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Fiona Chang: Challenging the Process

As part of the Sophia Blackmore Leadership Programme, Fiona Chang from Secondary 3F delivered a speech on the importance of challenging the process. One must have the courage, commitment and wisdom to challenge the process and bring about positive change. Fiona believes that having this disposition will create a culture of continuous improvement in Fairfield. (This speech was delivered in April 2021 during morning assembly.) 

Fiona’s Speech

“Innovate. Change. Improve. Challenge the process.” Good morning Ms Chen, Vice Principals, teachers, and fellow Fairsians! I am Fiona Chang from Secondary 3F, a member of the Student Council. Today, I am here as part of the Sophia Blackmore Leadership Programme to share with you one of the five core practices from Kouzes and Posner’s Leadership Model: Challenge The Process.

‘Challenge’ is a verb that is commonly defined as the action of disputing the truth or validity of something, or the invitation to engage in a contest. This word carries the stereotypical idea of defiance, opposition and trial, which sounds anything but pleasant to the ears. However, if this is so, one may wonder: Why then would such a negative word be labelled as a leadership practice? If challenge is equivalent to questioning and confrontation, what else could this word possibly mean?

First and foremost, challenging the process does not mean starting a revolt or uprising of any kind! Rather, it means to recognise the need for improvement, and be willing to bring it up and duly act on it. 

As the 19th-century American Minister Henry Ward Beecher once said, “Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.” Everyone has their own flaws and shortcomings. However, each person offers their unique strengths and merits. Before thinking of change, one must first see the good in things they have been blessed with. The next time, before we complain about another faulty toilet lock or shaky desk, perhaps we should stop to think about what the school has already done in response to such problems. Not everything is picture-perfect and that is absolutely fine, because that is where recognising the need for change comes in!

We need to have the courage, commitment, candidness and a sincere heart to identify and let the relevant parties know about the things that need to be changed. An individual truly seeking change to enhance others’ lives must be courageous and determined in pursuing their aims. For example, we should make the effort to wipe down the area we occupy before leaving the space, and pick up and throw any litter into the rubbish bin, even if it isn’t our own. Change can happen anywhere and everywhere around us, as long as we recognise the need for change!

Last but not least, we must demonstrate the willingness to act. The wheels of successful and fruitful change can only be set into motion by an individual who is truly dedicated! As the saying goes, ‘When there's a will, there's a way’. All of us here can influence anyone to make changes and create new realities. 

Be appreciative of what we already have, envision great possibilities, and take charge of our future. With that, I have come to the end of my sharing. Thank you for listening and I hope you have a wondrous Wednesday ahead of you!