Developing Stronger Leaders , Leadership Development

Stretch Assignments that Develop Strategic, Interpersonal, and Personal Skills

stretch assignment plan

Given that most development occurs through experience (McCall, Lombardo, & Morrison, 1988), stretch assignments can provide a great vehicle for driving employee learning and/or leadership development. Stretch assignments are essentially short-term projects or assignments that provide unique and challenging experiences for the purpose of developing employee/leader skills and abilities. Although the use of on-the-job development is clearly on the rise, it is often applied without consideration of the necessary planning and support mechanisms.

The first thing to keep in mind if you’re thinking about leveraging stretch assignments for developmental purposes is the common-sense notion that different stretch assignments develop different abilities (e.g., public speaking skills cannot be developed through writing policy statements or crunching numbers). Because of this, it is important to first identify the specific skill(s) to be developed. Once you have a list of skills, the next step is to identify the available assignments that provide relevant exposure. This article will help you with this first critical stage of using stretch assignments – that is, thinking about competencies and identifying assignments. Below is a list of stretch assignments that have been shown to develop competence in the following three areas: strategic skills, interpersonal skills, or personal effectiveness.

If you would like to share this list, check out our reference guide which contains the same information in a PDF format.

Strategic Skills

These assignments will help develop competencies related to expanding one’s awareness of organizational functions and strategy ( e.g., coping with ambiguous situations, gaining a strategic perspective, influencing others, working with customers, problem solving )

  • Spend 3 days with clients and report back (presentation or written report)
  • Conduct a customer-needs analysis
  • Write a policy statement
  • Interview external stakeholders about their opinions of the organization
  • Analyze and compare a competitor’s product or service
  • Put together a presentation for a senior employee (i.e., supervisor or manager)
  • Evaluate a training program
  • Join a cross-functional team
  • Join work on a project that has been unsuccessful
  • Put together a task-force to solve a tough problem
  • Monitor a new product or service through its entire life cycle

Interpersonal Skills

These will help develop competencies that increase one’s effectiveness to work with and manage other employees or teams ( e.g., communication, listening, managing conflict, managing relationships, teamwork, negotiation, trust, approachability, delegation, leadership )

  • Lead a team meeting
  • Become a mentor to a new employee
  • Train a new employee in a particular skill
  • Represent team concerns to supervisor
  • Join a team that’s dealing with conflict
  • Negotiate a new customer contract
  • Take responsibility in resolving a team conflict
  • Troubleshoot a performance issue
  • Become a campus recruiter
  • Interview customers and report back
  • Work with a peer on a developmental opportunity
  • Delegate 2 tasks to a peer and ask him/her to delegate 2 to you

Personal Effectiveness

These are oriented around competencies most closely related to your performance and personal development ( e.g., organizing, planning, intellectual acumen, creativity, composure, time management, work/life balance, decision quality, customer service )

  • Help launch a new product or service
  • Re-launch a product or service that previously failed
  • Learn a new tool, process, or approach and give a presentation on it
  • Work with someone from another department on a tough issue
  • Handle a difficult negotiation with an internal or external client
  • Take on a project that others have failed in
  • Write a press release
  • Teach a seminar on an unfamiliar topic
  • Create a customer satisfaction survey
  • Take on a task that you do not like to do
  • Take on an employee’s tasks who is on vacation
  • Conduct interviews with employees on their work/life balance experience & present findings

Note: This list is informed by research presented in Lombardo & Eichinger’s (1989) book entitled “Eighty-eight assignments for development in place,” and Yost & Plunkett’s (2009) book entitled “Real time leadership development.” I highly recommend both books as resources for any organization that currently applies stretch assignments or plans to in the future.

Going Forward…

Going forward, keep in mind that this is only a single piece in effective use of stretch assignments for developmental purposes. There are a number of mechanisms that are critical for actually translating experience into learning and development. Employees who will be given stretch assignments need the active support ant participation of their supervisor before, during, and after:

  • Before – to meet with the employee and discuss what skills to develop, then chose a stretch assignment and identify learning goals
  • During – to give immediate feedback, support and encouragement, and provide access to resources (e.g., time to participate in assignments, introductions to other people who can provide guidance)
  • After – to reflect and debrief on what was learned during the assignment and how that can be applied to their current job or future development

Happy Development!

– Scontrino-Powell

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Stretch Assignments: What Are They and Is Your Employee Ready For One?

Picture of Michelle Bennett

Stretch assignments are a cornerstone of a strong employee development plan. A statement that is backed by a number of research studies. In one conducted by the Harvard Business Review of 823 executives, it was found that 71% of respondents said stretch assignments had the biggest impact on unleashing their potential. In another, this one conducted by Korn Ferry , stretch assignments were named the most valuable developmental experience, ahead of things like mentoring, classroom training, 360-degree assessments, and even exposure to senior leaders.

An intentional and strategic stretch assignment can go a long way in accelerating an employee’s development or supporting the trajectory of their career at your organization, though their success relies heavily on the one assigning the task - their leader.

In the following article, you will learn more about what stretch assignments are, what they are not, how to tell when an employee is ready for one, and more. Let’s begin.

What are Stretch Assignments?

While there are countless ways to define a stretch assignment, the following definition from BeLeaderly perfectly sums it up for the purposes of this article: “Stretch assignments are temporary, internal learning gigs that simultaneously offer an employee a chance to develop new skills while helping the organization solve a real business problem.”

Most commonly, stretch assignments are implemented to prepare an employee for an upcoming promotion, engage a high-performing employee, encourage skill development, or evaluate an employee’s level of interest or aptitude for another role.

As the name implies, stretch assignments mean they “stretch” or challenge an employee to think and act outside their comfort zone or day-to-day job. But what exactly makes a stretch assignment challenging ?

  • It presents employees with an unfamiliar challenge
  • It challenges an employee to create change
  • It gives an employee a high level of responsibility
  • It challenges an employee to work cross-functionally

At this point, it is important to define what stretch assignments are not. Stretch assignments are not a chance for you to hand off work you do not want to do. They should also not be what Korn Ferry calls “glass-cliff projects.” According to them, “stretch assignments and glass-cliff projects both involve some risk and often include crisis situations, but one is about building your skills and the other is about proving your worth, despite your many successes. One is encouraging; the other is an affront.”

Are you struggling to decide what to delegate and whom to delegate to? If so,  this guide will help!

4 Signs Your Employee Is Ready For a Stretch Assignment

Of course, there is a fine line between “stretching” or challenging an employee and overwhelming them. To help you distinguish if an employee is ready for and can handle a stretch assignment or not, here are a few key things to consider: 

  • Their Track Record An employee who is ready for a stretch assignment and can handle it will not only have a history of successful projects and good performance, but will have a track record of asking for help when they need it, respecting boundaries, proactively seeking learning opportunities, and taking accountability for their actions (whether good or bad). These behaviors show a level of discretion that is imperative to the success of a stretch assignment, where an employee is outside of their comfort zone.
  • Their Engagement According to Gallup , “engaged employees are highly involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplace. They are psychological ‘owners,’ drive high performance and innovation, and move the organization forward.” Whereas, “actively disengaged employees aren't just unhappy at work - they are resentful that their needs aren't being met and are acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers potentially undermine what their engaged coworkers accomplish.” Fortunately, stretch assignments are an ideal chance to further engage already engaged employees and those bordering on disengaged. You should be quite certain that the individual you will give the assignment to will see it as a positive opportunity and be willing to do their best work, not just because they have to, but because they want to.

An employee who has been given a stretch assignment is going to need your support more so than they would for their everyday job. Therefore, before you give a stretch assignment, be sure you have the availability and capacity to proactively support your employee from start to finish. 

  • Your Relationship Given the nature of stretch assignments, there is always a risk of failure and for some employees, failure is hard to handle even if it is a valuable learning experience. That is why it is so important to have a relationship built on trust before delegating a stretch assignment. Your employee needs to feel comfortable sharing their challenges and questions without fear of judgment, or else they might try to “go at it alone,” which is ultimately where people get themselves into trouble.

2 Major Things to Be Aware of With Stretch Assignments

  • Stretch Assignments Should Not Impede An Employee’s Day-to-Day Job As a leader, you need to closely monitor the progress of a stretch assignment, the well-being of your employee, and the health of their day-to-day roles and responsibilities. If your employee is suddenly working an exorbitant amount or is showing signs of burnout , then you need to be prepared to step in. While the stretch assignment is important, it should not put your employee's core roles and responsibilities , not to mention their wellbeing, at risk. If this becomes an issue, use it as a learning opportunity to help the employee identify their signs of burnout and set boundaries .
  • Stretch Assignments Need to be Fairly Distributed The unfortunate reality is stretch assignments are not always fairly distributed and accessible to all employees. This was highlighted in a study from BeLeaderly , which found that “women are less likely than men to receive challenging stretch assignments.” The report noted that “when stretch assignments are unclear, unadvertised, and unevenly offered, it makes women hesitate even more to pursue them. On the other hand, taking an open, equitable approach to stretch opportunities can create a thriving internal gig economy - one that’s accessible to all. This not only helps employees advance in the short term, but it can also set the course for diversifying, and therefore strengthening, your leadership ranks in the long term.” So, how can you ensure the distribution of stretch assignments is fair? According to a report by Catalyst , they recommend leaders link the distribution of stretch assignments to performance reviews, review the allocation of stretch assignments to ensure equitable distribution among women and equity-seeking groups, as well as consider providing new hires with a stretch assignment or assigning new hires to a team working on a stretch assignment. 

Employees who are given a stretch assignment will require more support, guidance, and encouragement than an average employee. Though the effort is well worth it as stretch assignments contribute to employee engagement, morale, satisfaction, productivity, and success, which in turn contributes to your success as their leader. It’s a win-win!

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Embracing Learning through Stretch Assignments: A Guide to Success

Stretch Assignments, Upskilling, Leadership Development

Industries now evolve 5 times faster than 5 years ago. With unrelenting change, adaptability is essential. McKinsey ( 2019) finds leaders exposed to 5+ functions and 3+ countries become 69% more change-ready. Harvard Business Review (2020) analysis shows broad experiences expand perspectives to envision transformation. Further studies show experiential learning opportunities directly enable greater agility—employees with wider skillsets adjust up to 40% quicker to disruptions.

This blog explores how "stretch assignments" and experiential learning are not just beneficial but essential for thriving in such a fast-paced environment. We delve into the intricacies of implementing successful stretch assignments and how they can be a key to not only surviving but excelling in today's ever-changing work world.

Stretch assignments are developmental projects that push people beyond their comfort zones. By tackling unfamiliar responsibilities, employees expand their skill sets and perspectives.

Stretch assignments are impactful for several reasons. They provide real-world practice, enhance problem-solving abilities, build resilience, boost engagement, and promote leadership skills. With continuous feedback and learning, employees progress in their careers and become better equipped to drive innovation.

9 key experiences that you should consider as stretch assignments:

Operational Delivery : Leading a project to enhance the efficiency of a critical production process.

Unfamiliar Environment : Taking a short-term role in a different department or geographical location.

People Management : Managing a cross-functional team on a high-profile project.

Global Remit : Overseeing a project with team members from multiple international offices.

Change Management : Leading an initiative to implement a new organisational structure.

Growth:  Developing and executing a plan to enter a new market.

Start-up:  Launching a new product line or service from scratch.

Turnaround : Revitalizing a struggling business unit or product.

Special Project : Managing a corporate social responsibility project with high visibility.

If you want to learn more about these key experiences, download our 9 Key Experiences to Develop Future-ready Leaders Handbook. Click here to download

The effectiveness of 'learning by doing' through stretch assignments critically depends on addressing 4 specific elements essential for success. This comprehensive guide explores these four elements, offering insights and practical strategies to maximise the benefits of learning through stretch assignments.

Element 1: Overcoming Organisational Resistance to Experiential Learning

One significant obstacle in implementing stretch assignments is overcoming organisational resistance to experiential learning. This resistance often stems from a lack of understanding of the practical benefits of 'learning by doing,' apprehension about the outcomes, or a preference for more traditional, structured learning methods such as classroom-based or e-learning modules. Overcoming resistance to stretch assignments requires a proactive and positive approach that emphasises educating and showcasing their tangible advantages, which can be achieved through securing management buy-in, effective internal communication of successes, and positioning HR as a facilitator of experiential learning opportunities:

Management Buy-In : Securing the active endorsement and support of top management for stretch assignments is essential. When leaders share their personal experiences with stretch assignments, they highlight their value in personal and organisational growth, effectively linking development with success.

Effective Internal Communication : Consistent communication about the successes and benefits of stretch assignments is critical. Showcasing stories of employee growth and their contributions to organisational objectives can help create a positive outlook towards experiential learning.

HR's Role in Facilitating Experiential Learning : The Human Resources department should be at the forefront of creating and implementing frameworks for experiential learning opportunities. Organising focus groups with senior leaders to discuss and share their experiences with major projects and stretch assignments not only reinforces the value of experiential learning but also serves as a powerful reminder of its effectiveness to the leadership team.

Element 2: Securing the Right Stretch Role

In the second element of our exploration into stretch assignments, we focus on the critical factors of ensuring that the stretch role that has been selected for an employee is right. This involves careful consideration of several key criteria, including aligning the role with both the individual's career path and the organisation's objectives, determining the optimal level of challenge to encourage growth without overwhelming, and clearly defining role objectives and expectations. By paying close attention to these factors, we can significantly enhance the effectiveness and impact of stretch assignments in employee development. It’s important to set employees up for success.

Let's delve into these critical success factors in more detail.

Firstly, Strategic Alignment: It is crucial to select stretch roles that align with the employee's career trajectory while contributing significantly to the organisation's objectives. This approach ensures the unlocking of potential with precision. When both individual and organisational goals are aligned to the stretch role, both the individual and the organisation are going to care more about making the assignment a success. 

