All Blog Posts (227)

Do we measure what matters?

I have found myself thinking a lot recently about how I, and others measure achievement, and what feels like a disproportionate amount of value we place on some familiar and habitual ways of measuring success.  I am a reluctant participant in my own inquiry because I don’t want to feel so constrained by this and yet currently I most certainly am!

There are a number of…


Added by Clare Southall on June 8, 2016 at 14:00 — 1 Comment

Riding with purpose and fear

My friend and I travelled down to Dorset in the West Country last weekend.

Except we cycled there. And back. 

Starting in London, it was two days of pedalling through sleepy villages and lost lanes. The weather was glorious and the scenery was stunning.

Yet I mostly struggled to appreciate the views as I endured a roller coaster of hills and…


Added by Rowan Gray on June 8, 2016 at 10:30 — No Comments

The Artist's Bin

It was hard to imagine the business structure without his team there, their creation was based on the insight he was most proud of and couldn't let it go. We had admired his work over the years from a distance - he was one of those that the original Challenger research was based on. He is a little older now, a little greyer around the temples, a little more conservative in his dress, a…


Added by Khurshed Dehnugara on June 3, 2016 at 19:58 — No Comments

The Inadvertent Saboteur

I don’t know the origin of the expression ‘no single snowflake is responsible for the avalanche’ but I do know that I really like it as a metaphor for change. The idea that many tiny actions will eventually amount to transformation but you can never be sure which one will create critical mass, is very appealing to me because it mirrors what I see happening. It also suggests…


Added by Asher Rickayzen on May 27, 2016 at 18:00 — No Comments

Taming the ego

I’m tightly gripping my handlebars. My breath is laboured and I’m desperately watching the back wheel of the bicycle in front of me. 

Then without any warning the wheel surges ahead. I let out a groan. There’s a steep hill ahead and I know my friend is going to ‘attack’ the 12% gradient. 

I get out of my saddle and push hard through my pedals to bridge the gap…


Added by Rowan Gray on April 18, 2016 at 15:00 — No Comments

Being In A Relationship

‘Being in a relationship’.

 Four fairly innocuous words that can be interpreted in so many ways and mean so much to so many. In the business world we talk about relationships and in our Challenger work we talk about relationships. We believe that at the heart of high-performing teams is an investment in…


Added by Mandy Bennett on April 18, 2016 at 14:30 — No Comments

Shallow Breathing

We walk into the new section of the building, my footfall is definitely less heavy here, something has changed in the thickness of the floor covering, it is quiet here too, like we have closed the door on the real world of this business and entered some hallowed ground. I notice my breath is shallow and stuck at the top of my chest.

The two people we are here to meet…


Added by Khurshed Dehnugara on April 17, 2016 at 11:30 — No Comments


She already had tears in her eyes as she rose to explain to us what was going to happen next.  The day before we had walked out an hour early as a show of solidarity to fellow workers who had been suspended.  So now we had to sign a form ensuring we would not do that again.  It was Anne’s job to explain this and get us to sign.  We already knew we would not sign and so did she.  We already knew…


Added by Nick Mabey on March 8, 2016 at 7:30 — No Comments

Anger Over Fear

At first I felt very angry, they were having a go at me, my whole body was flushed with an enormous surge of emotion. My mind was trying to grab anything that would get me through this and everything in my body was ready for a fight.

