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Business Challenges

Last updated May 9, 2012
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One of the most liberating things about working as a business coach with fast growing businesses and not being an employee, is being able to honestly answer the question: "What do you think about...?"

So many times I see business owners asking their teams to 'challenge my thinking' only to see them be given the answer that the staff think that he wants to hear, and not those challenging comments that could set the business on a whole new, profitable journey.

In my network groups, supportive business challenges are the key to getting to the heart of the matter; the real thoughts, feelings, perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs. So, why does it work within my network groups but not in many workplaces?

Mostly it’s to do with fear: fear of jeopardising a career, fear of saying the wrong thing, fear of the unknown, fear embedded from a previous boss who ruled by fear. A reticence to be different, controversial, or to be seen as awkward, opinionated and disruptive.

But in many cases that is exactly what a boss needs to hear. To hear the un-thinkable, the strange, or controversial ideas. To know how people feel; their perceptions, their suggestions and their thoughts. So, how do you encourage your team to challenge you – always assuming that you want to be challenged?  If you don’t want to be challenged, stop reading now!

Here are my 5 hints to developing a challenge culture.

1. Next time you make a suggestion, for example, “let's create a new website”, sit back and assess what is happening within your team. Does everyone just go along with your suggestion? Does anyone ask you why you think that is a good idea?

2. If you get the ‘yes men’ approach,  everyone just blindly following your suggestion, then stop and ask them the question, “why do you think this is a good idea”? Or perhaps “what could we do instead?”

3. Surround yourself with diverse thinkers. If they do not exist within your business, then try outside instead, use your network. There are more hints on personal networks in my blog, Its Not What you Know

4. Make time to engage with your team, ask them questions, start a dialogue and soon their challenges will come forward!

5. Demonstrate that it is ‘safe’ to challenge you. Be considered in your response. Thank them for the contribution and follow-up with them afterwards. Do not under any circumstances belittle their contribution to anyone behind their back, it will soon find its way back to them and your challenging culture will be totally destroyed.

Very soon your ‘challenges’ will be followed by proactive suggestions from your staff. They will be willing to contribute and help you to build a better stronger and fitter business.

So many businesses have a wealth of talent internally - after all that's why you hired them. Tap into their knowledge, expertise and experience and you'll soon see a big positive difference in your business, just be open to their challenges.

I would love to hear how a challenge made a fantastic impact on your business.

Shirley Mansfield
Master Business Problem Solver

When you’re ready here are three ways I can help you build your business:

1. Follow me on X / LinkedIn and let me know the business challenges keeping you awake at night that you want to solve. Click here to email. Connect with me, The Business Planning Coach on Facebook and Instagram.

2. Grab a copy of my book The Grown-Up Business (paperback and Kindle). Get the tools and inspiration you need to go to the next level of wealth.

3. Work with me on your growth business to overcome the blockages, hurdles & problems that are holding you back. Join the community, email me with Let’s Get Started in the subject line or book a 30 Discovery Meeting using Calendly


“If you run a business, then buy this book. Not tomorrow, today!”
~ Sam Carpenter Work The System

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