Secondly, Optimal Challenge Level: The role should present an appropriate level of challenge, promoting autonomy and decision-making in employees. This balance fosters innovation and growth while ensuring the role remains achievable and the employee is not overstretched.

To determine if a role offers the right level of stretch, consider these aspects:

Employee’s Reaction and Confidence Level :

Observe the employee's initial reaction to the assignment. Signs of excessive anxiety or doubt may suggest the role is too challenging. In contrast, if they seem too comfortable or unchallenged, the role may not be challenging enough. The ideal stretch induces cautious optimism and an eagerness to embrace the challenge.

Past Performance and Learning Curve : Evaluate the employee’s historical performance and adaptability in similar contexts. If they have consistently managed slightly challenging tasks well, a more demanding assignment could be appropriate. On the other hand, if they have struggled with moderate challenges before, a more modest assignment would be advisable. The role should encourage them to utilise and expand upon their existing skills and knowledge.

Time and Effort Estimation : Assess the required time and effort for the assignment relative to the employee's current workload and abilities. A suitably challenging assignment should necessitate a substantial, yet manageable, increase in effort and time beyond their usual responsibilities. If the role demands an inordinate amount of time or effort well beyond the scope of their current position, it may be excessively challenging.

The final factor in securing the right role is Role Clarity: It is essential to clearly define the objectives and expectations of the stretch role. Regular check-ins and documented goals are vital for maintaining alignment and clarity, particularly in roles that are new or involve novel challenges. For those in the earlier stages of their career, roles with well-defined parameters often prove more successful as stretch assignments.

Element 3: Preparing the Employee for the Stretch Role

This third section is focused on providing employees with the essential preparation and support they need to successfully navigate and thrive in their stretch roles. The right preparation and support are crucial in ensuring the employee is not only ready but also set up for success in their stretch role. 

First, start with a skills assessment. Conducting a skills assessment is vital because it helps to identify the specific competencies an employee currently possesses and the areas where they may need further development. This assessment ensures that the employee is placed in a stretch role that is challenging yet achievable, aligning with their existing skills and potential for growth. By understanding their strengths and weaknesses, the assignment can be tailored to maximise learning and minimise the risk of failure, making the experience both developmental and beneficial for the individual and the organisation.

For high-stretch roles, it pays off to assess additional aspects to ensure the role is both safe and developmental. This can be done through a semi-structured interview. 

Additional aspects to assess include:

Assess the candidate's ability to adapt to new situations and learn quickly from experiences

Consider their level of emotional intelligence, including self-awareness, empathy, and ability to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically

Gauge their tolerance for ambiguity and change and their resilience in the face of challenges

Review their past performances, especially in challenging situations, to predict future potential and development areas

Understand their career goals and motivation to ensure alignment with the objectives of the stretch assignment

Secondly, providing comprehensive and balanced support with realistic goals is crucial in the preparation for a stretch role. This involves offering robust mentorship and guidance to help employees navigate new challenges they might encounter. Furthermore, it's important to set achievable, clearly defined goals that are in alignment with the employee's capabilities and the objectives of the stretch role.

Regular and constructive feedback is essential to aid in their development and to adjust goals as necessary. Encouraging a work-life balance is also key, especially considering the extra effort and time that a stretch role might require; this can be supported through flexible working conditions. Additionally, ensuring that employees have access to the necessary resources and training to develop skills and address knowledge gaps identified in the assessment is vital for their success and growth in the new role.

Finally, creating a safe-to-fail environment : Cultivate a culture where failure is viewed as a stepping stone to learning. Emotional support and recognition of efforts, irrespective of outcomes, are essential. Not every stretch project goes as well as expected, sometimes not through the fault of the employee but because the role has changed. 

Here are our top quick tips for creating a ‘safe to fail environment’ 

Have leaders publicly discuss their own early failures and career detours. Vulnerability from the top makes it psychologically safer.

Separate performance reviews from assignment-based development initiatives. Ensure stretch projects are evaluated independently from day-to-day job effectiveness.

Set explicit expectations that stretch initiatives likely only have a 60% probability of fully realizing the original intent. Frame them as learning journeys.

Build slack time into participant schedules - roughly 20% - for reflection and application of learning during experimental projects.

Establish formal mentorship check-ins for talent in stretch roles to discuss learnings separate from line managers.

Publicly celebrate examples of teams pivoting ambitious initiatives due to external variables rather than viewing them as failures.

Element 4: Recognising and Advancing Career through Stretch Assignments

The recognition of the efforts and learning gained from stretch assignments is vital in ensuring they are seen as valuable experiences. And so is the need to continue an employee’s development journey after the completion of the stretch assignment. 

Continuing an employee's development following a stretch assignment is crucial for several reasons. 

First, it maintains employee engagement by acknowledging and rewarding the extra effort and risks undertaken during the assignment. This recognition helps employees see the tangible benefits of their hard work.

Secondly, ongoing development is key to retaining talent. Without meaningful opportunities for further growth or new challenges post-assignment, employees, particularly those with high potential, might feel undervalued and consider leaving the organisation. This could lead to a loss of critical talent.

Furthermore, it's important for other employees and line managers in the organisation to see the value of taking developmental risks. When they observe that personal and professional growth leads to positive outcomes, it encourages a culture of development and risk-taking for the greater good of the organisation.

Finally, post-assignment development helps in leveraging the investment made in an employee's growth during the stretch assignment. Stretch assignments inherently involve risks, including the possibility of personal or organisational setbacks. However, when employees successfully navigate these challenges, they emerge with enhanced skills and experience. Effectively utilizing these new competencies not only benefits the individual but also contributes significantly to the organisation's growth and success.

At the end of a stretch assignment, it is vital, as a first step, to update the employee’s personal development plan to address outstanding development areas and to capture future career aspirations. This must include inclusion in succession planning to understand and prepare for future roles and responsibilities. As a next step, consideration must be given to the person’s next role. There may not always be the right follow-on role available for an employee who has completed a stretch assignment, however, there are other ways to keep them learning and to harness their new skills and experiences. 

Three ways to continue the development journey in the absence of an immediately suitable role:

Follow-Up Projects: Engage in subsequent projects that build on the skills and experiences gained. This can include cross-functional collaboration working on diverse projects to apply skills in different contexts.

Mentorship or Coaching: Work with a mentor or coach to actively work on any remaining development areas to smooth the way to a new role or promotion.

Networking: Actively facilitate networking with senior stakeholders to open doors to new roles and opportunities. This may include regular meetings with senior leaders or participation in senior leadership meetings. 

When effectively executed and supported, stretch assignments can serve as a catalyst for substantial growth, both for the individual and the organisation. The four essential elements to consider are embracing organisational change, selecting the appropriate stretch role, effectively preparing the employee, and acknowledging their efforts and the insights gained. This comprehensive approach maximises the benefits of learning through stretch assignments. It not only encourages personal development but also contributes to the overall success of the organisation, fostering an environment where continuous learning and adaptability are key.

Having explored the impactful nature of stretch assignments and the strategies for their successful implementation, it's vital to take the next step in advancing your leadership development. To deepen your understanding and enhance your capabilities, we encourage you to download our in-depth guide, '9 Key Experiences to Develop Future-Ready Leaders'.

Download your free copy now 

Not sure which key experience to dive into? Let fate decide! Spin the roulette and embrace the challenge that lands your way. It's a fun, exciting, and somewhat mysterious way to discover what your career might be missing.

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Stretch Assignment

Brandi M Fannell, Ph.D.

What Are Stretch Assignments?

Why are stretch assignments beneficial.

  • Catalyzes growth. These dynamic projects or tasks are designed to propel employees out of their comfort zones and catapult them into the realm of professional growth. By taking on unfamiliar responsibilities, employees are exposed to fresh challenges and opportunities to develop new skills and knowledge. It's like strapping a rocket to their career trajectory.
  • Supercharges engagement and motivation. We all know that engaged employees are the heart and soul of any thriving organization. Stretch assignments inject a much-needed dose of excitement and purpose into the work lives of your employees. By entrusting them with challenging projects, you're sending a clear message: We believe in you. Their commitment, initiative, and creativity skyrocket, resulting in a turbocharged organization firing on all cylinders.
  • Builds confidence and resilience. Stretch assignments give employees the perfect training ground for building confidence and resilience. As they conquer challenges and complete demanding projects, their sense of accomplishment skyrockets, boosting confidence levels and fueling a can-do attitude. Plus, the resilience developed through stretch assignments equips employees to navigate change and uncertainty with ease, making them valuable assets to your organization.

Types of Stretch Assignments

The skill-building extravaganza, the cross-functional adventure, the project of epic proportions, the innovation challenge, the client-facing expedition, how to implement stretch assignments in the workplace, step 1: align assignments with development goals, step 2: provide support and resources, step 3: set clear objectives and expectations, step 4: recognize and celebrate achievements, challenges associated with stretch assignments, challenge 1: the comfort zone conundrum.

  • Understand the employee's perspective. Recognize that employees may be hesitant to take on stretch assignments due to various reasons such as fear of failure, lack of confidence, or concerns about work-life balance. Take the time to listen and understand their concerns before addressing them.
  • Communicate the value . Clearly explain how the assignment can enhance their skill or broaden their experience and highlight the positive impact it can have on their career trajectory.
  • Provide support and resources. Assure employees that they will receive the necessary support, guidance, and resources to succeed in the stretch assignment. Offer training, mentorship, and coaching to help them build the skills and confidence required for the task. Reassure them that you are invested in their success.
  • Set realistic expectations .Ensure that employees understand the expectations and scope of the stretch assignment. Clearly define the goals, deliverables, and timelines involved. Break down the assignment into manageable steps and provide a roadmap for success. This will help alleviate concerns and make the assignment less daunting.

Challenge 2: Time and Resource Crunch

Challenge 3: skills gaps, challenge 4: balancing act, challenge 5: ensuring equity, evaluation and reflection, assess progress and outcomes, support reflection, refine and improve.

Brandi M Fannell, Ph.D.

Brandi M Fannell, Ph.D.

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Stretch Assignments 101: Maximize Opportunities for Growth With Thoughtful, Guided Supervision

Challenging workers with new assignments and responsibilities is good for both the employee and the employer. But it requires a well-considered process.

Stretch Assignments 101: Maximize Opportunities for Growth With Thoughtful, Guided Supervision

Stretch assignments are well understood to enhance individuals’ skills and experience. But how is it done right — without the career version of a pulled muscle?

The vice president of life sciences at Iterative Health , Laura Mantell, shared her methods and techniques for doing this safely and effectively. It starts with training the individual to give them technical proficiency as well as to give them self-confidence. She also advises assigning the employee a project area and client with whom that person is familiar. 

Provide close supervision and plenty of support at the beginning of the stretch assignment, tapering back as the trainee scores more points in the win column, said Mantell. And always offer support, even in the latter stages.

  Built In Boston spoke with Mantell to discover how Iterative Health is able to attract some of the best talent because of this culture and approach to growing its people.  

stretch assignment plan

Iterative Health uses AI to transform gastroenterology treatment and improve patient outcomes.

Please share an example of when you extended a stretch assignment to a direct report. What was the assignment, and how did you know the individual was ready to take it on?

Recently, a member of my team had an opportunity to take on more of an active role in managing an important client relationship, which was a critical relationship for the business. This team member had spent several months getting to know more junior members of the client company and established a strong rapport with them, making him a trusted partner. The team member's diligence, thoughtfulness and high-quality work product clearly demonstrated that he was ready for more of a challenge. He met it head on, becoming a well-regarded partner across the client's organization, which led to continued success and growth today.

It was important to me that my teammate felt set up to succeed and grow individually.”

How do you ensure that team members are not overburdened by stretch assignments and are supported throughout its completion? 

In the previous example, it was important to me that my teammate felt supported throughout this stretch opportunity and that he was set up to succeed and grow individually. As a result, I worked closely with him — giving him space to run and manage the client with increasing independence and space while also providing feedback, answering questions, reviewing materials, etc. In this way, my team member was positioned to grow as a result of this opportunity, while also being able to learn from the team and those around them in the process.

How can managers make sure that they take a thoughtful approach to stretch assignments so that they lead to growth — and not stress — for their assignees?

In my experience, the best way for managers to stretch their employees without causing undue stress is to spend and invest significant time and training upfront, ensuring and building confidence that the team member can continue to grow with increasing independence. When done well I've seen team members be able to grow faster and with more autonomy as they feel well prepped and trusted by their team. 

I also believe that building trust is critical to this process. There needs to be a strong level of trust between manager and teammate so that the teammate feels that the manager has their back. Also, the manager knows the teammate can handle opportunities independently and doesn't feel the need to micromanage.

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by Shutterstock and Iterative Health

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The power and purpose of stretch assignments in career advancement

Diyaa Mani

By Diyaa Mani January 19, 2024

Updated March 4, 2024

What are stretch assignments?

Stuck in a career rut? Feel ready to push boundaries and expand your skill set? Or do you feel ready for more and need the right opportunity to prove it? Enter stretch assignments: challenging projects to propel individuals beyond their comfort zones and ignite career growth. They are professional boot camps offering opportunities to lead cross-functional teams, tackle complex problems, or master entirely new skills.

These aren't just resume fillers; they're springboards to professional advancement. Discover hidden talents, impress key stakeholders, and watch your career ascend. Embrace the learning curve, the inevitable stumbles, and the thrill of overcoming them. It's an investment in your professional future, with the potential to unlock your full potential and take your career to the next level.

Ready to dive deeper? This article will guide you to identify the perfect stretch assignments for you, navigate their challenges with poise, and leverage them for maximum career impact:

  • The power of stretch assignments: How they can help you get ahead in your career

The purpose of stretch assignments: How employers can use it to discover employee potential

Navigating the challenges of stretch assignments, fast-track your career with airswift, the power of stretch assignments : how they can help you get ahead in your career.

The power of stretch assignments lies in their ability to propel individuals beyond their comfort zones, acting as catalysts for continuous learning and growth.

