situation that requires a departure from the norm. Exemplary leaders don’t back away. In fact, they see these circumstances as opportunities to shake things up (or perhaps just corral the energy that already exists). They rise above the chaos and uncertainty to take the lead in changing the way things get done. Leaders turn the workplace into a learning laboratory. They question processes, systems, and strategies. And they engage and motivate people to travel on paths they’ve never been before.

There is a clear connection between challenge and change, and between challenge and being an effective leader. And to lead effectively, you must be willing to look outside your own experience for new ideas and possibilities, be willing to seize the initiative, and create an environment in which risk taking—and the inevitable mistakes that occur—are seen as opportunities for learning and growth. You must Challenge the Process.

Consider how you can put these six actions into practice, starting today!*

 Seek out challenging opportunities that test your own skills and abilities

 Challenge others around you to try out new and innovative ways to do their work

 Actively search for innovative ways to improve what you and your team do

 Ask “What can we learn?” when things don’t go as expected

 Identify measurable milestones that keep projects moving forward

 Take the initiative in anticipating and responding to change

The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® model that serves as the foundation of the internationally-acclaimed The Leadership Challenge® sets out the essential principles and behaviors that ongoing research continues to confirm lead to improved employee engagement, higher performing teams, and increased bottom-line results. Challenge the Process is one of The Five Practices that focuses on helping leaders spur innovation and positive change.


*Used with permission from The Leadership Challenge® ©James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, published by John Wiley & Sons. All rights reserved.

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