What is “choose to challenge”? Challenge as per the Webster dictionary is “the act of objection to something not being true, correct or accurate.” It can also be opposing the person in power. Moving from “impossible” to “I’m possible” is the act of challenging.
“Choose to challenge” is an initiative geared to instill pride in women, in the work we do and to enter industries that have been male-dominated.
In the case of organizations there are several practices that are followed as legacy systems. This challenge initiative helps to ask questions. One has to be courageous to step up and own the question and challenge the status quo. Status quo is the practice of following some practice due to historic practices.
In every organization, challenge is a critical element that determines the growth of the organization. The person who challenges displays fortitude in accomplishing tasks that will be forsaken by many. The risk is the reputation of the person who is objecting to the situation at hand.
The five most common problems for organizational challenges are
- Lack of clear direction/ strategy.
When there is a lack of clear direction in the organization, a high rate of attrition is seen in companies. Lots of people leave for another competitive organization. However barbaric it may sound, having a strong hold on the organization by the stakeholders helps in this regard.
- Difficulty blending multiple personalities and working styles.
When the organization is growing rapidly, they hire people from different backgrounds in order to allow inorganic growth. This creates problems when very highly talented people are put in the same room to come up with a solution.
- Poor communication
Lack of communication is a common problem in most areas. Having a common ground to get out of difficult situations is important for setting the stage for fruitful communication.
- Failure to develop key competencies and behaviours
As the organization grows, the need for people with different skill sets is crucial to meet the demands of meeting the rising skill.
- Lack of awareness.
Not every employee of the organization knows what the struggle is about. Developing soft skills to communicate your point of view is important to navigate difficult situations in the organization.
Before challenging, the challenger needs the following SWOT attributes clearly defined:
- Strengths – Know your strengths. It can be technical, soft skills, or communications skills. These are your positives and need to be flagged before raising an objection to the existing system of doing things.
- Weaknesses – What areas can be improved in the current state of affairs?
- Opportunities – Who are the people or situations that can help the growth of our argument?
- Threats – What are the problems that need to be addressed?
Only after listing your SWOT can you challenge other activities.
Growth comes from challenging the existing way of doing things. Change happens when challenge is introduced. The business organism grows by change.
Once you challenge a particular activity, the following would have been conquered:
- Face the Fear: This emotion is a defeating emotion, that needs to be weeded out from our personality. By overcoming fear you are stepping out of your comfort zone thereby creating growth in your personality. Tell yourself “I’m possible” not “impossible”.
- Know your Facts: You would know the facts completely.
- Overcome what-if situations: Change your mindset to success rather than failure.
- Overcome lack of focus: No more distractions in the act of completion.
- Throw out all the labels: Challenge all the “nay-sayers.”
Women L.E.A.D. Toastmasters encourages women leaders to challenge their environment and seek growth in the face of adversity.
And our pop-up workshop on Humor 101 will be hosted on April 7, 2021.
-written by Priya Shastri, VP of Membership, Women L.E.A.D. Toastmasters