March 21

Why Challenging the Process Creates Opportunities for Success or Failure


A controversial story that dominated the headlines recently dealt with a professional athlete suggesting mistreatment by executive leadership due to an inability to bring his child to work. Yes…bring his child to work.

Dr. Jason Carthen: Children at Work

Family Values vs. Entitlement

In fact, rather than meet with leadership to determine an alternative to the new guidelines, or respect the decision, the player decided to retire as a show of solidarity to his family values. Unfortunately this type of approach will not end well for the player or the leadership.

Lack of Diplomacy Damages Relationship

You see, when a member of any team decides to engage in behavior that can be seen as undiplomatic or even selfish, it can create an undercurrent of conflict that must be addressed in order for the team to move forward or the leadership to maintain clarity of roles. In other words, the player announcing his retirement forced management’s hands.

Challenging the Process

At the end of the day, leaders are charged with leading in a way that is effective for the organization and fair to its followers; they must also create opportunities for followers to push past known limits by challenging the process. This challenging of the process creates opportunities to reach new levels of success due to the ability to adapt to situations while remaining open to a flexible leadership approach.

Long-Term Damage

In the sports controversy context, neither the player nor management engaged in a way that respected the idea of challenging the process. Therefore, even if a potential compromise is worked out, the dregs of perceived disrespect to the player by management will remain present and the tarnish of not being a team player will hang over the player’s head long after the controversy has passed. Sadly, this same dynamic of perceived disrespect and unresolved conflict happens in business offices every day across the world. The true growth edge for the leader is cultivating an environment where challenging the process is commonplace.

Point of Clarity Quote:

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.

― Helen Keller


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