The challenger programme

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The challenger programme

STAS is no ordinary production company. For some years now, we have been operating with a flat rather than a hierarchical structure, which gives employees even more autonomy and decision-making power. We place our trust in our people because they know their trade and have sufficient experience to make well-informed decisions and take full responsibility for their work. Given the high level of autonomy, we launched the Challenger programme in 2018 to ensure that all employees can develop their full potential and are supported where necessary.

More than ever, we live in a VUCA world. VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity & Ambiguity) highlights the constantly changing nature of the world today. One crisis after another brings real challenges with lots of uncertainties, unseen complexity and ambiguity. To be able to respond smoothly and more flexibly as an organisation, STAS has switched to an innovative work organisation with a flat organisational structure. We rely on the expertise of our people, which makes self-managing teams possible.

Challenger?

To give our employees all the support they need to cope with VUCA, we’ve created challengers. These are employees who voluntarily invest their time to support their colleagues 1-on-1 in their growth and development as a person and as an employee. The challenger is a permanently assigned person based on their Insights profile (which reflects their communication preferences and style), always someone with a different expertise. This way, the challenger can give independent and unbiased advice and a low-threshold bond of trust can be created, as well as cross-functional knowledge sharing. The challenger is not only there to push your boundaries and pull you out of your comfort zone but is also there for informal chats. Things are not going well at home or at work? Talk to your challenger about it. Who knows, he or she might be able to give you a new perspective on the situation. Would you like to deepen your expertise in your job or expand your range of tasks but don't know how to get started? Your challenger can help you with all of this. This way, we give our employees all the space they need to further develop themselves and to prevent bore-out or burn-out.

How’s it going?

Every month, your challenger will check in on you and ask if you want to talk. Some challengers will literally plan a "how’s it going?" moment to hear how you are doing, others will choose a more active challenger-walk. These are moments when you can talk confidentially and informally about any subject. This is also the perfect opportunity to reflect on the past month(s): what have you achieved, what do you still want to do, what skills do you further want to develop? Everything can be mentioned and discussed. Your challenger will also help you to expose your strengths and blind spots. Only if you can identify both, you can play into and further develop them.

Every challenger at STAS takes a handful of challenges under their wings. But you can't just call yourself a challenger! Being a challenger requires a unique set of skills that not everyone possesses. Employees who are interested in becoming a challenger first have to follow some training courses where they learn a lot of people skills and do some self-reflection in order to be able to challenge their challenges as best as possible. When they have completed this training, they indicate whether they are still willing to take on the role of challenger. When this step is taken, the challenger gets annual training to sharpen their skillset.

Testimony of Pascale De Cooman – Marketing expert and Challenger:
“ I became a challenger because I wanted to pass on my positivity of 30 years and my love for STAS to others.”

The 5 golden rules

Based on scientific research by an expert in jobcrafting, 5 golden rules have been drawn up that challengers and challengees should always follow to get the most out of their collaboration:

  1. Work hard
    Never give up! We always strive to move forward.
     
  2. Full responsibility
    Everyone takes full responsibility for their actions. We especially emphasise the fact that things must be named. It is best not to bottle up feelings. Naming them will make them lose half their power. Discuss them with your challenger or the colleague who evoked the emotion and you will see it disappear like snow in the sun.
     
  3. Lead by example
    Challengers always lead by example. How can you expect your challengers to grow if their mentor doesn't?
     
  4. You = not me
    Never assume that the other person thinks the same way as you or that they have the same frame of reference. Everyone is unique and we must respect that.
     
  5. Real feedback, please!
    Research shows that most people overestimate how well they are doing. Therefore, we encourage feedback from all corners. Since STAS has a flat structure, feedback between colleagues is strongly encouraged. Only when you receive and accept honest feedback can you continue to grow.

A challenger in your corner

Together with your challenger you’ll set up a yearly action plan with concrete goals that will be tracked in an online platform. Your challenger provides you with the necessary tools to reach your goal(s) as efficiently as possible. This can take the form of coaching, training, mentoring, self-study, etc. However, feedback is crucial! Your challenger will challenge you to get the best out of your situation, but in the end, it is your own motivation and commitment that will be decisive in reaching your goals

Would you like to join our team and get support from your own challenger? Or would you like to become a challenger yourself? Then be sure to check out our vacancies! If you can't find what you are looking for, contact us and who knows, we might be able to help each other. 

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