Do you think concept of “challenge the process”, as discussed by the authors, should be reviewed from local perspectives as well? How will you handle the challenge the process in Nepalese organizations or businesses? Please explain.
This post was part of TyroCity discussion forum
Question asked by tshring_malla
Oldest comments (5)
Charles Townley in his write up titled ‘The innovation challenge: Transformational leadership in technological university libraries’ paraphrases Kouzes and Posner as follows. Experimentation is the bedrock of challenging the process. It involves three essential processes, creating incremental steps and small victories, learning from mistakes, and promoting psychological hardiness. Having the confidence to change is a key requirement for experimentation. By breaking change into small steps that build on each other, changes that look impossible can be accomplished over time. And as success builds on success, staff confidence grows and the probability of success increases. (Townley, 2009)
Thus challenging the process is more about finding new opportunities and extending the horizon of what was previously perceived to be limited or impossible in an organizational environment bringing more possibilities of growth. This concept is in dire need for implementation in the review of our local perspectives. We usually tend to hear ‘I don’t know. It has been this way for a long time’ a lot. But saying this does not solve the underlining problem at hand and if we do not implement the process of challenging the status quo it will always remain the same.
Let us take the corruption culture here in Nepal. It is everywhere you go these days, it seems like no work can be achieved without a little cash under the table and yet it feels like a taboo to even talk about it in public. A weekly local newspaper article informs “That question is asked by all in the Himalayan nation—everyone from international visitors, who have to deal with bribe-taking officials right at Kathmandu’s international airport, to the helpless citizens of this country of approximately 30 million. (Republica, 2010)” The article further goes on to report, “In July 2009, Nepal’s anti-graft body, the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), came up with a smart idea to discourage staff at Kathmandu’s international airport from taking bribes. CIAA suggested top officials at the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) make “pocketless” pants mandatory for all staff.” Even with small challenges to the process it still has not been able to stop it.
Madhusudan Sharma Subedi, a lecturer on contract in at the Central Department of Sociology/ Anthropology, Kirtipur, in his article titled ‘Corruption In Nepal: An Anthropological Inquiry’ writes, “For at least a decade and more obtrusively in recent years, the problem of corruption has been at the center of the political agenda in Nepal. It is recognized as one of the chief causes of Nepal’s underdevelopment. (Subedi, 2006)” Corruption has weakened this country and it is can be found in all sectors from governmental to private to non-governmental organizations. With everything being accessible with money these days why would it not? Would you reject bribery if your family was in need of it? Why is your family’s need less than others? Some hard questions to answer before moving on to the philosophical side of the topic.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “If you want to change the world, start with yourself.” It is you that has to be starting point of change. Saying and doing are two very different things. Have you noticed it is very difficult to get a good job these days without a little support from someone in the inside? Or better yet any work in the government office will take you a serious amount of time as your application moves from one table to another with scrutiny written all over their faces. To quote Prithivi Narayan Shah, “Both received and giver of bribe is an enemy to the state” and so it is true. The question is can we take that door of ethical righteousness even if it hampers our and our family’s way of life.
I personally have fought shady transaction in my organization time and again facing the informal scrutiny of being the black sheep from a few. Financial guidelines of collecting tender and quotation has been set to curb unwanted behaviours that harm the company. I have stood fast in defending this aspect. But things that have been rooted deep and for a long time cannot be changed within a day and the work is tiresome. But this is a value I hold strongly. It is easy to challenge the process once you have your values straight and other know about it. But it is also impossible to be done alone. The best we can do is to challenge the process and show others that it can be done. “Remember, you can’t do it alone! You need to model Challenge the Process, and you need to create a climate where others can do the same. (Kouzes & Posner, 2003)”
Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2003). Model the Way. In b. P. Jim Kouzes, THE LEADERSHIP CHALLENG Workbook (p. 75). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Republica. (2010, March Sunday). Is corruption part of Nepali culture? myRepublica , p. 1.
Subedi, M. S. (2006). Corruption In Nepal: An Anthropological Inquiry. Semantic Scholar , p. 1.
