As the famed Charles Darwin coined the essence of this concept with his observation that the “fittest” of a species tend to be the ones who survive as when nature provides a “challenge“, they are the ones with the ability to “respond” and to do so successfully. Thus the ability to “respond” to a challenge allows them to play to the next level, as well as it validates the “challenge” itself. While many people may view the Darwinian approach to business a though one to swallow, it is reality and a critical aspect required to drive success via introducing (Darwinian) diversity into the business model.
However the Darwinian approach of “Challenge & Response” when brought into a social setting also brings with it both class and culture implications worth discussion as we explored in a prior post where we looked at “Checklists”. When a medical technician “challenges” the surgeon in a “do-confirm” fashion, instead of a valid “response”, hierarchical animosity kicks in to become an issue leading to a breakdown in the process. As social class models tend to contribute undue stress to the system which we will look at more in tomorrow’s post when we discuss implementation of such systems as to share the importance. As an installed “Challenge & Response” process such as this would have saved two Korean Airliners from crashing as well as played a positive role in the safety of the passengers of the ill fated US Air Ways flight which found its way to the Hudson.
Additionally if we analogize to the (Western) legal system(s), what we will see is that one is guilty until they prove themselves innocent, and yes for you Law & Order fans out there who are aching to correct to me by saying the American way is “You are innocent until proven guilty” is a false economy. As think about it this way, your charged with a crime and hauled in front of a judge and you have to make bond guilty or not. The next step is you’re then paraded in front of a magistrate or jury with pre-paid prosecutor accusing you of a misdeed and you have to pay for an attorney (the free ones are not free they are based upon your income in most cases), again guilty or not. So it is here that you MUST “respond” to the “challenge” to validate your innocents (case). As a failure to retort, and to do so “successfully” will mean application of “guilt” regardless of the actuality with the same reality existing in the business world.
Another aspect worth noting is the cultural acceptance of a “Challenge & Response” system we see the most common applications via acceptance in monochromatic cultures as the singular nature of task to response makes for a easier fit. As here imagine each has counter sequential tasks as there exists only one “challenge” with one corresponding “response”. Whereas in a “polychromatic” model, since there are several tasks occurring simultaneously alignment (matching the specific challenge to response) can become difficult and is often lost as the challenge phase is typically a “negative” action and runs counter intuitive to the archetypical “task” based model found in the action based “poly” cultures.
In summary, “Challenge & Response” is a critical success driver to validate the quality of a proposed action to yield the predicted outcome as all actions are taken based upon a desired future outcome. Yet the same success driver can be easily disabled by hierarchical animosities of working social norms…