Do you like a challenge?
Maybe you enjoy a new board game, a difficult piece of music, or a 2,000-piece jigsaw puzzle?
Do you like a challenge at work such as an eccentric client, an unexpected design issue, or a problematic employee?
If you are like me, the answer is yes and no. There are some challenges that I like to tackle and solve. And there are some challenges I’d rather not have on my plate.
In May 2018, I wrote about the problem of labeling your business as being a fast-paced and challenging work environment. The underlying topic at that time was about being in a self-caused challenging work environment.
There are work environments, however, that are challenging because the individual projects present interesting and unusual opportunities.
In my estimation, self-caused challenging work environments are a constant, day-in-day-out challenge that would wear out the most devoted workaholic.
Individual challenging opportunities, on the other hand, are jobs that have challenging opportunities that are mixed in with normal workday responsibilities.
Rise to the Challenge
As employers, we need employees who can rise to meet individual challenging opportunities.
Many employees say they want a challenge. What I interpret this to mean is that they want periods of challenging work that occasionally takes them out of the tedium a daily routine. They want the opportunity to use their minds to solve an interesting, solvable problem.
Your best and brightest employees, however, will demand these challenges. High performing employees need to be taken away from the stagnation of ordinary work. They want training along with the opportunity to display they have the skills to solve any challenge.
Employees who will rise to challenges don’t easily settle for just doing things well; they want them to be great.
Challenges for employees do not have to be only project or product related. Successful, progressive companies are continually challenging the conventions of their industries. They challenge their employees to not settle for the industry status quo but to look for ways to save costs, improve communications, and improve usability.
Keeping and Encouraging Challenges for Employees
Here are several ideas to keep in mind as you keep your employees challenged.
- See potential. In every difficult circumstance and for every standard convention exists the potential for greatness. We need to keep our eyes and minds open to possibilities and challenge our employees to see their work taking them beyond standard conventions.
- You are not alone. Encourage working together in teams within your company and throughout your industry. Challenge your employees to become part of the overall industry leadership that is looking for the next round of industry breakthroughs.
- Turn off the autopilot. Make sure your employees understand there are times when it is best to stick with the traditional methods to get work done. But, ask them to be open when someone suggests a new idea to an “old way.”
- Stay focused. You have a core business to run which is expected to be profitable. Your challenges to your employees are to make a difference ultimately on the bottom line. Be selective, but be willing to take on the risks with the most promise.
When taking on challenges, one of the pitfalls which must be overcome is worry. Concerns such as “Can I rise to this challenge?” “Will I be able to make a difference?” and “Am I smart enough to solve this dilemma?” often sabotage the potential for success.
I suggest you cast your cares to God. John 14:27 says.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
God is always with you. When it is your time to rise to a challenge, put your trust in God, use the gifts He has given to you, and be willing look for ways to solve interesting problems for the benefit of your company and God’s glory.