These challenging projects develop new skills, boost confidence, enhance visibility, and open doors to unexpected career paths, ultimately shaping a dynamic and resilient professional journey.

Developing new skills and expertise

Learning new things is crucial for professional growth, and stretch assignments are like rocket fuel. These challenging tasks push you outside your comfort zone, forcing you to break free from your usual routine and pick up new skills.

Whether mastering a new software tool, leading a team on a project, or honing your communication skills, stretch assignments make you a more well-rounded professional.

Imagine an IT pro tackling a complex project with a diverse team. They conquer the technical aspects and learn essential project management skills like planning, budgeting, and delegation.

This experience broadens their skills, making them adaptable and ready for any challenge. By the end, they're not just technical whizzes but a well-equipped leader.

The benefits go beyond the individual. When employees learn and grow, the whole organisation thrives. A dynamic workforce with diverse skills and fresh perspectives sparks innovation and continuous improvement.

Those who embrace stretch assignments become valuable assets, bringing new ideas and approaches. This collective growth makes the organisation agile and competitive, able to navigate the ever-changing professional landscape.

Graphic with the quote: Stepping outside your comfort zone is how you truly grow. Stretch assignments are challenges disguised as opportunities for learning, self-discovery, and exceeding your own expectations." - Simon Sinek, Author of "Start with Why

Boosting confidence and growth mindset

Tackling challenging tasks is like dipping your toes into a chilly pool – it might be scary at first, but it can feel amazing on the other side. Stretch assignments are challenging projects that push you beyond your usual routine and comfort zone. But here's the thing: they're also powerful tools for building confidence and a growth mindset.

Imagine conquering a complex project you initially felt unsure about. That triumphant feeling? That's the confidence blooming! It's not just about mastering new skills for that specific project; it's about realising you can tackle anything you want.

Overcoming hurdles builds resilience and leaves you feeling like you can take on anything the professional world throws your way.

Stretch assignments are like personal cheerleaders for this way of thinking. They encourage you to see challenges as chances to learn and grow instead of walls to block progress.

Your talent and skills matter, sure, but renowned psychologist Carol Dweck says it's your approach that makes the difference. By embracing this, you will take a major step towards conquering career obstacles such as impostor syndrome .

So, always remember, with this combination of stretch assignments and a growth mindset, you're not just getting skilled up. You're developing a "can-do" attitude that keeps you learning and adapting.

Enhancing visibility and reputation

Taking on a challenging project at work can feel like stepping into the spotlight. Stretch assignments, often involving high-impact tasks or leadership roles, are your chance to show off your skills and make a big impression.

Imagine a marketing whiz leading a complex campaign. Everyone sees their talent in action as they navigate deadlines, budgets, and creative hurdles. Their success doesn't just boost their confidence; it gets noticed by colleagues, bosses, and even other departments. This "buzz" about their abilities opens doors to exciting opportunities: promotions, invitations to key meetings, you name it.

The more individuals tackle tough assignments and deliver results, the more they're seen as competent and proactive. This builds a strong reputation and paves the way for a brighter future within the company.

Completing a stretch assignment isn't just about learning new skills. It's about showcasing your potential and launching yourself towards the next level.

Discovering new career paths

Think of stretch assignments as stepping stones leading beyond your usual work routine. They're your chance to explore different corners of your field, like trying on different shoes to see which fit best. Working on cross-functional projects or tackling tasks outside your comfort zone gives you a taste of what different roles involve.

Imagine an engineer on a cross-functional project suddenly fascinated by product development. Who knew they had a hidden passion for turning ideas into things? This newfound exposure broadens their skills and opens their eyes to exciting career paths they have never considered before.

These discoveries can lead to some amazing things. Our engineer fired up about product development, might start seeking out roles that let them build and craft things. They might seek promotions, ask for projects that align with their new interest, or even create initiatives that blend their existing skills with their newfound passion.

Stretch assignments don't just expand your skillset; they can be the spark that ignites your career and leads you to something you truly love.

Businesses in today's dynamic landscape understand that their greatest asset is their products and their people. To nurture talent, unlock hidden potential, and build a workforce equipped for the future, forward-thinking employers are turning to a powerful tool: stretch assignments.

The purpose of stretch assignments is to transform employees into well-rounded professionals by immersing them in challenging tasks and fostering continuous learning, innovation, and leadership readiness—ultimately creating a workforce that is adaptable, creative, and prepared for the dynamic demands of the business world.

Let's delve deeper into how stretch assignments serve this critical purpose, transforming individuals and fuelling organisational success:

Investing in employee development

Smart companies know their greatest asset is their people. That's why they invest in stretch assignments – challenging tasks that push employees outside their comfort zones. It's like giving them a mini adventure to explore new skills and areas of their work.

Why? Because continuous learning and development are crucial for both the employee and the company. Employees who tackle tough challenges build new skills, gain confidence, and discover hidden talents. This makes them more adaptable and ready for anything the business world throws their way.

Graphic of a quote: The fastest way to get noticed and move up the ladder is to take on challenges beyond your current role. Stretch assignments make you stand out as someone who is proactive, capable, and ready for more." - Lori Loughlin, Founder of The Mentor Network

For the company, it's like building a stronger team. A diverse skillset across the board means the whole company is more flexible and able to handle change. It sparks creativity and innovation, helping them stay ahead of the competition in this fast-paced world.

Take companies like Google and IBM . They're champions of stretch assignments, and it shows. Their employees get to work on exciting projects, develop new skills, and explore different corners of their roles.

This makes them happier and more engaged and builds a culture of learning and adaptability that keeps the company thriving.

Fostering innovation and creativity

Stepping outside your comfort zone can feel scary, but it can also be incredibly creative. This is precisely what stretch assignments are about – pushing you to tackle new challenges and think outside the box.

Your brain must flex its creative muscles when you're not stuck in the usual routine. You start seeing problems from different angles and coming up with fresh solutions. Imagine a tech company bringing designers, engineers, and marketers together for a cross-functional project.

Suddenly, ideas are bouncing around like ping-pong balls! This clash of perspectives often leads to groundbreaking inventions, like a new gadget you never even knew you needed.

Hence, stretch assignments aren't just about learning new skills and sparking innovation. They create an environment where everyone feels encouraged to experiment and explore .

By stepping outside their comfort zones, individuals contribute to the company's success, discover hidden talents, and unleash their creative potential.

Preparing for future leadership roles

Thinking about taking the helm one day? Stretch assignments are like your leadership training ground . They let you test your skills on challenging projects, like a mid-level manager heading up a high-impact initiative.

Not only do you tackle tough problems, but you also learn to guide and inspire a team towards success. It's hands-on leadership experience preparing you for the captain's chair.

These challenging projects are like obstacle courses for your leadership skills. You'll face tough decisions, navigate uncertainty, and learn to bring your team together. It's like building a well-rounded toolbox for all things leadership, preparing you for bigger roles down the line.

Think of it as an audition for future leadership opportunities. Stretch assignments show your potential, letting everyone see your ability to handle pressure, make smart choices, and motivate others.

This real-world experience makes you a star team member and a potential future leader.

Cultivate your future leaders with Airswift's Global Employment and Mobility (GEM) ; we personalise your search for professionals to build your organisation's human capital pipeline.

Navigating the challenges of stretch assignments involves acknowledging common fears and imposter syndrome. Still, individuals can confidently tackle challenges and turn them into meaningful personal and professional development adventures by reframing these concerns as opportunities for learning and growth and building a strong support system with mentors and colleagues.

Overcoming fear and imposter syndrome

Taking on a big challenge can feel scary. You might worry about failing or feel like you're not good enough. These feelings are normal. Fear and "imposter syndrome" (that voice telling you you're a fraud) are common, but they don't have to stop you.

The key is to remember that stretch assignments are about learning, not just getting everything right. Think of them as adventures to explore new skills and areas of your work. So, instead of focusing on failure, focus on growth. Celebrate small wins and enjoy the journey!

Talking to others can also help. Mentors have been there before and can offer advice and support. They can share their stories about overcoming challenges and help you set realistic goals. Building a support network can make even the toughest stretch assignments feel manageable.

By facing your fears and reframing how you think about stretch assignments, you can turn them into opportunities for personal growth and confidence.

8 Tips to conquer imposter syndrome at work

Finding the right stretch assignment for your needs

Choosing the right stretch assignment is like finding the sweet spot between a comfy sofa and a cliffhanger. You want it to challenge you but not send you tumbling. And ideally, it should be something you're interested in, too.

Think about your skills , what you're good at, and what you'd like to learn. Then, look for projects that stretch those muscles without overwhelming you. Don't forget about your passions and long-term goals. Pick something that excites you and helps you move towards your dream career.

This way, the challenge won't just feel good; it'll feel meaningful. And if you can't find the perfect fit, don't be afraid to create it! Talk to colleagues, propose new ideas, and show your boss you're proactive.

Many companies have resources to help you find the right stretch assignment. Human resources might offer career development frameworks like maps for your professional journey. They can show you what skills you need for different roles and suggest projects that match your interests.

Mentors can be another great source of advice. They've been there, done that, and have the wisdom to guide you. Ask them about their career paths and see if they can suggest any stretch assignments that fit your goals.

By combining self-reflection, company resources, and mentorship, you can choose a stretch assignment that's both challenging and meaningful. Remember, it's not just about the destination but the journey of growth and discovery.

Building support systems

Taking on a big challenge can feel like scaling a mountain alone. But you don't have to do it by yourself! Having a support team by your side makes all the difference.

Think of your mentors as Sherpas, guiding you through unfamiliar terrain and sharing their wisdom. They've been there before and can help you navigate any tricky bits. Your colleagues are like your fellow climbers, lending a hand and sharing their perspectives. And your supervisor is the base camp, providing resources and motivating you.

Open communication is key. Talk to your team about your goals, worries, and successes. Mentors can offer advice, colleagues can bounce ideas around, and your supervisor can ensure everything aligns with the company's vision. This teamwork makes the climb way more enjoyable!

Smart companies set up mentorship programs where you can learn from experienced pros. They create peer networks where you can share and learn from each other. They ensure regular check-ins with your supervisor, so you always have someone to talk to and keep you on track.

With this robust support system, you can conquer any stretch assignment. Remember, you're not alone – your team is right there with you, cheering you on every step of the way.

In summary, the power and purpose of stretch assignments in career development are undeniable. These experiences offer many benefits, from skill development and boosted confidence to enhanced visibility and unexpected career paths. Despite the challenges, individuals are encouraged to embrace stretch assignments as opportunities for growth, learning, and career advancement .

As Eleanor Roosevelt aptly said, "Do one thing every day that scares you." Individuals genuinely step into their full potential through these challenges and achieve remarkable professional growth.

graphic shows 3 concentric circles labelled comfort zone, stretch zone, and growth zone. An arrow stretched between the comfort and stretch zones and growth zone representing stretch assignments

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3 Attributes of a Standout Stretch Assignment

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Cindy Pace would be the first to admit that she wasn’t always purposeful about lobbying for leadership roles. Now a global diversity and inclusion leader with one of the world’s largest insurance firms, Cindy says a career-defining defining moment arose at a previous company, when she was unexpectedly thrust into a highly visible leadership role.

When a colleague of Cindy’s became ill in the middle of planning a 200-person global conference, Cindy received an unexpected visit from her manager.

“My boss came into my office for one of those ‘put on your big girl pants’ conversations,” she recounts. “And she said, ‘Cindy, I need your help. I know that you’ve been contributing and influencing behind the scenes, but I need you to step up and lead this thing. Can you do it?’”

In that moment, though she was feeling somewhat terrified, Cindy had the self-awareness to realize, “ Someone sees the leader in me. I should be seeing the leader in me.” Cindy accepted the assignment, and the experiences and exposure that came with it changed everything: “It was a turning point in my career, and a turning point in me seeing myself as a leader.”

The Right Stretch Assignment Can Be Career-Making

Knowing that women are less likely to receive these opportunities than men , Be Leaderly launched a survey of 1,500 professionals to examine whether men and women differ in their perceptions of the enablers, challenges, and roadblocks that come with taking on a stretch. And under what conditions would they say yes to one? Our findings are published in the new research report, Out of the Comfort Zone: How women and men size up stretch assignments—and why leaders should care .

Our survey respondents agreed that it’s no small commitment, and gave us detailed insights into the criteria they consider before accepting one. If owning a high-profile assignment like Cindy’s excites you, here are three characteristics to look for in an ideal stretch opportunity, so that you can wholeheartedly go forth and crush it:

1. It Requires You to Be Bold Stretch assignments come with trade-offs. It can be risky to commit to high-stakes, highly visible work that adds to your workload. But consider the upside: the chance to develop new skills, discover new strengths, build influential networks, and make a meaningful contribution to your organization. “I ask myself, ‘Am I ready for change? Am I ready to be uncomfortable? Am I ready to make a mistake and learn from it?’” wrote one survey respondent, a woman working as a senior manager in consumer goods manufacturing.

2. It Spotlights Your Strengths The ideal stretch fuels your passions, plays to your strengths, and helps you make a much-needed business impact. “ I look for a complex challenge so that I can learn and grow, make impactful change, and prove my abilities,” summed up one woman, an individual contributor with ambitions to make her mark within a manufacturing conglomerate. Reflect on your career goals and whether this problem or business opportunity provides the types of new challenges you’d like to tackle.

3. Your Success Is Supported Before agreeing to or starting a challenging new assignment or role, consider the influence, resources, and support you’ll need to succeed. Don’t be afraid to negotiate the authority you’ll need. Line up influential allies to help you navigate office politics and back your decisions. One entry-level woman in the medical devices field told us she weighs the question, “Do I have a support system in place, including a manager and colleagues who agree that I am ready for the next step and who are confident in my abilities?” Want to connect with a bigger, bolder vision for your career? A well-chosen stretch assignment can be career-making. “See yourself as a leader now,” encourages Cindy. “Leadership is an action, not only a position. Raise your hand and proactively look for opportunities to lead or create those opportunities.”

