It can be a scary word and yet it represents hope for the future.
Humans are all stuck in their present way of thinking and doing things. We need strong people who are challengers to expose a new way of thinking so we can evolve and change our bad habits and create new habits.
Forceful challenge can have a terrible impact if used as an ax to hack away at a way of thinking. Some of us come in swinging the big ax and strike down the status quo leaving a path of resentment. I believe we have all seen this at least once.
Good leaders understand that brute force is not always the path to change. “Do it my way or you are out!” I’ve heard that a few times throughout my career. It didn’t work leaving those leaders scratching their heads. “But, we have to change or perish! It is common sense.” Resistance to change trumps common sense every time … it is in our genes. So, it is how we challenge that can have the most impact for us to commit to change.
What if we take this big word, CHALLENGE, and strike the status quo with the power of a feather? What? Strike softly and plant a seed of ‘perspective’ in the minds of others. Nurture the seed and watch it blossom into insights so the “others” begin to challenge themselves and they influence others. What a powerful, yet subtle way to shift what we do and believe. Brute force is not always the answer and people’s habits do not respond well to it as we have all witnessed. Strike the mind with a feather of perspective. It is not as scary and let’s people gradually embrace change.
Challenge can be scary to some. It is important to know that. In the hands of a skilled leader, challenge can alter the status quo without leaving a path of destruction. The success of using challenge is in HOW the power of it is used. Use it wisely.