Townley, C. (2009, June). The Innovation Challenge: Transformational Leadership in Technological University Libraries. Proceedings of the IATUL Conferences , 4. West Lafayette, Indiana, US: Proceedings of the IATUL Conferences. Retrieved from https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/do/search/?q=Charles%20T.%20Townley%20New%20Mexico%20State%20University%2C%20U.S.A.%20&start=0&context=119483&facet=
When existing processes are challenged, it gives rise to innovations. One of the primary characteristics of innovation is that they do not change from organization to organization and are closely related to the industrial context in which they occur (IOAN, PREDA, & MONICA , 2010). Questioning the pre-existing processes gives rise to new concepts, ideologies and methodologies. It paves a pathway for experimentation that could revolutionize the whole process. Leaders are unsatisfied if they realise that something is not going properly or there seems to be a problem in the pre-adapted way. Leaders are those who are brave to take risks. They are accountable for their actions, learn from their mistakes and take every opportunities as they come.
A developing country that Nepal is, there are lots of opportunities in Nepal. A lot of businesses have a chance of brewing as the country is moving towards stability. This is the prime time for the country to experiment and work on start-ups. And be it in local context or global, if the existing process is not challenged, then there would not be any changes. Things would rather get stagnant. Nepal is recently passing on to the new era and it is essential for experimentation and innovation to happen in this time to accelerate the country towards positive change.
However, there are not enough start-ups in Nepal currently. There is a trend of people migrating abroad either in search for employment or education. The families gladly spend lakhs of rupees to send their children abroad but are sceptical if they even think of starting something in Nepal and require 1/10th of the amount in comparison to the amount needed if they opt to move abroad. Mr. Niraj, realising this gap started Antarprerana in 2015. He saw that there were organizations that would help channelize Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) but they would have to be running for at least a couple of years and the annual turnover had to be quite high. But, there were no companies directly working to support start-ups that require little funding and are struggling to survive this critical phase.
In order to facilitate students who have brilliant ideas and want to do something in the country itself instead of going out, we collaborate with other colleges to support such aspiring entrepreneurs. They can work on their ideas without involving huge investments, make prototypes and test their ideas. College life is a crucial phase of life. One has lots of ideas and energy in this phase. I too had many ideas but in lack of such support, I dropped those ideas. Now, working with colleges, I along with my team help materialise innovative ideas and support the students; support that I couldn’t receive. I believe working in Nepal is the only way to help uplift the economic standard of our country.
IOAN, L., PREDA, G., & MONICA , B. (2010). A THEORETICAL APPROACH OF THE CONCEPT OF INNOVATION. 151-156.
A leader communicates a vision so that others will want to share it. The strong bonding among the team members only help leader to share his vision among the members. Their support only achieve to get into this vision. It is easier for the leader to imbibe the visions into their team and encourage them to reach the desired. Once the leader able to share his vision then their followers gain a sense of responsibility. When the responsibility could not achieve then the followers do not want make feel leaders low. This is why, the followers try to make his leader as a pillar strength for their company.
According to Nanus, 1992, vision describes some achievement or future state that the organization wants to accomplish. A vision has to be shared in order to do what it is meant to do, which is inspire, clarify and focus the work. It is not easy to achieve success if the company and his leader could not share their vision among the team members. The vision statement of the company should spell out in same understanding, feelings by all the team members. This would only goes right message to their suppliers, dealers, and customers.
For instance, we can take Steve Jobs as a charismatic leader who delivered his vision to their followers. He was an amazing salesperson and a master marketer. He continuously pushed his staffs to bring innovation in the product. And, for the process they believe in deep collaboration and cross pollination of their groups, this has help them in making innovative products in a way that others cannot. They have in listed the statement years ago and they are still on same vision, same effort, and collaboration to result every innovation on their product (Young, 1988).
Next, Lee Kuan Yew became transformed leader for developing the nation, Singapore. He was the man with clear vision and planned with deep conviction for the success story behind Singapore. He had able to share his vision of setting the nations to his team and the whole citizens. His in corrupt nature build the space to be in every individual heart of the citizens. His opened mind and enlightened view welcome the new strategy to develop the nations. He was the example of great leader with full of qualities (Lysa, 2002).
Lysa, H. (2002). The Lee Kuan Yew Story as Singapore’s History. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 33 (3), 545-557.
Nanus, B. (1992). Visionary Leadership: Creating a Compelling Sense of Direction for Your Organization . Jossey-Bass Inc., 350 Sansome Street, San Francisco, CA 94104-1310.
Young, J. S. (1988). Steve Jobs: The journey is the reward . Scott, Foresman.