Jo Miller.jpg

Jo Miller is CEO of Be Leaderly . Jo is dedicated to helping women around the world advance into positions of leadership and influence—especially in male-dominated industries, such as technology, finance, aerospace, and energy. Through her keynotes, workshops, and webinars , Jo shares the steps women can take to succeed. Globally, she delivers more than 70 presentations—often return engagements—each year to audiences of up to 1,200 women. Jo has spoken at women’s leadership conferences, professional associations, and to women’s networks for hundreds of organizations that include Abbott, Amazon, Bank of America, Boeing, BP, CenterPoint Energy, eBay, KPMG, Google, John Deere, Medtronic, Microsoft, Stryker, Department of Homeland Security, and Princeton University. She has spoken in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East.

To reach emerging women leaders anywhere in the world, Jo founded a popular webinar series that blends leadership skills training with access to live conversations with senior executive women leaders. Now subscribed to by 28 corporate member organizations, the webinars are viewed by participants in 900 locations in eighteen countries.

Jo is a Forbes contributor and co-author of the research report, Out of the Comfort Zone: How women and men size up stretch assignments — and why leaders should care . Her book will be published by McGraw-Hill in 2019.

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Expand Your Horizons by Taking on Stretch Assignments

stretch assignment plan

By DeVry University

November 18, 2021 5 min read

There's a reason why almost every video game has increasing levels of difficulties: to keep gamers at the edge of their seat, excited and curious about the challenges that lie ahead. No matter what their goals and ambitions are, people tend to crave adventure and new hurdles to overcome.

That's also the reason why taking on stretch assignments has become a new and appealing strategy for discovering new skills and abilities you never knew you had.

What Is a Stretch Assignment?

In its most basic sense, a stretch assignment is any kind of project or task that is beyond your current skill set or expertise. Usually, it can be a  short-term activity  or even a permanent venture into a new field that will provide you with challenging experiences meant to expand your growing list of abilities.

The keyword here is "stretch," which means that stretch assignments can extend your range of knowledge and help you unfold your hidden skills.

What Are the Benefits of Stretch Assignments?

Taking on a stretch assignment isn't just a step toward skill development — it's also a fun step toward individual progress and character development.

It Helps Build Up Your Resiliency in Tough Situations

Resiliency is that never-give-up attitude you need when you're in the middle of getting out of a tough situation. You can read books about grit and endurance, or even watch a documentary of a successful athlete who battled numerous injuries in his or her career. But there's no better way of improving your resiliency than being in a new environment filled with various hurdles to overcome.

Trying to overcome new challenges will help increase your resiliency level — even if there are times that lead to failure. The process is what counts, as acquiring new skills will get you out of your comfort zone and even help you build a new one. A stretch assignment will not just make the unfamiliar familiar to you, but it will also increase your endurance when another unexpected problem comes your way.

It Provides a Much-Needed Breather From the Routine

Nothing can exhaust you of your creativity and motivation more than being stuck in a routine where you do the same thing over and over for a long period of time. That is when we start to lose inspiration and the quality of our work decreases.

Stretch assignments will give you the chance to breathe in some fresh air and recharge your battery. After you finish a stretch assignment, you can go back to your original role, but this time you'll feel reenergized and inspired.

What Are Some Stretch Assignment Examples?

Stretch assignments can vary in type and duration, but here are some stretch assignment examples that may be found across different fields or industries:

Mentoring a Teammate or a New Member of the Group

Being great at what you do is one thing, but teaching someone to also be great at what you do takes another level of patience and commitment. Of course, it goes without saying that before you become a mentor, you have to become proficient in your own work first. It can take time — even years — to hone your skills.

When you become good at your job, and you know that you're ready for whatever challenges it might provide, then that knowledge will give you the confidence to be a mentor to a younger teammate or a new member of your group.

Assuming a Leadership Role

A stretch assignment can also help mold you into a great leader, as it doesn't just broaden your knowledge but can also  enhance your interpersonal skills . These interpersonal skills can help you relate more to your team and interact with them, which, in turn, may help them respond well to your brand of leadership.

It may help your development to observe and study great leaders who came before you. Developing leadership skills can take time, and you can learn a lot by following the lead of your manager or of those you admire. The important thing is to not cheat the process. Stay patient and committed, and pursue the opportunity to lead when you think you're ready.

How Will You Ask Your Manager to Give You a Stretch Assignment?

If you feel like you're ready to move out of your comfort zone and take the next step, here's how you can approach your manager to ask for a stretch assignment:

Make Sure That You're Ready

When you ask your manager or supervisor to give you a stretch assignment, make sure that you're mentally and emotionally ready to take on a new task that is beyond your expertise. Stretch assignments will not just expand your skillset, but they can also test your patience and level of commitment. You can’t quit when the situation gets tough.

Come Up With a Plan on How to Help the Team

Sure, you are willing to learn a new role, but how could that help the team or the company move forward? Stretch assignments may be one of the best ways to grow individually, but remember that it’s also important to be a valuable asset to the team. Back up your stretch assignment request by laying out the ways where you think your new role can help your team achieve more success in the near future.

Ready to Expand Your Skillset?

With many businesses adapting to the technology-driven world, the way people work has also changed. Don't worry though — DeVry University and its Keller Graduate School of Management are here to help you stay at the top of the world of business. Grow your skillset by enrolling in either our  Bachelor’s Degree in Business , which can be paired with one of four different specializations, or our  Master's of Business Administration (MBA) 1  program that you can earn in as few as 10 courses 2  and the option to choose from 10 specializations.

Find out more about how DeVry's business programs can help you develop and pursue your vision of leadership.

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Use Stretch Assignments to Get a Raise, a Promotion and Anything Else You Want at Work

stretch assignments

Want to uncover a bigger, bolder vision for your career than you can imagine today? Try taking on a stretch assignment — a project that can’t be completed using your current expertise.

A stretch opportunity could be a temporary assignment or project that you oversee for a few weeks or a few months. Or it could be taking on a new, permanent role that increases your scope.

Examples of stretch assignments include:

  • Delivering a presentation to a VIP client
  • Structuring and communicating a rollout for a key change
  • Leading the implementation of new tools to replace manual processes
  • Convening or serving on a task force created to solve a difficult problem
  • Relaunching an internal initiative that previously failed
  • Performing data analysis to find business efficiencies
  • Turning around a failing product or launching a new product

When you take on such an assignment, you’ll be compelled to develop new technical, business or leadership skills. As you engage in the process, you’ll build relationships with new stakeholders, and increase your visibility and your chances of earning a promotion or raise.

stretch assignments

Why Stretch Opportunities Can Be Career-making

“There’s now towering evidence to confirm the career-transforming power of stretch roles and stretch assignments,” says Jo Miller, CEO of Be Leaderly , a firm dedicated to helping organizations develop a pipeline of qualified and engaged emerging women leaders.

According to McKinsey & Company, people who get advice from managers about how to advance — and who then land stretch assignments — are more likely to to receive raises . Similar research from Korn Ferry names stretch or rotational assignments as the most valuable experiences for career development , ahead of action learning, mentoring, relationships, 360-degree assessments, exposure to more senior leaders and formal classroom training.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that stretch assignments provide so many benefits to individuals’ careers, men and women are not on a level playing field when it comes to those opportunities.

Women More Likely to Feel Unsure About Whether They’re Ready

Recently, Be Leaderly conducted a study on workers’ attitudes and experiences around stretch assignments . They found that both men and women have similar ambitions: both genders are equally interested in being promoted into director or vice president positions and ultimately advancing into C-suite roles.

stretch assignment plan

Yet, most women don’t feel their employers make it easy to gauge if they are ready for a promotion, while most men think their employers help them to know whether they are prepared to advance.

stretch assignment plan

Additionally, when women assess how ready they are for a new job, they are less likely than men to overestimate or “round up” their skills, and more likely to underestimate or “round down” what they know or can do.

What might account for these differences between male and female professionals?

Selena Rezvani — VP of Research at Be Leaderly and co-author of this report — suggests that “women may be more sensitive than men to social cues signaling readiness to advance. [So] when stretch opportunities are unclear, unadvertised and unevenly offered, it makes women hesitate even more to pursue them.”

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Most women don’t feel their employers make it easy to gauge if they are ready for a promotion, while most men think their employers help them to know whether they are prepared to advance.” quote=”Most women don’t feel their employers make it easy to gauge if they are ready for a promotion, while most men think their employers help them to know whether they are prepared to advance.”]

How Men Versus Women Evaluate Stretch Opportunities

For both genders, the top criteria for deciding whether to take a stretch assignment are having the influence to create a positive outcome, and getting an assignment that aligns with their career goals. Yet, men are 3.5 times more likely than women to cite pay as an important factor in evaluating the appeal of a new assignment, job or level!

9 Ways to Make the Most Out of Stretch Opportunities

How can you make the most of stretch opportunities at your organization, knowing that your organization might not advertise these assignments or provide clear clues as to how ready you are? Below are some key tips from some experts in the leadership development space, including the authors of Be Leaderly’s report on stretch assignments and others.

1. Chart Your course

If you understand your passions, innate strengths and the direction you want to take your career, it will be much easier to identify the stretches that make sense for you. What types of work do you naturally feel passionate about or gravitate toward? Look beyond your immediate role and identify those unmet needs in your organization that you have an interest in solving. Once you have ideas, find evidence to support why they would be helpful. Discuss your proposal with management and share why you’re excited about the part you could play.

2. Gather Your Own Data to Assess Your Readiness

Be proactive in assessing your own readiness to advance. Seek out clear, frequent feedback on your work — both formal and informal — that is tied to business outcomes. For example, send a survey to those who work with you and ask them for their perspective for your strengths and how you show up at work. Include questions to help you understand how others see you, such as “What three to five words would you use to describe me?,” “What’s a success or a big win I had in the last six months?” and “What one adjustment would you encourage me to make?.”

And here’s another important piece of advice from Selena: “If you’re a woman, aim to round up rather than round down your qualifications when deciding if you’ve got enough to go after a certain role or assignment.”

3. Trust in What You Already Know and Bring It Forth

You may have a hard time “rounding up” your qualifications because you feel that you haven’t learned enough or don’t know enough to tackle a new challenge. Tara Mohr, author of Playing Big and career coach to emerging women leaders, identified this as an issue for many of her female coaching clients. She believes that the reason women and men feel this way is because our experience in schools have taught us to value external knowledge over our own lived experiences and judgment.

Tara, in her book, points that in many schools, the dominant activity is absorbing information from the outside — whether from a book, a teacher’s lecture or the internet — and then internalizing it.

In school, most assignments follow this pattern: 1) do the readings/research, 2) absorb the information, 3) apply it through writing a paper/report/making a presentation. The message is that the value we have to contribute on a topic comes from information absorbed from an external source — from teachers, homework reading and research.

When we carry this sort of conditioning into our professional lives, we are led to believe that we need another qualification, degree or certificate before we can tackle a stretch assignment. But to reach our full potential, we must start to value who we are as much as what we know.

“Playing big often requires assessing what we already know, trusting its value and bringing it forth. This is particularly true as women advance to senior levels in their careers, where they need to be the source of ideas and of thought leadership,” says Tara.

4. Identify your champions and talk to them about your career goals

In addition to your manager, there are others in your organization who could become champions for you and refer you opportunities you may not be aware of. This group includes your manager’s manager, more senior colleagues from groups/teams you work with and staff from your HR team. Build relationships with these people, make sure they know your work and what you aspire to do. When they have this knowledge, they’re likely to have you in mind when an opportunity opens up.

5. Make informed decisions and ask for what you need to be successful

Don’t agree to do the extra work without the extra pay. Remember, men are 3.5 times as likely than women to cite pay as an important factor in evaluating the appeal of a new assignment, job or level.

Gather the details on what the new opportunity entails, including compensation, recognition and career options that a stretch might lead to. “Don’t be afraid to ask, ‘If I do an excellent job on this project, what can I expect as a result?” says Jo and Selena in their report.

Also, make sure you negotiate for what you need — resources, authority and support — to be successful in the role.

6. Take a Project No One Wants

stretch assignments

Some projects are shiny, cool and trendy (e.g. working with a hip new client). But what about the riskier assignments no one else wants? When you raise your hand for the assignment that makes others nervous or uncomfortable, it demonstrates your confidence in your abilities and commitment to your organization. These projects can give you the opportunity to prove yourself as a problem-solver, change agent or emerging leader.

7. Focus on Learning as Much as the Outcome

Don’t be quick to judge the gaps in your knowledge when you take on a new role or project. Embrace your newcomer status and find joy in your learning process. Think of yourself as a student of the problem you’re solving.

8. Translate the experience and spotlight what you accomplish

Did your new assignment help you develop new technical skills? Did you learn a better way of working with a group? Document your learnings so others know what you have gained from an assignment. Identify at least three actions you can take in your current role based on what you learned.

9. Market what you accomplish

Even if you knocked the project out of the park, it won’t mean much if no one knows what you’ve accomplished. “In your pre-deal negotiation, request that your stretch assignment be marketed internally. For example, ask that it serve as a best practice story and be shared on appropriate company channels, whether it’s via an internal newsletter, social network, or even in a brown-bag information session,” suggests Jo and Selena.

Tell Us What You Think

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4 Stretch Assignment Examples for Upskilling Your Workforce

Jocelyn Ho

There’s a reason why doctors and fitness experts encourage regular stretching. Doing so improves your performance, increases your range of motion, and builds flexibility. 

Likewise, employees can improve their performance and expand their skills when they stretch their abilities in the workplace. 

This can be done by taking on stretch assignments: projects or tasks that are beyond their current skill set or expertise. Stretch assignments play a critical role in upskilling programs by strengthening employees’ career prospects, enhancing performance in the workplace, and extending an individual’s range of knowledge.

