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Organisational Learning Method – Setting Challenges

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Setting Challenges can push employees to new heights and inspire them to do amazing things. “Challenge” in the workplace context refers to stretch learning that is relevant to the employee’s job which seems impossible at the beginning but still achievable.

There are 2 types of challenges:

Vertical Challenges which align with current activities, organizational goals or business processes.

Horizontal Challenges which involve taking on different responsibilities, developing new processes or products; expanding the organization outward in some way.

The focus of this workplace learning method is to introduce the steps to achieving an example of a Vertical Challenge.

  1. Manager works with employees to set challenges.
  2. Make challenges more fundamentally rewarding by helping employees find purpose in their work.
  3. Assist employees to break down challenges into steps; set goals around each step and use small wins to drive progress.
  4. Praise staff for small wins.
  5. Focus on measuring progress rather than indication of success/failure.
  6. Provide appropriate support for employees to accomplish the goals/challenges.
  7. Debrief and reflect with employees the process of working on the challenges.

  1. Organisation / management
    • An organisational culture in place to measure progress instead of punishing failure.
    • Provide sufficient tools, resources and guidance to help employees do their jobs. This includes technology, knowledge (including training and development), support and supplies.
  2. Workplace ‘trainer’
    • Communicate to employees the benefits and primary purpose of the challenges.
    • Link the challenges to employee’s values, emotional needs.
    • Support employees by giving them your time, encouragement and accountability for learning.
  3. Workplace ‘learner’
    • Understands that mistakes are an acceptable part of the learning curve and is willing to keep pushing forward even when faced with uncertainties.
    • Feels comfortable asking for help when needed.