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Extraordinary Leadership in Australia and New Zealand: The Five Practices that Create Great Workplaces by James M. Kouzes, Barry Z. Posner, Michael Bunting

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Chapter 4 Challenge the Process

LEADERS ARE NO STRANGERS to challenges. When we analysed the original set of personal-best leadership cases more than three decades ago, the first thing that struck us was that the situations people chose to discuss were those related to when they were challenged in very significant ways. It’s the same story today. The personal-best leadership cases are about triumphs over adversity, about departures from the past, about doing things that have never been done before, about going to places not yet discovered. They are all about challenge and change.

Leadership is never about ‘business as usual’. No-one ever made anything extraordinary happen by keeping things the way they’ve always been. Leaders take people to places they’ve never been before. They Challenge the Process. They search for opportunities by seizing the initiative and looking outward for innovative ways to improve, and experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from experience.

Leaders who Challenge the Process engage people effectively in the abundant opportunities that exist today to make things better for the future. Turbulence, change and uncertainty are real but not insurmountable. Leaders motivate others to conquer limitations. They inspire people to rise above the norm by constantly asking, ‘How can we do this better?’ They take initiative and accept the inevitable hiccups that come from taking risks because they view them as prospects for learning ...

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