Everyone has unique knowledge and expertise of some kind that can help create value in a group setting. Sharing that knowledge is crucial in creating an effective challenge culture within an organization. The Barton International Group decided to dig a little deeper into what the challenge process really entails and how we can encourage appropriate challenges among our employees.

In order to have an effective challenge process, the following three things need to exist:

Humility: as the challenge process is being exercised, individual contributors need to be sure they are humble about the opinions they are offering. The challenge process is much like brainstorming in the sense that no idea is “wrong” but there are certain ideas that are better suited for any given situation. Members of a group should not be hurt if their ideas are not chosen and they should always be willing to speak up when they have something that they think will add value.

Ability to Listen: allow everybody to speak up and actively encourage productive discussion.

Respect: it is important to ensure every member is respecting the ideas and opinions of other group members throughout the challenge process.


Some things to avoid during the challenge process:

Keeping quiet if you do not have all of the facts to support your point of view. It is okay to throw out an idea even if you don’t have all of the information. It might spark someone else’s train of thought and could lead to very effective brainstorming.

Rejecting ideas in order to avoid accountability. Don’t reject an idea just because it will require a lot of work from you. Think about what will be most beneficial for the group as a whole and reach out if you think you will need help accomplishing your assigned tasks.