Adam Grant: Why every leader needs a challenge network

Adam Grant

It’s common for CEOs and business leaders to rely on support networks to address their challenges and pain points. However, according to organizational psychologist and New York Times bestseller author Adam Grant, these networks often consist of “cheerleaders” who only want to see the best in them.

Grant suggests that leaders look to “challenge networks” consisting of those who will critique their decisions thoughtfully. Challenge networks are not interested in seeing these leaders fail, but rather want to help by exposing blind spots. “If you’re a ‘Ted Lasso’ fan, they are the Roy Kents of the world,” he says.

Challenge networks can also assist leaders in mitigating internal biases by testing their long-held beliefs. They can assist CEOs in breaking free from “cognitive entrenchments,” which are assumptions that stem from experience but have become obstacles to decision-making.

Grant emphasizes the significance of challenge networks and how they can help leaders overcome inadvertent biases

Questions to consider from Grant:

  1. Who’s in your challenge network? Who are those disagreeable givers you can trust, and how do you give them the psychological safety to push you to challenge your assumptions?
  2. How do you build psychological safety to create a culture of thoughtful dissent in your organization, a place where people feel comfortable sharing their opinions and having healthy debates?

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Category: Leadership

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About the Author: Anne Petrik

As Vice President of Research for Vistage, Anne Petrik is instrumental in the creation of original thought leadership designed to inform the decision-making of CEOs of small and midsize businesses. These perspectives — shared through repo

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