Here are several types of stretch assignments you can assign employees to help them upskill for career development and internal mobility :

  • Teaching a class or developing a course
  • Leading or working on a cross-functional project
  • Coaching or mentoring a teammate 

Sound interesting? Next we'll jump into more detail on each type of stretch assignment and what kinds of skills they help employees develop.

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1. Ask subject-matter experts to teach peers

The protégé effect states that the best way for a person to learn is to teach. Therefore, empowering your internal subject matter experts to teach a class or create a course allows them to refresh existing knowledge and learn new skills in the process.

These employees learn how to better communicate their thoughts clearly and precisely, so colleagues who are taking the course can pick up the material quickly. This type of exercise also requires subject-matter experts to use their imagination and creativity to work out how to best deliver the content in an engaging and effective manner.

Take for example, a senior graphic designer who is creating a beginner Photoshop course for her organization. Even though she knows how to navigate the software like the back of her hand, she will still need to learn how to explain design concepts in a manner that non-designers can easily and quickly pick up.

To encourage more frequent peer training in your organization, consider investing in an LMS with an authoring tool that enables anyone to create internal courses in minutes. The most flexible employee training programs enable users to create and participate in both employer and employee-led learning remotely and asynchronously. 

Google, for example, has a formal employee-to-employee training system called “G2G” (Googler-to-Googler), in which employees volunteer to teach and train their peers. They can create a course on any topic that they’re interested and experienced in, which has covered topics as diverse as coding, cooking, and ballroom dancing.

This initiative has also created tangible benefits for volunteer teachers, such as improved performance and new hard and soft skills. A Google engineer even taught his co-workers how to fly airplanes , and in the process, he largely improved his skill and confidence in public speaking and presentation.

2. Assign employees to work on cross-functional projects

Although online learning and remote work give employees greater autonomy on how they learn and work, they can also be isolating . One way to offset this is to have your employees upskill and challenge themselves by participating in or leading cross-functional projects within your organization. For example, you could have an employee in product management work with the marketing and customer success teams on a new product launch. 

When employees collaborate with other teams or departments, they can share their expertise and learn from fellow colleagues, while expanding their own knowledge and skills. This could mean gaining tactical skills and discovering helpful new tools, but also developing communication and interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, and teamwork. This transfer of knowledge and expertise also allows team members to exchange ideas and share different perspectives, which can help stimulate creative thinking and problem-solving.

3. Have experienced employees coach junior team members

Becoming an effective leader isn’t as easy as just reading a book or taking a course. It requires hands-on experience acquired through interpersonal interactions in the workplace. Help your employees gain this experience with an internal program teaching them how to coach their peers .

In the workplace, a coach is a person involved in the instruction, direction, or training of an individual or team to help them grow and develop their skills. A leadership coaching survey showed that 72% of companies offer some type of leadership coaching to improve the leadership skills of their employees. This type of stretch assignment is well-suited for employees who want to guide others in reaching specific goals, and to develop leadership skills like emotional intelligence, empathy, and self-awareness. 

There are two ways to support your employees with a coaching program:

  • One-on-one coaching : This occurs when a more knowledgeable or skilled employee works with a more junior team member in the same field to guide them on their professional development. This method allows the coach to follow their trainee’s work and habits to determine how they can help improve their performance. For example, in a design agency, a lead designer can coach a junior designer and help them plan and strategize their work.
  • Peer-to-peer coaching : This is a more informal method where two or more employees with similar levels of experience and seniority work together to help each reach their goals. It can be as simple as connecting to ask questions, review work, provide feedback, or help someone join a new project or team. For example, assigning onboarding buddies to new hires helps the latter acclimate to the company and their role–and gives the former an opportunity to take on more responsibility and engage with their work in a new way. 

4. Increase workplace engagement with a mentoring culture

Research from Gallup found that a whopping 60% of workers are emotionally detached at work. Giving your employees rewarding opportunities to become mentors can increase their engagement and satisfaction in the workplace. A study from the Harvard Business Review revealed that employees who served as mentors “described their job as more meaningful than those who did not mentor.” And mentors also experienced lower levels of anxiety than their non-mentoring counterparts.

Like coaching, mentoring is a relationship in which employees learn from someone else’s experience. Coaching is more performance-driven and often designed to help trainees reach milestones and achieve specific goals. On the other hand, mentoring is more focused on passing a mentor’s knowledge onto the mentee, rather than following direct instructions.

For example, desired outcomes of a mentor-mentee relationship are often: helping an individual realize their potential, accelerating their development, or supporting them in furthering their career. A mentor looks at their mentee’s holistic improvement, rather than specific skills that can be learned through practice. 

Mentorship also enables mentors to transform their individual knowledge into institutional knowledge . And this process of sharing their skills and ideas with others helps them improve their interpersonal and communication skills.

To make your mentorship program a greater success, pair mentors with mentees who have different experiences, knowledge, and skill sets. This encourages mentors to get outside their comfort zone and challenges them to think or see things differently. As part of its four-step mentorship program , Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution matches mentees with mentors who work in different locations. This approach creates more opportunities for interesting conversations and fresh perspectives because employees can interact with team members they wouldn’t normally encounter in their day-to-day work.

"Stretch" your employees to strengthen your organization

It’s easier for employees to excel at stretch assignments in a collaborative learning environment. A collaborative learning culture ensures that your employees are regularly sharing knowledge and building new skills, whether through peer-learning opportunities or mentorship and coaching programs.

Investing in a comprehensive learning platform like 360Learning allows employees to declare their learning needs in real-time–enabling L&D teams and SMEs to create courses that address the most immediate skills gaps within your organization.

Want to read about more upskilling strategies to develop a highly skilled, engaged, and loyal workforce that’s ready to take on new challenges and propel your business to greater heights? Explore more articles on the topic below, or book a personalized demo of 360Learning here .

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How to Use Stretch Assignments to Support Social Good

  • Mark Horoszowski

stretch assignment plan

Advance your career and give back at the same time.

A proven way to get ahead in your career is to take on stretch assignments. These projects can develop your skills and confidence, as well as prove to leaders that you can succeed at the next level. Many companies go to great lengths to create these assignments for employees as part of a retention and development strategy, and for good reason – if employees can’t find stretch opportunities, they leave. In fact, the number one reason people leave their jobs is because they lack a career path, according to recent  research . This fact is especially relevant for Millennials, who often value meaning in their careers and are actively looking for the opportunity to become leaders .

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  • Mark Horoszowski is the cofounder and CEO of MovingWorlds.org. He also serves as a volunteer with the American Cancer Society, cochairing its National Volunteer Leadership Advisory Team.

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30 HR Stretch Assignments That Can Enhance Your Growth, Development & Promotability

Plus a one-page cheat sheet you can use!

stretch assignment plan

by Alan Collins

Want to take your career to the next level with your current employer?

Taking on a stretch assignment in your current role may be your ticket.

A stretch assignment is simply a project or task you take on that falls outside your typical duties and requires you to step outside your comfort zone and learn new skills.

There are lots of benefits of tackling one of these assignments:

  • It can accelerate your growth and development without changing jobs.
  • It can infuse more joy, excitement or challenge into your current role.
  • It sends the message that you’re ready for more responsibility.
  • It prepares you for future leadership or promotional opportunities.
  • It potentially provides visibility to higher ups who can open doors for you.

If nothing else, a stretch assignment can add bullets to beef up your resume and prepare for an HR future outside of your organization.

Need some specific examples?

Check out this one-page cheat sheet.

CLICK HERE To DOWNLOAD this “CHEAT SHEET.”

To squeeze the most juice out of this one-pager:     

(a) Use it as a reminder of the types of assignments you may want to pursue.  

(b) Keep it handy on your all devices (phone, laptop, tablet) to access quickly for future reference.

(c) Forward it to HR colleagues who might welcome having this information to aid in their career advancement efforts.

(d) Use it any way you want!

Here’s a case study to illustrate.

Gabrielle Lewis-Smith was frustrated.

As a senior HR manager with one of the largest hospitals in Chicago, she didn’t feel she was moving fast enough in her career.

She loved the organization, didn’t want to leave, but was clueless about what to do.

However, a career-defining moment arrived when she was suddenly thrust into a highly visible leadership role.

When a colleague of hers resigned in the middle of planning the annual organization-wide talent review process, involving 225 leaders in 45 departments, Gabrielle received an unexpected visit from her manager.

“My boss came to me sweating, in a breathless panic,” she recounts.

“And he said, ‘Gabrielle, I need your help. You’ve been doing a great job. I know you’re swamped, but I need you to step up, lead and facilitate this whole thing. Can you do it?’”

In that moment, she felt terrified and out of her comfort zone, having never led something this big and visible to the senior management team.

But, she also had the self-awareness to realize, “This might be my opportunity. Someone sees more leadership potential in me than frankly I see in myself. And trusts me to do this.”

So, with her boss’ 100% assurance that he’d support her all the way, she agreed to bail him out.

And, the experiences and exposure she gained from this “stretch assignment” changed everything.

“It was a turning point in my HR career, and changed forever how I saw myself as a leader. In the end, this project helped me bond with my boss and showcase skills he didn’t know I had.

“I also got great feedback from the higher ups on my role in planning and facilitating many of the reviews.

“And, in the months that followed, I started getting calls and all kinds of opportunities opened themselves up to me, both within… and outside of the hospital.

“My boss promoted me to HR director eight months later.”

So, how do you obtain a stretch assignment?  

Here’s what not to do…

Don’t sit on your butt, waiting to be asked.

stretch assignment plan

Instead, take charge! 

Get proactive and seek out projects that would add value to the organization, but can’t get done because of insufficient resources, money or time. 

Or you might also dig into areas within HR or the larger organization where you’ve noticed problems, inefficiencies or dysfunction.

Or it also be as straightforward as raising your hand and volunteering to tackle a project no one else wants to do.

In any event, once you’ve identified an issue or project you’d like to take on, talk to your boss, offer your help and get the ball rolling.

Finally, here’s how to maximize the experience. 0

0 #1:  Stretch in the right direction .

Make certain that your stretch aligns with your current job accountabilities and/or your future career goals.

#2:  Take time to plan your stretch.

Stretch assignments can be time intensive and energy consuming. Make sure what you’ve selected inspires and excites you.

#3:  Where possible, include others.

Engaging others will offer you new leadership opportunities by allowing you to delegate tasks and coordinate assignments with colleagues.

Teaming up with peers, or possibly a mentor, can also cause the endeavor to seem less daunting.

 #4:  Seek guidance. 

Stretch assignments take you out of your comfort zone which means you are not expected to have all the answers. So do don’t be afraid to ask questions, request direction and ask for assistance when you need it.

#5:  Cross organizational boundaries.

Stretch assignment are often most effective when they include working with individuals from another area of your organization.

Such assignments can give you insights that can build your total business perspective and insight.

#6:  Market what you accomplish.

Even if you knocked the project out of the park, it won’t mean much if no one knows what you’ve accomplished.

In your pre-deal negotiation, request that your stretch assignment be marketed internally.

For example, ask that it serve as a best practice story and be shared through appropriate HR or company channels, whether it’s via an internal newsletter, social network, webinar or even in a brown-bag information session.

All this helps you publicize and maximize the value you gain from the experience.

Have you taken on a stretch assignment recently?

Now may be the perfect time to tackle one.

If you’re like Gabrielle, it may be exactly the kind career-defining move you need to launch your career forward.

Got comments, thoughts and additional insights?

Post them in the comments below by clicking HERE.

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Then check out: STAY INSPIRED IN HR: 21 Positive Reminders To Keep You Motivated, Encouraged, Confident & Committed To Success in Human Resources.   Get more details here.

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About the author: Alan Collins is Founder of Success in HR, Inc. and the author of a variety of best selling books for HR professionals.  He was formerly Vice President – Human Resources at PepsiCo where he led HR initiatives for their Quaker Oats, Gatorade and Tropicana businesses.

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Self-Discovery Through Stretch Assignments: Real-Life Examples

Posted Feb 16, 2024

In the journey of personal and professional growth, individuals often find a transformative bridge to self-discovery through self-assigned projects known as stretch assignments. This article delves into real-life examples of individuals who have taken the initiative to embark on self-assigned projects, showcasing the pivotal role of stretch assignments in fostering self-discovery.  

Learn about Asure’s HR solutions that save you time and money while staying compliant with ever-changing HR laws .  

The Essence of Stretch Assignments  

Stretch assignments, whether initiated by employers or self-assigned, present individuals with opportunities to step outside their comfort zones and tackle challenges that go beyond their usual scope of work. These projects catalyze skill enhancement, career development, and, perhaps most importantly, self-discovery.  

stretch assignment plan

Real-Life Examples  

Learning a new industry  .

An individual employed in the technology sector who took on a self-assigned stretch assignment to delve into a completely different industry – the renewable energy sector. By actively seeking projects and responsibilities related to renewable energy, the individual not only acquired new industry-specific skills but also unearthed a genuine interest in sustainability and environmental issues.  

Creating a Niche Blog  

In a creative endeavor, an individual with a background in marketing undertook a self-assigned stretch assignment to create a niche blog focusing on a specific industry trend. This project not only honed writing skills but also uncovered a passion for content creation and thought leadership. The blog eventually gained recognition, opening doors to new opportunities in the individual’s professional journey.  

Skill Development in Coding  

A professional in a non-technical role decided to take on a self-assigned stretch assignment to learn coding. Through online courses, dedicated practice, and personal projects, the individual developed a proficiency in coding. This unexpected foray into the technical realm not only enhanced their skill set but also broadened their career horizons.  

Leading a Community Initiative  

In a community-oriented example, an individual within a company took the initiative to lead a community service project. This stretch assignment involved organizing volunteers, coordinating activities, and managing resources for a local charity event. Through this experience, the individual discovered leadership qualities and a passion for community engagement that transcended their daily work responsibilities.  

