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Challenging the status quo: 100 Mindsets of Challenger Leaders

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Ososim’s friend and partner, Khurshed Dehnugara has recently released a new book “100 Mindsets of Challenger Leaders”, co-written with fellow executive coach Claire Genkai Breeze.

We spoke to Khurshed and Claire to find out more about their new book and how leaders can positively challenge the status quo to take responsibility for change.

Khurshed, what led you and Claire to write this new book?

“We wrote our first challenger book “The Challenger Spirit – Organisations That Disturb The Status Quo” in 2011. Since then, we have had plenty of time to deepen our understanding of how our ideas worked for leaders and people who wanted to challenge the status quo in their businesses and institutions.

We realised that how people are being taught to think about work, leadership and change needs a radical shift. The root of this is cultivating a new mindset. Old mindsets coupled with new language just don’t create the organisations we need today. The two need to be authentically lined up. So, we wanted to create a book on challenger mindsets that was designed for today’s learners.”

Who is the book written for?

“The book is written for anyone who cares about the kind of organisation they are working in and is interested in how they can take responsibility for changing things from the inside out. It isn’t just for senior business leaders. The book can help anyone who wants to challenge any organisational or institutional frame, whether they are a senior leader or a recent graduate, work in an established multi-national corporation or a not-for-profit institution.”

What can readers expect from the book?

“The book is designed for bite-sized learning. Readers can dip in and out of the book, engaging with it for just a few minutes at a time. It is a support and a guide, like a ‘secret coach’ in your back pocket. Many of these mindsets are a direct challenge to the conventional way we react to situations in the workplace. These are mindsets to wake you up!

The content is all about supporting people in organisations at any level to take some accountability for the companies and institutions we work in. Change isn’t just the domain of senior leaders and consultants anymore. The organisations we have are a product of how we think and imagine them. When we start to think differently about our working habits, we can actually liberate our imagination to create companies and institutions that are fit for today and for tomorrow.

What challenging the status quo does require is a significant amount of courage. The book aims to help readers develop and express this courage. It might get messy, but that’s ok. As you question existing principles and disturb processes you are likely to cause some anxiety and disruption. Leading any change is largely experimental in nature. Failure should not be a source of shame but a source of learning and confidence-building. Perfection is fast recovery from imperfection! We want to empower people to not worry about endlessly proving whether something is the right way to go, but to dream big, start small, learn fast.”

How does it differ from the previous book you wrote together “The Challenger Spirit – Organisations That Disturb The Status Quo”?

“We wrote our first book nearly 10 years ago. 10 years on, we have changed, and the world has changed. Disruption has become the norm and the pace of change has accelerated further. There is much greater interest in change happening from the inside of business organisations – being led by internal activists who campaign for something to be different irrespective of where they sit in an organisation. Traditionally, change was top-led, with senior leaders directing employees towards a new vision of the future. Today, organisations are not responding in the same way. People are more resistant to being told what to do or when to change. They want more of a connection to the purpose and ideas of the organisation they work in and how they can take responsibility for change themselves.

At the heart of both books are some very simple principles. Challenging the status quo is about seeing, witnessing and disturbing the repetitive, stuck patterns of behaviour inside businesses. The principles of the challenger mindset have remained the same, we’re just communicating it in an even simpler, action-centred way.”

When is it available?

“The book is available now in paperback and on Kindle from Amazon.”

“A must read for anyone who wants to explore new territory in leadership and high performing teams.” Member of the Management Board, E.ON SE, Germany

“100 Mindsets of Challenger Leaders is a refreshing book, seeking to influence a new type of leadership that can bring effective change in complex organizations.” VP, Mars Inc., USA

Khurshed Dehnugara is a non-Executive Chairman at Ososim and leads Relume, a research and advisory firm working at the most senior levels of complex global organisations.

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