As a kid, being convinced to jump across a small stream was a dare, but being talked into jumping across a creek was a challenge. The wider the stream or creek, the more ability and effort came into play.
As a program leader, you should never accept a dare that involves either doing or avoiding something in regards to your program. Often, dares never play out according to plan – it’s chance versus probability. And, probability usually wins the day…and defeats any result the dare hoped to draw out.
Challenges, on the other hand, rely on a bevy of factors, tools and forethought to overcome an obstacle. Dares are usually aimed at an individual, while challenges can point to an individual, team, group, group within a group or an entire organization. Strength comes from the numbers. Because a challenge can always seek out help from a collective audience or stakeholder group.
Where sports programs usually struggle is with wrongly identifying, labeling or characterizing challenges. Challenges are fairly easy to identify – they’re either short or long-term impediments to improvement or higher achievement. With, of course, the added bonus of each possessing varying degrees of influence or difficulty.
This may sound confusing, but challenge your program to find real, needle-moving challenges. Then, dare the entire program to not step up to the challenge. Simple enough!