The Role of Stretch Assignments in Self-Discovery

  • Uncovering Hidden Passions: Stretch assignments provide a platform for individuals to explore areas beyond their routine tasks, uncovering hidden passions and interests that may have remained dormant.  
  • Building Confidence: Taking on challenges outside one’s comfort zone through self-assigned projects contributes to building confidence. The ability to navigate unfamiliar territories fosters a sense of self-assurance and adaptability.  
  • Expanding Skill Sets: Engaging in self-assigned stretch assignments naturally leads to skill development. Whether it’s learning a new industry, acquiring technical skills, or honing creative abilities, individuals expand their skill sets through hands-on experience.  
  • Opening Career Pathways: The self-discovery prompted by stretch assignments often opens unexpected career pathways. Individuals may find themselves drawn to entirely new fields or uncover potential career trajectories that align more closely with their newfound passions.  

Conclusion  

The real-life examples of individuals embracing self-assigned stretch assignments underscore the profound impact these projects can have on self-discovery. Whether driven by a desire for entrepreneurship, a curiosity about different industries, or a passion for community service, these examples demonstrate that stretch assignments serve as a dynamic pathway to personal and professional growth. As individuals venture beyond the familiar, they not only enhance their skill sets but also embark on a journey of self-discovery that can shape the trajectory of their careers.  

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15 questions to ask before accepting a stretch assignment.

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Young tired businesswoman stretching at laptop indoors

Stretch assignments are like the Instant Pot of career development. An intensely challenging, ambitious, go-big-or-go-home work project, they are a catalyst for rapid development of business acumen, technical expertise and leadership skills. They’re also great for building relat ionships with influential stakeholders, and exposing your skills, value and work ethic to individuals outside of your core team. Sure, the pressure will be high, but it will get your career cooking. No other form of career development comes close .

If, like many of the women I speak to, your potential outpaces how others perceive you, a carefully chosen stretch assignment can close that gap. It’s a way to take your budding strengths and aspirations and fortify them with measurable successes that will make your organization sit up and pay attention.

To better understand what motivates people to accept or reject such an opportunity, Selena Rezvani and I surveyed 1,549 U.S.-based professionals, inquiring about their experiences with sizing up stretch assignments and higher-level roles. Here's what our findings revealed.

What Makes A Stretch Assignment Appealing?

Interestingly, women and men have similar criteria for saying “yes” to a stretch assignment. Top considerations were having enough personal influence and organizational support to drive the project to successful completion.

“My readiness for the next assignment depends on making sure I have a blank check to make tough decisions,” said one female leader.  One early-career woman with a financial software company said having adequate support is a deciding factor. “Otherwise, I won't take the assignment since it may not come with the resources I would need to be successful,” she wrote. 

Another highly-ranked criteria was whether an assignment aligned with career goals. A woman working at the director level in a hospital asks: “Will it feel like play, feed my purpose, and allow me to grow in a meaningful way?”

What Makes A Stretch Assignment A Non-Starter?

Given previous research showing that more than half of U.S. employees feel overworked or overwhelmed at least some of the time , it came as no surprise to discover that ‘threat of overwork’ ranks highly as a red flag. “It boils down whether I am able to balance my personal life with the next assignment,” one entry-level man at an internet company told us. “If it jeopardizes my personal time, then it's not worth it.” (There’s a reason one executive I interviewed jokingly referred to stretch assignments as “night jobs.”) The next most cited misgiving was lack of guidance from insiders or mentors.

15 Questions To Ask Before Saying Yes To A Stretch Assignment

We asked respondents how they decide if a potential stretch is a good fit. Here are some key themes that emerged, along with specific questions they ask.

Management Support

  • Are there clear expectations?
  • Is there support from senior leaders?
  • Will I have the resources and authority to succeed?

Work-Life Balance

  • How does this impact my work-life balance?
  • Will the time commitment mesh with my family responsibilities?
  • Is it worth the amount of time it will take to be successful?

New Challenges

  • How challenging is the assignment and what will I learn?
  • Is it personally challenging or “more of the same”?
  • Will it require me to think on a deeper level or use my skill set in new ways?

Purpose and Passion

  • Does it align with my personal mission?
  • Does it truly spark my passion?
  • How will it make a difference in the world?

Future Prospects

  • Does it align with my career aspirations?
  • Is it going to take me where I ultimately want to go or is the detour worth it?
  • How might the role open doors to other opportunities?

Stretch assignments are proven career shortcuts—a way to rapidly reshape how others view you, so that their perceptions can more closely match your potential and aspirations. By asking the right questions, you can choose your next one well.

Jo Miller

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Develop People with Stretch Assignments

Career Step up framed

This blog is not about justifying why it is important for companies to conduct or provide ongoing training programs. Yes, there are many excellent training strategies and approaches that organizations can into their corporate employee programs that help achieve overall company goals. For the purpose of this blog, let’s start by agreeing  that it is essential for every organization’s business plan to include ongoing training – not just training new employees.

Knowledge and skills development is vital to the health of organizations

Business 101 tells us that training plays a major role in employee retention programs.The ongoing and consistent training of employees has a number of high value impacts.

  • Instills loyalty and commitment.
  • Prevents employees from stagnating and becoming bored.
  • Acts as the key motivator that increases productivity.
  • Supports employees with changing job requirements.
  • Allows for faster adoption of new technologies

And, most importantly …

Ongoing training of employees demonstrates that the organization places a high value on their people and is willing to invest in a future together.

Development occurs when employees are given assignments that  are different from their typical responsibilities and stretch their existing abilities.

Not your usual training and development programs.

Most companies have some form of training programs. Sometimes they are limited to ‘onboarding’. Sometimes they include sending people out on courses or seminars. The focus here is about using specific techniques within the organization to build the company’s future by fine tuning the direction, leadership and succession strategies of corporate employees.

In recent years technology has introduced unprecedented change and uncertainty in both our personal and business lives. It’s absolutely no surprise that executives have had to become much more concerned about their organization’s agility, growth, ability to adapt and utilize technologies that have become commonplace. So how does that happen? The most effective and sometimes quickest manner is to prepare talented and highly valuable individual contributors for fast-track development by ‘stretching’ their skills with special assignments.

Special assignments are a very valid tool that provides opportunities to stretch skills, provide further learning and/or leadership development.

What are stretch assignments.

Stretch assignments proactively provide and effectively manage the future (and career expectations) of high-potential employees. They are unique and challenging experiences that optimize on-the-job development. Over the last few years, this tactic has clearly been on the rise because stretch assignments provide the opportunity for individuals to be tested for creativity, innovation, judgment and drive.

Planning short-term projects or assignments is an excellent tool, and a great vehicle, to test an individual’s ability and motivation.

  additional development strategies.

In addition to stretch assignments, there are other forms of validating the investment for development or promotion of prized talent such as:

  • Mentorship programs
  • External career coach
  • Delegate more responsibility and / or authority with decision making
  • Send employees on specific training programs, seminars or conferences
  • Offer Internet-based learning
  • Encourage self-directed learning
  • Committee work
  • Job rotation
  • Lateral moves
  • Project leadership

The above techniques can also add diversity and depth when preparing individuals for promotion, however stretch assignments have the added advantage of building interpersonal relationships, improving internal communications and increasing flexibility among various business units.

Offering career support to individuals can support retention of valuable employees who might otherwise leave the company for greener pastures.

Why use stretch assignments.

Some of the most common reasons that companies utilize and encourage the implementation of stretch assignments include:

  • Vet whether or not an individual has the potential for what the company believes they see or anticipate
  • Prepare individuals to step up immediately if leadership takes leave, quit or for any other reason no longer be present
  • Build internal strength and ability to quickly develop and test new ideas and concepts as well as “re-tune” approaches, techniques and products
  • Enhance the business’ ability to adopt and use advances in technology
  • Raise the bar by building efficient, effective and highly motivated self-managed, decisive team leaders
  • Improve a company’s competitive position and enhance a reputation for being employee-centric
  • Ensure the business has adequate resources for expansion into new programs

Short-term successful outcomes build capability and knowledge for the next step and the one after that.

Stretch – one, two, repeat.

As they say, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.”. Being a cat person,  I don’t particularly care for that expression so I’ll share with you how the expression is used in the southern US states. To skin a is in reference to the catfish, often abbreviated to cat, because it is usually skinned in preparing it for eating. I have no idea why ‘cat’ was selected for this expression, but suffice to say the point seems to be-

Any challenge generally has more than one solution.

Talent can be stretched both Vertically and Horizontally. In our modern workplace, it is important for employees to know and understand the difference. It may even make sense to stretch talent in both directions, if it meets with employee agreement and makes sense for the employer.

Vertical Stretch

reach

Vertical stretching is an excellent tool to develop individuals for future leadership assignments and/or promotions. This form of stretch helps to find the optimal level of discomfort in the next role or project, because that’s where the most learning happens.

A good stretch helps find the optimal level of discomfort in the next role and that’s where the most learning happens.

Horizontal Stretch

A horizontal stretch goal inspires people to take on different responsibilities, develop new processes or products, or expand the organization outward in some way.

Not all individuals have the personality, drive or interest in climbing up the corporate ladder when it involves managing budget and/or people. Having both the responsibility and the accountability for others is only satisfying when an individual has a strong desire to move in that direction.

Horizontal development often results in subject matter experts that are just as valuable to an organization as the leaders of people. In this case, it is just as critical to grow solid individual contributors by adding  diversity to their work with complex and challenging projects that carry more responsibility. This is another way that will create certain kinds of discomfort that results in further learning and development.

Pushing your high potentials up a straight ladder won’t accelerate their growth—uncomfortable assignments will.

To stretch or not to stretch.

goals

Two guidelines to consider when using short-term stretch goals

  • Ensure that the immediate goals are part of a larger, more ambitious effort so that whatever is achieved and learned is a building block, not an end-in-itself.
  • Intentionally design the short-term stretch goals in ways that force innovation, collaboration, and learning — so it’s not just a matter of working harder for a short period of time.

Deconstruct extremely ambitious stretch goals into several short-term stretch goals and include multiple cycles. Small wins maintain motivation and engagement

Advantages of stretch goals.

The most beneficial stretch assignments are intentional. They are selected to develop specific competencies that fit into a carefully created career development plan. Stretch assignments are the acknowledgement of an individual’s value to the organization and provide a rich context for the employee to grow.

Stretch goals are intended to encourage creative thinking and exploratory learning. They help companies  uncover new ways to improve processes and develop products and services.

Stretch goals help individuals become more self-confident and more engaged. They force people to re-evaluate what they’re capable of and this leads to a transformative experience.

Companies that utilize stretch assignments in their organizations, find that they are able to significantly increase the competence levels of their people over their competitors. .

The best stretch assignments are those that build business acumen, technical skill or leadership ability.

Disadvantages of stretch goals.

When management are over zealous and set goals that are impossible to reach, significant damage can be done. When a talented individual becomes overwhelmed or set up for failure, it can result in terrible losses to the business, the individual and the rest of the organization.

It is critical that stretch assignments are carefully designed. When top-performers can experience high levels of stress, feel pressured to take excessive risks and if  success is impossible or unattainable, there is always a risk that one feels leaving the company is their only choice.

Examples of Stretch Development

Stretch assignments are intended to develop specific and agreed to skills by providing the appropriate experiences. Devising the right strategy to gain experience and build skills can be done using a variety of assignments such as –

  • Manage a volunteer or intern
  • Execute a new or important company project
  • Participate in the company’s strategic planning process
  • Turn around a failing project, department or operation
  • Organize and lead an important company event or meeting
  • Lead a high profile initiative
  • Conduct a customer-needs analysis
  • Write a policy statement
  • Facilitate change in the way a business or a process is conducted
  • Fix a preexisting problem
  • Evaluate a training program
  • Join a team dealing with conflict
  • Create a customer satisfaction survey
  • Negotiate a new customer contract
  • Re-launch a product or service that previously failed
  • Lead people from different cultures, gender, racial or ethnic backgrounds
  • Influence and oversee people or processes for which one has no direct authority

Not all stretch assignments are created equal.

solve

By training, developing, monitoring, and witnessing the success of high performers, these people each become individually better and more valuable to the organization. The business will exhibit  higher levels of success, a more engaged workforce and the foundation for succession planning.

When the global executive search firm, Egon Zehnder, asked 823 international executives to look back at their careers and identify what had helped them unleash their potential, the most popular answer, cited by 71%, was stretch assignments.

Harvard Business Review Video

“Pushing your high-potentials up a straight ladder toward bigger jobs, budgets and staffs will continue their growth, but it won’t accelerate it.” ~ Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, author, international speaker and global expert on talent and leadership

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Herding cats or managing people, program management vs. project management, march 8th – international women’s day 2019.

Nootbaar begins rehab assignment

John Denton

John Denton

ST. LOUIS -- Forgetting that his teammate was still on the mend from a painful oblique strain, Cardinals’ catcher Pedro Pagés playfully tossed something to Lars Nootbaar in the clubhouse last weekend. When Nootbaar twisted at the trunk and caught the object thrown his way without any pain, they both smiled and breathed a sigh of relief.

“Pagés said, ‘Wow, you’re [healed]!’ And I said, ‘Exactly, I’m good to go,’” Nootbaar said before the Cardinals' 11-4 loss to the Reds . “A week or so ago, I would have been hesitant to do anything like that, but I’m in a pretty good spot. Sneezing is all right, and even that let me know that I was starting to work my way back. When sneezing wasn’t too bad, that’s when I knew I was all right.”

Word that Nootbaar would be starting a rehab assignment with Double-A Springfield was one of the few bright spots on Thursday for the Cardinals, who saw right-handed pitcher Miles Mikolas get shelled for 12 hits and nine runs over 4 1/3 innings. Mikolas came into the night 3-0 with a 2.49 ERA over four starts in June, but he never stood a chance against a Reds lineup that has historically hit well against him.

Mikolas pitched out of a jam and limited the damage to one run in the first inning, but he surrendered another run in the second. Then came three more in the third inning and Spencer Steer touched him for a two-run homer in the fourth after Nolan Arenado had gotten the Redbirds back within striking distance with a two-run homer of his own.