Exemplary leaders challenge the process by searching for opportunities, experimenting, taking risks and learning from mistakes. All changes require that leaders actively seek ways to make things better, to grow, innovate and improve. The most talked about leaders are the ones who have shown radical departures from the past, done things that have never been done before and gone to places not discovered. The leaders who challenge the process tend to give importance on association, questioning, observing, experimenting and networking. The leaders having the tendency to challenge the process do not like the status quo, want to make something happen, want to change the way things are done and are proactive. They continuously think of ways to stand out from the crowd. Challenging the process starts from dissatisfaction and on the course of trying to change the existing practices, leaders become creators and innovators. But challenging the process does not refer to challenging the values and standards, attacking people with whom we disagree, dismantling what is not working for us and eliminating the elements that depict our personal incompetency. It is about finding and implementing new and better ways of doing things in order to constantly improve and grow.
In order to challenge the process, the leaders need to make something happen, encourage initiative in others, challenge with purpose, look outside of their experience, promote external and internal communication, look out for good ideas, treat every job as an adventure, build psychological hardiness, break down the complex tasks, profit from small wins, be an active learner, create a climate for learning and strengthen resilience. Understanding the phantom rules, creating a movement by trying something new and theory of the second responder also play vital role in the process (Kouzes & Posner, 2012).
Leadership is not about the power or position, it is about what the person in that power or position does. So no matter whether we talk about challenging the process in global context or local context, to be an effective leader the traits to be depicted are similar. However the things to be challenged and improved might be different depending on the socio-economic, political and cultural background of the locality. For example, be it the leader of Samsung or a small start-up company in Nepal, both aspire to improve and grow. Both of them want to keep up with the market, maintain financial stability, offer something new, add additional services/features and gain competitive advantage over other companies of similar nature. The processes both follow for achieving these are similar. The only difference is Samsung will do it on a higher level investing more money than the new company. So the concept is suitable in every perspective with slight adjustments and modifications.
The way of handling the challenge the process in Nepalese organizations is similar to that of the organizations in other part of the world. First of all, the leader is not satisfied with something in the system and identifies what is to be changed and why. After that he needs to find out the ideas and actions that can be implemented to make the desired change happen. He has to gather related information and data to prove his point to his followers and make them realize why it is important to challenge the existing system. Since leader alone is not capable of bringing the change, the team then take the risk to add something new or modify the existing system. Let us take example of Kulman Ghishing. While others were busy complaining about the hours long power cut every day, he chose to act instead of complaining and accepting the things as they were. He rose his voice against the corruption going in the system and with the support of the people with similar thoughts and desire to do something remarkable, he was successful in reducing the power cut from 18 hours a day to almost zero. The process of change follows the same pattern everywhere. Relating to the context of Nepal, gap between policies and implementations, weak political governance, poor service delivery mechanism, absence of performance oriented work culture, dysfunctional behavior and emergence of the new interest groups may create problem in the process but the leaders need to prepare themselves for the possible risks that may arise due to this situations and rise above them.
Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2012). The Leadership Challenge. London: A Wiley Imprint.
I believe that the concept of “challenge the process” should also be reviewed from the local perceptive along with the way how it’s discussed by the authors. As the core values and beliefs might be same for either, things differ with a change in field. Moving from a western industrialized country to developing country, the dynamics change and so does the process in some way. Analyzing with the local perceptive in mind might give a different set of beliefs and methods to approach the situation. This can bring in long term results as it assists to approach and resolve situations with more confidence and self-belief. There’s always a different way of understanding “challenge the process” more deeply by researching into it which also makes the leadership development interesting throughout life span. While these research and studies are done, a foreign situation will be good and appropriate at times but you’re more likely to face the cases which other local companies might be facing so it’s better to also review the process from the local perceptive as well.
While talking about how I will handle the challenge the process aspect in Nepalese organization, let’s consider in the field of education. In nation where education only in a classroom settings is considered to be a standard, it’s a challenge to bring anything different but it can be revolutionized by digitalizing notes, books and alike with online access and also via smart phones. Digitalization of the video lectures adds more to what it has to offer. Adding further on to it, providing laptops and computers to rural village students with the addition of proper internet connection can change the entire proposition of how learning takes place around that part of the nation. That allows students to experience the technology while also acquiring knowledge from different sources around the globe. This all is something along the line of challenging the current process. Also, linking it further to what I want to do with a business venture is digitalize Nepal fully in money transactions with the use of e-wallet. The system we’ve in place right now is very limited but with what I envision, any supermarket or the one selling in a vegetable cart or the one in the gold shop or a street vendor; all of them can use the application to receive funds for what they sell and any people in general can pay for the service or product instantly (more so with the use of block chain technology). That simplifies the problem that Nepal faces in money transaction and bring more transparency as well. That’s something which has never been done fully and consists lots of challenges in the way. All those require the use of “challenge the process”.