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Innovation: I Dare You to Read This

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By Robert Evans Wilson, Jr.

The next morning Schwab visited the same mill. He saw that the “6” had been erased by the second shift and a large number “7” written in its place. He returned to the mill again at the end of first shift, where he saw that the “7” had been replaced with a “10.” With a piece of chalk, Schwab started a lively competition that continued until that mill was producing more than any other.

This particular challenge worked because it pitted the esprit de corps of two teams against each other. I’m not sure that particular challenge would work today with the added burden of government regulations and union rules.

I also believe that a challenge does not stand alone as a motivator. There has to be something behind it. It may be pride, prestige, or fear that drives the need to overcome the obstacle.

Challenges are always obstacles whether it is an athletic, academic, intellectual, work-related, health-related, a personal goal or a personal tragedy. Sometimes the challenge is given by a boss, a team mate, a spouse, or simply the zeitgeist.

Many times a challenge will be issued with the following words: “I’ll bet you can’t…” or “I dare you to…”

A challenger draws a line in the sand and defies us to cross it. Hmmm, isn’t that what the game of American football is all about?

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