Embrace the Power of a Challenge Network: A Must-Have for Every Leader

challenge network


I have recently starting creating peer support groups with my clients who share similarities in their work situations like working women with children and leaders of companies who want advice and support from other leaders.

We live in such a fast-paced and ever-changing business landscape and as a leader, you are not just responsible for guiding your team toward success but also for navigating personal challenges and uncertainties.

I believe to excel it is so helpful to have a support system that goes beyond your immediate team and colleagues. One key aspect that often goes overlooked is the importance of having a challenge network as highlighted in an article by Adam Grant, a leading organizational psychologist and professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

In this blog, I delve into why having a challenge network could be so helpful for you and how it can enhance your decision-making and leadership skills.

What Is a Challenge Network?

Before I dive into its importance, let’s clarify what a challenge network is.

A challenge network is a group of individuals who provide critical feedback, diverse perspectives, and unconventional ideas to to help you with whatever you may be struggling with.

Unlike mentors or advisors, whose primary role is to guide and support, the challenge network’s purpose is to question and challenge your assumptions and decisions. This network typically comprises people from various backgrounds, industries, and expertise areas, ensuring a wide array of perspectives and insights.

One of my challenge groups of corporate leaders and entrepreneurs has women of all races working in technology, fashion, banking and the art world.

The Importance of a Challenge Network

Avoiding Groupthink
One of the most significant advantages of a challenge network is its ability to prevent groupthink within a leadership team.

Groupthink often occurs when individuals conform to the prevailing opinions or attitudes within a group, leading to routine decision making.

Having a challenge network outside your immediate team encourages you to consider alternative viewpoints and ideas, reducing the risk of making biased or flawed decisions.

Enhancing Decision-Making
A challenge network exposes you to a broader range of perspectives and potential pitfalls you might not have otherwise considered. This diverse input helps you make more informed and balanced decisions, increasing the likelihood of success.

Fostering Innovation
Innovation thrives on the clash of ideas and perspectives. A challenge network acts as a breeding ground for innovative solutions by bringing together people with different backgrounds and experiences. When you are exposed to fresh ideas and unconventional thinking, it can lead to groundbreaking innovations within your organization.

Personal Growth and Development
Leaders often need constructive criticism to improve their leadership skills. A challenge network provides a safe space for you to receive honest feedback and identify areas for growth. Constructive criticism, when delivered with care and respect, can be a powerful catalyst for personal and professional development.

This is also true in your personal life – it is important to get outside perspectives on parenting, relationships and dating from peers.

Building Resilience
Leadership is not without its challenges and setbacks, of course. A challenge network can offer emotional support and guidance during difficult times so you don’t need to feel so alone. Knowing that there are trusted and caring people who have faced similar challenges and overcome them can boost your confidence and determination.

Expanding Networks
Leaders with challenge networks have access to a broader network of professionals and experts for job searches, access to experts and other professionals. This expanded network can be invaluable when seeking advice, partnerships, or opportunities for collaboration outside your organization.

Creating Your Challenge Network

Building a challenge network requires intentional effort. Here are some steps you can take to establish and maintain your challenge network:

Identify Diverse Individuals: Seek out individuals from diverse backgrounds and industries who are willing to provide candid feedback and challenge your ideas.

Cultivate Relationships: Invest time in building and nurturing relationships with the members of your challenge network. Trust and open communication are essential.

Foster an Environment of Respect: Ensure that your challenge network feels comfortable offering dissenting opinions and feedback without fear of retribution.

Regularly Seek Input: Actively solicit feedback and input from your challenge network on important decisions and strategies.

Return the Favor: Remember that a challenge network is a two-way street. Be willing to provide your own insights and support when others in your network need it.


In the modern business world, leaders cannot afford to operate in isolation. The importance of a challenge network, as emphasized by Adam Grant and supported by and real-world examples, cannot be overstated. By cultivating such networks, you stand to gain diverse perspectives, improved decision-making abilities, personal growth, and enhanced resilience. Ultimately, a challenge network can become a cornerstone of effective leadership, guiding you through the complexities of today’s ever-changing professional landscape with confidence and success.

If you are interested in creating your own challenge network, I can help by introducing you to other potential members or facilitating the group.

Contact me by clicking the graphic below.


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