Then I stopped and gave it a little longer. It may…


Added by Khurshed Dehnugara on February 15, 2016 at 13:27 — No Comments

Pussyfooters and Hammerers

When I was first introduced to the Confronting Model * by my colleague Claire Genkai Breeze many years ago I found it immediately helpful. Even without the need for any further explanation of the model, the way I had previously viewed confrontation was turned on its head when it was revealed to me that the etymology of the word ‘confronting’…


Added by Asher Rickayzen on February 9, 2016 at 19:00 — No Comments

Buried Light

Untitled. Over Iran, 2016

Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.‘ Jonathan Swift

I work with the invisible: oppression, power, love, creativity; the soul, perhaps even the spiritual. Working with the invisible has advantages – who could say that you don’t? – and…


Added by Paul Stanley on February 4, 2016 at 17:00 — No Comments

Finding my voice

A few weeks ago, at a conference closing dinner, I stood up and dutifully did my turn, reciting a Robert Burns poem to 150 people.  By the standards of my fellow Scots my performance was pretty poor, but the international audience that evening were none the wiser and seemed to enjoy it.  And while I was doing it I felt good.  Confident.  In control of my voice.  Me.




Added by Kenneth Hogg on February 2, 2016 at 20:30 — No Comments

Taking the plunge

I think you have to be a certain type of person to sign up to the Challenger Week.  Do you need to be open minded?  Definitely.  Prepared to question?  Yes.  A little devil may care?  Perhaps, for some.   Brave?  It helps. 

Maybe you read this and recognise yourself.  'Yes, that's me', you say.  Or perhaps you read this and feel a little nervous.  'Could I be like that?  Could…


Added by Ann Paul on January 20, 2016 at 10:30 — No Comments

What I learnt from Challenger Week

I would struggle to overstate the impact of my week at the 'Challenger Retreat' with Claire, Khurshed, Rowan and ten other leaders from the corporate and social enterprise space in November 2015.

My experience has provided me with a totally new level of capability and personal capacity for my work. It has been the most profound shift in my effectiveness in the…


Added by Michael Woodbury on January 20, 2016 at 10:00 — No Comments

Shedding the corporate armour

My business faced a period of unprecedented change in 2015.  

It was a year of dramatic cost cutting, pricing pressure, significant redundancies and morale was at the lowest ebb I had witnessed over the past 24 years. 

Three weeks before the Christmas break, with multiple year end appraisals and personal objectives to complete, I decided to take a week out of…


Added by Jason Gubb on January 19, 2016 at 18:00 — 1 Comment

A new energy

I started my leadership journey many years ago, maybe as many as 20 (gulp), when I realised to make a difference within healthcare I had to enthuse others, influence beyond my own boundaries and start to really challenge myself, my colleagues and other departments to work together to deliver better, more joined up care.

I recall attending my first NHS leadership course at the time…


Added by janice preston on January 19, 2016 at 17:30 — No Comments

A Further Inquiry into Hope

  “Hope has two beautiful daughters – their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.”

This quotation attributed to St Augustine maybe centuries old, but it feels very relevant today given recent events in Paris, in Tunisia, over Egypt, in Syria and beyond. A BBC…


Added by Clare Southall on November 30, 2015 at 13:30 — No Comments

The Engagement Stand-off

Am I the only one who gets worried about the way employee engagement surveys are often handled? I have no argument at all with the need for employee engagement and the emphasis that is placed on it, but it seems that sometimes the surveys themselves become part of the problem. I can also understand the argument that if something is important then individual reward should be…


Added by Asher Rickayzen on November 19, 2015 at 15:30 — No Comments

Grappling with Despair

I took the family to see the latest Bond movie, Spectre, on Friday night.  The film divided opinion amongst us (as I believe it has done nationally).  Personally I thoroughly enjoyed it; there was a throwback feel to the Connery/Moore era where the humour was sharp, the sexual politics dubious, the plot ridiculous and the villains unequivocally evil. 

On the car…


Added by Nick Mabey on November 18, 2015 at 7:00 — 1 Comment

The Paradox of Risk

‘We need more innovation!’

It was our weekly sales meeting and we were clustered around the Head of Department’s desk to review new work in our pipeline.

The pipeline wasn’t looking bad, but it wasn’t great either. The Head of Department had joined the team a few years earlier with an entrepreneurial background and many great ideas for the future direction of our…


Added by Rowan Gray on October 14, 2015 at 14:00 — No Comments

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