“I kind of stunk, the bullpen was a little short-staffed out there and it was not a good day for me to stink,” Mikolas said. “I’ll work my tail off in between starts to make sure that doesn’t happen again. … Today was a bad day to stink.”

On the injured list five times in 2023 and the first half of the 2024 season with thumb, back groin, ribs and oblique maladies, Nootbaar is hopeful that he is about to begin an extended stretch of good health. Many of his injuries have been unavoidable and downright unfortunate -- he sprained his thumb sliding into third base; he hurt his back and fractured two ribs after colliding with the outfield wall; as for the groin injury, it happened when he fouled a pitch off his lower abdomen. And the latest injury? It came about when he checked a swing in Cincinnati on May 29, knocking him out of action during one of the Cardinals' best stretches of baseball all season.

stretch assignment plan

Nootbaar, who has been limited to 39 games with the Cardinals this season because of the injuries, hopes to be a part of a playoff push when he returns.

“It’s been a lot of contact stuff and it’s unfortunate and I’m just trying to work my way back and get back out there soon,” said Nootbaar, who has hit .234 with five home runs, seven doubles and 19 RBIs after the rib injury and before the oblique strain. “I’m trying to do everything that I can to stay on the field. I love watching these guys play, but having a uniform on is a lot better.”

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The Cardinals' lineup will likely be a lot better with Nootbaar healthy because of his ability to work counts and make pitchers pay when they make mistakes in the zone. The Cardinals have been able to weather another injury to Nootbaar with the emergence of Alec Burleson, who went hitless in four at-bats on Thursday, but is 28-for-93 (.301) with seven home runs and 18 RBIs in his past 24 games.

Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said Nootbaar’s rehab stint will be more about him getting his timing down and getting his legs back under him than rehabilitating from the oblique injury. Nootbaar is scheduled to start and play five innings in the field for Double-A Springfield on Friday.

“From a timing standpoint, he needs to get to where he’s ready before he returns,” Marmol said. “Also, we just want him feeling good and that’s equally as important as recovering.”

Nootbaar said he’s eager to attack the rehab stint and work his way back so that he can try to make up for lost time.

“It’s just about making sure that my body’s ready to play those nine innings, recover and wake up the next day and feel fine,” he said. “Obviously, timing is a big thing. You don’t want to try and get your timing back in the big leagues, but I am anxious to get back here. Whatever plan they have for me will be perfect and then I’ll be ready to go.”

  • Using Replenishment Planning

Simulate Changes to Policy Parameters for Segments Within a Replenishment Plan

Within your replenishment plan, you can simulate changes to policy parameters, default policy parameters, and policy parameter overrides at the segment level for the associated policy assignment set by using the Manage Policy Assignments table.

Follow these steps to simulate changes to parameters, defaults, and overrides at the segment level:

Do one of the following to open the replenishment plan for which you want to perform the simulation:

To open the replenishment plan using the Manage Plans page:

On the Tasks panel tab, under Plans, select Manage Plans .

The Manage Plans page opens and displays the available replenishment plans.

Select the replenishment plan, and click Actions > Open .

The replenishment plan opens in a separate tab.

On the Plans panel tab, under Plans, right-click the replenishment plan, and select Open .

Click the Open drop-down button, and click a pane if you're required to do so.

The Open Table, Graph, or Tile Set dialog box opens.

Search for the Manage Policy Assignments table, select it, and click OK .

The Manage Policy Assignments page opens.

On the Segment-Level Policy Parameters Assignment subtab on the page, select the segment for which you want to perform your simulation, and make your changes.

Click the Save drop-down button.

Click Actions > Run to run the replenishment plan.

The Run Plan dialog box opens.

On the Parameters tab, under Scope Options, select the Calculate policy parameters and Calculate replenishments check boxes.

Under Data Refresh Options, select Do not refresh with current data .

The Manage Replan Details link appears under the option.

Click Manage Replan Details to open the Manage Replan Details dialog box, in which you can see the segments for which you have made changes. Deselect the check box under Replan for the segments for which you don't want to run the simulation.

Click Save and Close .

Click OK in the Run Plan dialog box.

If you're satisfied with the simulation results, save your changes to the policy assignment set by clicking Actions > Save Changes to Policy Assignment Set .

The Save Changes to Policy Assignment Set dialog box opens and displays the changes that you have saved at the segment level within the replenishment plan but not saved to the policy assignment set.

If you don't save the changes, they're lost the next time you run the replenishment plan with the Refresh with current data option selected under Data Refresh Options on the Parameters tab in the Run Plan dialog box.

Review the changes that you made for each segment.

You can see the old and new values for your changes.

Under Changes to Save , select the check boxes for the segments for which you want to save changes to the policy assignment set.

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Detroit Tigers prospect Jackson Jobe completes rehab assignment, returns to Double-A Erie

stretch assignment plan

CINCINNATI —  Detroit Tigers prospect Jackson Jobe has completed his rehab assignment.

The 21-year-old flamethrower has returned to Double-A Erie, been activated from the injured list and is scheduled to start Friday for the SeaWolves at UPMC Park in Erie, Pennsylvania. He completed three rehab starts with High-A West Michigan in his recovery from a left hamstring strain .

Jobe suffered the left hamstring strain May 1 , then spent more than two months on the injured list leading up to Friday's return. The right-hander ranks as the top pitching prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline .

MORE ABOUT HIM: How Tigers' Jackson Jobe developed into top pitching prospect nearing MLB debut

Before the injury, Jobe posted a 2.16 ERA with 10 walks and 24 strikeouts across 16⅔ innings in five starts for Double-A Erie. He hadn't completed more than four innings in a single start.

Jobe, who turns 22 on July 30, registered a 2.00 ERA with two walks and eight strikeouts across nine innings in three starts with High-A West Michigan. He competed two innings on 29 pitches June 18, three innings on 32 pitches June 23 and four innings on 60 pitches June 29.

He threw a career-high 90 pitches on Aug. 30, 2023.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?: Innings plan for Tigers prospect Jackson Jobe won't be impacted by hamstring injury

The Tigers selected Jobe with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 draft . He also missed  several months with a back injury last season, in which he had a 2.82 ERA with 11 walks and 103 strikeouts across 79⅔ innings in 20 starts.

[ MUST LISTEN: Make "Days of Roar" your go-to Detroit Tigers podcast, available anywhere you listen to podcasts ( Apple , Spotify ) ]

Contact Evan Petzold at  [email protected]  or follow him  @EvanPetzold .

Listen to our weekly Tigers show  "Days of Roar"  every Monday afternoon on demand at freep.com,  Apple ,  Spotify  or wherever you listen to podcasts. And catch all of our podcasts and daily voice briefing at  freep.com/podcasts .

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Cubs Sign Christian Bethancourt To Minor League Deal

By Leo Morgenstern | July 5, 2024 at 9:07pm CDT

Christian Bethancourt has signed a minor league contract with the Cubs, according to his transaction log on MLB.com. The journeyman catcher was released by the Marlins last week. The Cubs will be his ninth MLB organization since he made his big league debut with the Braves in 2013.

Bethancourt failed to make much of an impression over his first five MLB seasons, appearing in 161 games for the Braves and Padres between 2013-17 and slashing .222/.252/.316 with a 52 wRC+. He did not play in the majors from 2018-21, bouncing between the Brewers, Phillies, and Pirates organizations, with a brief stopover in the KBO during the 2019 campaign.

At 30 years old, Bethancourt finally returned to the major leagues in 2022, appearing in 56 games for the Athletics and playing well enough to catch the attention of the Rays ahead of the trade deadline. He continued to play well with Tampa Bay down the stretch, finishing the season with a league-average 100 wRC+ and 1.8 FanGraphs WAR.

Unfortunately, Bethancourt did not find the same success in 2023. While he made Tampa Bay’s Opening Day roster and played 102 games behind the dish, he finished the season with just a 74 wRC+. His defensive numbers took a hit as well; he caught 13 of 30 would-be base stealers in 2022 but only 13 of 57 the following year. His pitch-framing numbers also declined, according to metrics from both FanGraphs and Baseball Savant.

The Rays flipped Bethancourt to the Marlins over the offseason, and his offensive struggles have only gotten worse in 2024. He slashed .159/.198/.268 over 38 games in Miami before he was designated for assignment in mid-June. He was released shortly thereafter. Bethancourt will now join the Triple-A Iowa Cubs as he strives to get his next big league opportunity on the North Side of Chicago. The Cubs have gotten very little production from their catchers this year; the only team whose catchers have a lower OPS or wRC+ is the Marlins. Currently, Tomás Nido and Miguel Amaya are the only two backstops on Chicago’s 40-man roster. Presumably, Bethancourt is now the next catcher on the depth chart.

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JED HOYER SHOULD BE FIRED FOR THIS SIGNING. What a joke. Dumpster diving

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MLB Insider Reveals Dodgers' Trade Deadline Plans

Eva geitheim | 6 hours ago.

Dec 14, 2023; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman (left) and manager Dave Roberts at press conference at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

  • Los Angeles Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers reportedly have their eyes on two key areas ahead of the MLB trade deadline — pitching and the outfield. Both of these needs have long been known for the team this season, especially with the injuries to the bullpen and James Outman getting optioned back to Triple-A.

National MLB reporter Bob Nightengale confirmed these reported interests from the Dodgers to Dodgers Nation.

“They would like to get another outfielder. I think that’s been a problem. I don’t think that’s gonna be an easy fix.” Nightengale told Dodgers Nation's Doug McKain . “They’ll get some bullpen help, you can always find that. And maybe one more starter. Right now it’s you know, relying on (Tyler) Glasnow and a lot of question marks. I don’t think they thought Buehler would have these kind of struggles. Gavin Stone has stepped up, but they need one more starter. You know a guy like a Zach Eflin, I’m throwing out someone like that. You won’t have to give up a ton for him.”

Chicago White Sox pitcher Garrett Crochet and outfielder Luis Robert Jr. have been two of the players floated as potential options for the Dodgers at the deadline. Filling any needs is especially crucial for L.A., as they are set on making a World Series run after all the money they spent during the offseason.

It's the most wonderful time of the year 🎶 https://t.co/nl464ChNAl — Doug McKain (@DMAC_LA) June 25, 2024

The one position no longer listed as one the Dodgers are heavily pursuing is shortstop. What once would have been considered a huge need for the team earlier in the year is no longer the case with how well Miguel Rojas is playing. There is a possibility that Rojas could continue to play shortstop even once Mookie Betts returns from a fractured hand, but Betts could also fill in at the position as well.

Eva Geitheim

EVA GEITHEIM

Eva graduated from UCLA in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in Communication. She has been covering college and professional sports since 2022.

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Biden heads into a make-or-break stretch for his imperiled presidential campaign

U.S. President Joe Biden addressed crowds of military service members on Thursday, at a barbecue marking the Fourth of July on the White House South Lawn. In the aftermath of Biden’s disastrous debate performance last week, some financial backers were holding off or canceling upcoming fundraisers, according to a person familiar with the plans who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. “I’m not going anywhere,” Biden told a crowd. “Keep up the fight!” one supporter yelled. “You got me, man,” Biden replied. He also made a glancing reference to Trump, who in 2018 skipped a trip to a World War I cemetery in France that Biden visited recently.

Image

President Joe Biden speaks to active-duty military service members and their families during a Fourth of July celebration and barbecue on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, July 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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First lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Douglass Emhoff watch as President Joe Biden raises the hand of Vice President Kamala Harris while they view the Independence Day firework display over the National Mall from the balcony of the White House, Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Joe Biden speaks during a barbecue with active-duty military service members and their families on the South Lawn of the White House, Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

First lady Jill Biden listens as President Joe Biden speaks during a barbecue with active-duty military service members and their families on the South Lawn of the White House, Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

California Gavin Gavin Newsom visits with supporters during a stop Thursday, July 4, 2024, at the Van Buren County Democratic Party Fourth of July reception in South Haven, Mich. Newsom offered a forceful defense of embattled President Joe Biden on Thursday, telling Democrats in Michigan that the 81-year-old president has the record and energy to win a second term despite widespread doubts about his ability to campaign or govern effectively. (Don Campbell/The Herald-Palladium via AP)

President Joe Biden, left, standing with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, speaks to active-duty military service members and their families during a Fourth of July celebration and barbecue on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, July 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Fagan Harris, far right, chief of staff to Maryland Gov. Moore, gestures for governors to finish answering questions from reporters, as from left, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz listen after they met with President Joe Biden, Wednesday, July 3, 2024, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive on stage to speak to active-duty military service members and their families during a Fourth of July celebration and barbecue on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, July 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday opened a critical stretch in his effort to salvage his imperiled reelection campaign, facing a growing sense that he may have just days to make a persuasive case that he is fit for office before Democratic support for him completely evaporates.

In the aftermath of Biden’s disastrous debate performance last week against Republican Donald Trump, some financial backers were holding off or canceling upcoming fundraisers, according to a person familiar with the plans who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to talk about private discussions.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Biden told a crowd gathered for a July Fourth barbecue on the White House South Lawn.

Later, during evening fireworks, he stood on the balcony with his family and Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, in a clear show of support. Harris at one point grabbed Biden’s hand and held it high in the air, and later the two hugged.

In a Wednesday night meeting with Democratic governors, Biden acknowledged that he needs to get more sleep and limit evening events so he can turn in earlier to be rested for the job, according to three people familiar with the meeting, who also spoke on condition of anonymity. One person said the president joked that his health was fine, it was his brain that had challenges.

Image

California Gov. Gavin Newsom , who was in the meeting, was asked Thursday about the idea that Biden wants to limit events after 8 p.m. and responded: “He did that with a smile on his face. It was more of a rhetorical framework of just being fit and rested.”

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Newsom, who was campaigning for Biden in western Michigan, added, “I like when a president acknowledges they’re human.”

