Challenge the Process

Do you recall hearing a young child ask you WHY about absolutely everything? Sometimes those “why’s” led to frustration and at other times they led to clarity. 

As we take a look at the Leadership Challenge we are zeroing in on Challenging the Process

One of the keys to successful leadership is developing the skill of thinking outside the box. When you are interacting with your team challenge them to ask 3 consecutive “why’s” to a single statement or assumption. 

When our oldest son was about 5 years old, he was very worried that the war in Afghanistan would end up in Canada and he wondered how we would be safe. My husband told him not to worry because it would never happen. This statement was not good enough for him. He countered with “how do you know that for sure, Dad?” to which my husband replied, “they don’t have a big enough army to come to Canada”. 

This answer too was not good enough because again, Linden asked, “What makes you so sure they won’t come here, even if their army is small? 

Now Jerome had to really think, because this was the 3rd “why”. 

Then a moment of parental genius hit him, “Linden, Afghanistan does not have an air force or a navy and there is a big ocean between us and them. They cannot get here in their tanks!” 

Three good asks challenged the assumption and got to the real answer for Linden that day. 

Apply this leadership principle when helping your team develop a strategy or a vision statement. For example, don’t just assume that because the plan worked last year that it will again be successful this year. 

Ask WHY, then ask it again and again. Maybe you will stick with the plan or you may develop a new direction! As you model critical thinking, your team will do the same.


By Krista Penner

Krista enjoys life with her family in Mission, BC. She is actively involved in Leadership Development for Fellowship Pacific and in that role is privileged to travel across BC helping churches develop leaders. When not speaking or writing, Krista loves to spend time in her kitchen. Cooking is a passion that she pursues, even reading cookbooks like they are novels! She is married to Jerome and together they share three great kids, Linden, Erika and Marty.

Fellowship Pacific