How to Get Your Team to Embrace Challenger Thinking in 2022

Challenger Brands Think Bigger

In 2020, our founder and CMO Rahul Raj delivered a TEDX talk on Challenger Thinking. Within it, he elaborated on the mission that motivates our work at 5&Vine, the successes and misses that prompted its founding and how you can start to embrace your own Challenger Thinking to move the world forward.

“Life forced a lesson on me,” he said at the talk. “And the value of Challenger Thinking became clearer. Either be a Challenger today or be challenged tomorrow.”

While our process of embracing Challenger Thinking hasn’t changed since 2020, the world certainly has. So, with that in mind, we want to showcase some fresh talking points and inspirations to get your team to make the most of Challenger Thinking in 2022.

Use discomfort as your breeding ground for change

This point was one of the cruxes of Rahul’s TEDX talk and, especially after the events of the pandemic, rings even more true.

The last two years have shone a bright light on the world’s harsh realities and strict divides. Whether it’s social injustices when it comes to providing necessities or the realization that tough conversations needed to happen at work, looking at what makes you uncomfortable and then using that to instigate growth is a key part of Challenger Thinking.

“The next time you find yourself feeling uncomfortable with how things are, don’t ignore it,” Rahul said. “Take the time to feel uncomfortable, to be bothered – be that excess money on a meal plan, a narrow mandate from your employer, or that toxic culture – and let that feeling grow. Take the time to feel uncomfortable because that discomfort you feel is the breeding ground for Challenger Thinking.”

What, in your personal and professional life, makes you uncomfortable? How can your business use that and turn it into a force for good?

Start curating a Challenge network

We’ve talked at length about the importance of a Challenge network; a phrase coined by Adam Grant in his book “Think Again”. A Challenge network is a team of critics, outsiders, and creatives that you surround yourself with, and trust to push you on your opinions and question your assumptions.

It sits in line with our belief that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. So, in order to start thinking like a Challenger in 2022, you need to start curating a Challenge network.

Think carefully about who you spend your time with and how the rest of your teams operate. Who are they spending most of their time with? Could you start pairing individuals with those from other teams? Could you instigate social initiatives to kickstart unlikely but powerful Challenger conversations and collaborations?

Escape your silos

One of the worst things you can do as a Challenger is stay in your silo. In embracing Challenger thinking, make conscious steps to step outside of your comfort zone and remit.

Encourage your team to look at what other industries are doing and how the Challengers in those sectors are operating. If you’re a fashion brand looking at sustainability, look at how food and tech are dealing with it instead. If you’re a B2B brand, look at how B2C companies are talking.

Alternatively, bring outside voices into your organization. Host a weekly workshop exploring different cultures, competitors, or modes of thinking. Stage a debate, and invite your teams to get involved, offering their thoughts and opinions in an environment where people feel comfortable taking sides.

At 5&Vine we have a dedicated #ChallengersInTheWild Slack channel, where we share updates and developments from Challengers around the world we’re impressed with. It’s an inspirational, informational way to see what others are doing outside of our usual periphery.

Keep bringing it back to your mission

In the stress of busy periods, it can be easy to lose sight of why you’re here and why you’re in business. Here’s your friendly reminder that this isn’t about you.

If you’re a Challenger then you’re here to change something and take the future in a better, brighter direction. Make sure, in whatever you do, you bring it back to your mission.

Offer your team constant updates on the global situation of the problem you’re trying to solve. Similarly, celebrate their wins, and try to quantify how far they and your business have come.


Ready to challenge the
status quo and win?

👋 I'm Rahul, founder and CMO at 5&Vine. Reach out to schedule an intro call about your marketing challenges and let's assess how 5&Vine can help your brand win.

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