Biden argued that much more than his own political future was in jeopardy. In an interview with a Wisconsin radio station that aired Thursday he said: “The stakes are really high. I know you know this. For democracy, for freedom ... our economy, they’re all on the line.”

The interview on the Earl Ingram Show on the Civic Media Radio Network, taped Wednesday, was the part of a media and public events blitz that the Democratic president and his staff have acknowledged as a make-or-break moment.

At the July Fourth barbecue, Biden welcomed military families formally from a lectern. He then went over to personally greet the crowd for a few moments. He suddenly grabbed a microphone and stood in the center of the grass, explaining that there were thousands of people waiting to come into the party and he needed to duck back inside because the grounds were locked down as long as he was out there.

“Keep up the fight!” one supporter yelled.

“You got me, man,” Biden replied.

He also made a halting reference to Trump, who in 2018 skipped a trip to a World War I cemetery in France that Biden visited recently.

The president is scheduled to campaign in Wisconsin on Friday and sit for an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that will air as a prime-time special that night.

He plans to be in Philadelphia on Sunday and hold a full news conference during the NATO summit in Washington next week.

It is not a given that his campaign will survive even that long if he does not deliver a strong showing on ABC. Discussions that were once a whisper around who should step into his place should he bow out are growing louder.

For now, Biden is not ready to walk away and he has communicated that in conversations with Democratic governors, close allies and staffers from his campaign.

But time is short for a possible change. The Democratic National Committee announced weeks ago that it would hold a virtual roll call for a formal nomination before the party’s national convention, which begins Aug. 19.

“I’m proud to be running for reelection as a president who’s made his promises and I’ve kept them,” Biden said in the radio interview.

“I had a bad night. A bad night. I screwed up,” he said of the debate, where he gave halting and convoluted answers.

“But 90 minutes on stage does not erase what I’ve done for 3 1/2 years,” he said in a different interview, with Philadelphia-area WURD Radio.

In his private conversations, Biden has focused on how to reverse the trajectory from his rocky debate and has emphasized the critical nature of this year’s presidential election.

During one call, when asked what would happen if his efforts to course correct do not work, Biden stressed that he understood how important the race is and that he would put the country first, according to a person who spoke directly with the president. The person was granted anonymity to discuss private conversations.

Biden’s meeting Wednesday with the Democratic governors lasted for more than hour and drew more than 20 of them, some in person and some participating virtually. Afterward they described the conversation as “candid” and said they were standing behind Biden despite being concerned about a Trump victory in November. Details about Biden’s comments on getting more sleep were first reported by The New York Times.

During that meeting, Biden told leaders he had been checked out by his doctor following his debate performance, according to two people familiar with the talks who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the private conversation. A few hours earlier, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre had said Biden had not been examined by the doctor.

The White House has blamed Biden’s debate performance, where he appeared pale and his raspy voice trailed off at times, on a cold . Biden also said he had jet lag following back-to-back foreign trips that ended 12 days earlier.

Biden’s staff has resisted repeated calls to release more robust medical records for the 81-year-old president . After his last full physical in February, his doctor declared him fit for duty .

Two Democratic lawmakers have publicly called for Biden to drop out of the race . Most Democratic lawmakers, though, are taking a wait-and-see approach, holding out for a better idea of how the situation plays out through new polling and the TV interview. That’s according to Democratic lawmakers who requested anonymity to speak bluntly about the president.

Some have suggested Harris is emerging as the favorite to replace Biden if he were to withdraw. Those involved in private discussions acknowledge that California’s Newsom and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan remain viable alternatives. But for some insiders, Harris is viewed as the best prospect to quickly unify the party and avoid a messy and divisive convention fight.

Newsom was asked directly whether, if Biden dropped out, he would he support Harris. He said, “I don’t even like playing in the hypotheticals.”

Trump was seen on video declaring that Harris would be his new rival, saying, “she’s so pathetic.” It was unclear when he made the comments, which were posted on his social media account.

Later Thursday, Trump called for a second debate, “but this time, no holds barred ... with just the two of us on stage.”

Even as other Democratic allies have remained quiet since the debate, there is a growing private frustration about the Biden campaign’s response at a crucial moment in the campaign — particularly in Biden waiting several days to do direct damage control with senior members of his own party.

Associated Press writers Joey Cappelletti in South Haven, Michigan, and Lisa Mascaro and Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report.

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  1. Stretch Assignment Template

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  2. Lead a Warm-up and Stretch Assignment by Ms G's Teaching Ideas

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  3. 30 HR Stretch Assignments That Can Enhance Your Growth, Development

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  4. 30 HR Stretch Assignments That Can Enhance Your Growth, Development

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  5. Stretching Exercise Chart

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  6. Stretch Assignment: You’ve Gathered Information, Now What!

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VIDEO

  1. Group 4

  2. Ultimate Stretching Routine: Boost Flexibility & Reduce Muscle Tension!

  3. In the final stretch of your assignment, may God strengthen you to finish stong!

  4. Flexible Yoga Stretching

  5. My Stretch Routine in 2024

  6. The Analysis of a Malicious Assignment

COMMENTS

  1. How To Make a Stretch Assignment (Plus Template and Example)

    Following are the seven steps for designing a stretch assignment: 1. Analyze employee experiences. Before creating your stretch assignment, evaluate the candidate in comparison to your succession plan. Determine what skills, knowledge or experiences an employee could develop prior to taking on an advanced role at the company.

  2. What Is a Stretch Assignment? (With Benefits and Tips)

    A stretch assignment is a project that's beyond your current level of knowledge or skills. It gets its name from the idea that it allows employees to "stretch" themselves developmentally, enabling them to learn new abilities and grow professionally. Stretch assignments help you prove your adaptability to your management team, who may then ...

  3. Stretch Assignments and Examples

    Given that most development occurs through experience (McCall, Lombardo, & Morrison, 1988), stretch assignments can provide a great vehicle for driving employee learning and/or leadership development. Stretch assignments are essentially short-term projects or assignments that provide unique and challenging experiences for the purpose of developing employee/leader skills and abilities.

  4. Stretch Assignments: What Are They and Is Your Employee Ready For One?

    Stretch assignments are a cornerstone of a strong employee development plan. A statement that is backed by a number of research studies. In one conducted by the Harvard Business Review of 823 executives, it was found that 71% of respondents said stretch assignments had the biggest impact on unleashing their potential. In another, this one conducted by Korn Ferry, stretch assignments were named ...

  5. Embracing Learning through Stretch Assignments: A Guide to Success

    One significant obstacle in implementing stretch assignments is overcoming organisational resistance to experiential learning. This resistance often stems from a lack of understanding of the practical benefits of 'learning by doing,' apprehension about the outcomes, or a preference for more traditional, structured learning methods such as classroom-based or e-learning modules.

  6. Why You Should Take on More Stretch Assignments

    Why You Should Take on More Stretch Assignments. by. Jahna Berry. April 07, 2023. artpartner-images/Getty Images. Summary. Stretch projects require skills or knowledge beyond your current level of ...

  7. Stretch Assignments: Going beyond regular assignments l Eddy

    Step 1: Align Assignments with Development Goals. Get to know your employees' aspirations and interests and design stretch assignments that align with their professional growth trajectory. This customized approach ensures the assignments are meaningful and truly impactful.

  8. Stretch Assignments 101: Maximize Opportunities for Growth With

    Stretch assignments are well understood to enhance individuals' skills and experience. But how is it done right — without the career version of a pulled muscle? The vice president of life sciences at Iterative Health , Laura Mantell, shared her methods and techniques for doing this safely and effectively.

  9. The power and purpose of stretch assignments in career advancement

    In summary, the power and purpose of stretch assignments in career development are undeniable. These experiences offer many benefits, from skill development and boosted confidence to enhanced visibility and unexpected career paths. Despite the challenges, individuals are encouraged to embrace stretch assignments as opportunities for growth ...

  10. 3 Attributes of a Standout Stretch Assignment

    3. Your Success Is Supported. Before agreeing to or starting a challenging new assignment or role, consider the influence, resources, and support you'll need to succeed. Don't be afraid to negotiate the authority you'll need. Line up influential allies to help you navigate office politics and back your decisions.

  11. Stretch Assignments For Employees

    A stretch assignment is an extra project or task that's out of the ordinary that will build a skill or give employees visibility with important stakeholders. ... As part of a strong employee development plan, help them expand their perspective by giving them exposure to people with different expertise.

  12. Stretch Assignments

    In its most basic sense, a stretch assignment is any kind of project or task that is beyond your current skill set or expertise. Usually, it can be a short-term activity or even a permanent venture into a new field that will provide you with challenging experiences meant to expand your growing list of abilities. The keyword here is "stretch," which means that stretch assignments can extend ...

  13. Use Stretch Assignments to Get Ahead at Work. Here's How.

    Examples of stretch assignments include: Delivering a presentation to a VIP client. Structuring and communicating a rollout for a key change. Leading the implementation of new tools to replace ...

  14. 4 Stretch Assignment Examples for Upskilling Your Workforce

    This type of stretch assignment is well-suited for employees who want to guide others in reaching specific goals, ... For example, in a design agency, a lead designer can coach a junior designer and help them plan and strategize their work. Peer-to-peer coaching: This is a more informal method where two or more employees with similar levels of ...

  15. How to Use Stretch Assignments to Support Social Good

    November 13, 2015. KENNETH ANDERSSON FOR HBR. A proven way to get ahead in your career is to take on stretch assignments. These projects can develop your skills and confidence, as well as prove to ...

  16. 4 Ways To Execute A Stretch Assignment Like A Rock Star

    2. Be Inquisitive. "Be as curious as you can possibly be," says Frank, who recommends speaking to a wide cross-section of those involved. Ask management why they felt it was important for you ...

  17. PDF Stretch Assignments as an Opportunity to Advance Your Career

    Talk to your manager about a project you have identified and offer a solution. 1. Stretch in the right direction. Make certain that your stretch aligns with your current job responsibilities and/or future career goals. 2. Take the time to plan your stretch. Stretch assignments can be time intensive and energy consuming.

  18. 30 HR Stretch Assignments That Can Enhance Your Growth, Development

    0. #1: Stretch in the right direction. Make certain that your stretch aligns with your current job accountabilities and/or your future career goals. #2: Take time to plan your stretch. Stretch assignments can be time intensive and energy consuming. Make sure what you've selected inspires and excites you.

  19. Self-Discovery Through Stretch Assignments: Real-Life Examples

    The Role of Stretch Assignments in Self-Discovery. Uncovering Hidden Passions: Stretch assignments provide a platform for individuals to explore areas beyond their routine tasks, uncovering hidden passions and interests that may have remained dormant. Building Confidence: Taking on challenges outside one's comfort zone through self-assigned ...

  20. 15 Questions To Ask Before Accepting A Stretch Assignment

    The next most cited misgiving was lack of guidance from insiders or mentors. 15 Questions To Ask Before Saying Yes To A Stretch Assignment. We asked respondents how they decide if a potential ...

  21. Develop People with Stretch Assignments

    The most beneficial stretch assignments are intentional. They are selected to develop specific competencies that fit into a carefully created career development plan. Stretch assignments are the acknowledgement of an individual's value to the organization and provide a rich context for the employee to grow.

  22. Lars Nootbaar getting close to rehab assignment

    Word that Nootbaar would be starting a rehab assignment with Double-A Springfield was one of the few bright spots on Thursday for the Cardinals, who saw right-handed pitcher Miles Mikolas get shelled for 12 hits and nine runs over 4 1/3 innings. ... Nootbaar is hopeful that he is about to begin an extended stretch of good health. Many of his ...

  23. Simulate Changes to Policy Parameters for Segments Within a

    Note: You can also use the Manage Policy Assignments table to view the policy parameters that were applied to the replenishment plan when it was last run. You don't have to see the associated policy assignment set for these details. Moreover, these policy parameters in the replenishment plan may differ from those in the policy assignment set, because it may have changed since the replenishment ...

  24. Mets Owner Steve Cohen Sends Message to Team in Red-Hot Stretch

    The boss of the New York Mets has spoken.. Mets owner Steve Cohen sent a message of approval on X/Twitter on Saturday amid his team's red-hot stretch, where they have gone 18-6 in their last 24 ...

  25. Dodgers' Outfielder Provides Concerning Injury Update

    Dodgers GM Brandon Gomes Discusses Trade Deadline Plan. Longtime Dodgers Trade Target Surprisingly Designated for Assignment. Former Dodgers Longtime Reliever Heads Back to Free Agency. Home / News.

  26. Dodgers Could Bring Back a Former All-Star at Trade Deadline

    Dodgers GM Brandon Gomes Discusses Trade Deadline Plan. Longtime Dodgers Trade Target Surprisingly Designated for Assignment. Dodgers Offer For Prime Trade Target Rejected By AL Squad: Report ...

  27. Detroit Tigers prospect Jackson Jobe returns to Double-A Erie

    Detroit Tigers prospect Jackson Jobe posted a 2.00 ERA with two walks and eight strikeouts across nine innings in his three-start rehab assignment.

  28. Cubs Sign Christian Bethancourt To Minor League Deal

    He continued to play well with Tampa Bay down the stretch, finishing the season with a league-average 100 wRC+ and 1.8 FanGraphs WAR. Unfortunately, Bethancourt did not find the same success in 2023.

  29. MLB Insider Reveals Dodgers' Trade Deadline Plans

    The Los Angeles Dodgers reportedly have their eyes on two key areas ahead of the MLB trade deadline — pitching and the outfield. Both of these needs have long b

  30. Biden heads into a make-or-break stretch for his imperiled presidential

    California Gavin Gavin Newsom visits with supporters during a stop Thursday, July 4, 2024, at the Van Buren County Democratic Party Fourth of July reception in South Haven, Mich. Newsom offered a forceful defense of embattled President Joe Biden on Thursday, telling Democrats in Michigan that the 81-year-old president has the record and energy to win a second term despite widespread doubts ...