Leadership and career

Challenge the Ordinary

By June 3, 2014 No Comments

Editor’s note: Conselium is delighted to announce that Linda Henman, executive coach and author of Landing in the Executive Chair, has published a new book. Our readers know her as a regular columnist, and we’re happy to share this message from Henman about her book, “Challenge the Ordinary: Why Revolutionary Companies Abandon Conventional Mindsets, Question Long-Held Assumptions, and Kill Their Sacred Cows.”

Today’s global economy leaves little room for error. It does not allow for mediocrity, the rules and players have changed, and “ordinary” simply won’t work anymore. If you don’t have the best products and services and the top people delivering them, your competitors will, and they will take their excellence all over the world.

Only those leaders who abandon conventional mindsets, challenge their own assumptions and kill their sacred cows can hope to survive and thrive in volatile global financial systems that continue to morph just as we start to understand them. These successful leaders will need to learn to live in harmony with complexity, speed, instability and ambiguity—to go beyond creating a competitive advantage to establishing an exceptional one. The economic clarion will call leaders to create a systematic approach that further distinguishes their companies from all others, both now and in the future.

Increasingly, organizations will depend on cutting-edge solutions to never-before-seen problems and clever ideas to relieve those recurring headaches that have always plagued them. Research indicates that traditionally a handful of star performers have created the vast majority of valuable ideas for their organizations. These top thinkers and performers will also define the talent that leaders will need moving forward.

These stars don’t shine independently, however. They are not free agents; rather, these highly talented, extraordinary thinkers need the structure of an organization and effective leadership to do their best work. But they also need new leadership strategies.

Leaders who aspire to lead exceptional organizations must set the right tone, make effective decisions and establish credibility—all daunting tasks. But as companies expand and grow, the skills that led to a leader’s success often won’t sustain further development in a more complex, higher-stakes environment. Few resources exist to help them, however.

Leaders frequently flounder in their attempts to create a competitive strategy, work with their Board and keep talent in their doors, all the while endeavoring to navigate the turbulent waters of leadership. They need history lessons to explain what has worked in the past, a compass to guide their journeys and a crystal ball to predict their futures.

Avoiding the pitfalls is a start, identifying a clear path for organizational success the next step. The two work in tandem: one the voice, the other the echo.

“Challenge the Ordinary: Why Revolutionary Companies Abandon Conventional Mindsets, Question Long-Held Assumptions, and Kill Their Sacred Cows” provides an amalgamation of what I have observed—and in many cases, helped create—in Fortune 500 companies, privately held firms, family-owned businesses and military organizations. This book also introduces new models for understanding exceptional leadership, stellar organization and the stars themselves. Leaders will use this book as a guide to what they must do to direct the strategy, make more effective decisions about driving the business and improve performance as only an exceptional leader can.


Dr. Linda Henman is one of those rare experts who can say she’s a coach, consultant, speaker, and author. For more than 30 years, she has worked with Fortune 500 Companies and small businesses that want to think strategically, grow dramatically, promote intelligently, and compete successfully today and tomorrow. Some of her clients include Emerson Electric, Boeing, Avon and Tyson Foods. She was one of eight experts who worked directly with John Tyson after his company’s acquisition of International Beef Products, one of the most successful acquisitions of the twentieth century.

Linda holds a Ph.D. in organizational systems and two Master of Arts degrees in both interpersonal communication and organization development and a Bachelor of Science degree in communication. Whether coaching executives or members of the board, Linda offers clients coaching and consulting solutions that are pragmatic in their approach and sound in their foundation—all designed to create exceptional organizations.

She is the author of Landing in the Executive Chair: How to Excel in the Hot Seat , The Magnetic Boss: How to Become the Leader No One Wants to Leave, and contributing editor and author to Small Group Communication, among other works.

Dr. Henman can be reached at linda@henmanperformancegroup.com

Published by Conselium Executive Search, the global leader in compliance search.  

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