Curiosity is key ...

Oct 22, 2018
Blog - Curiosity is key

Most children are born with an innate sense of curiosity. Sadly, as we mature and are socialized – that innate sense seems to wane…we are often taught not to be curious because it is often seen as a waste of time – hence we learn to become efficient instead.

Don’t get me wrong – efficiency is important in our personal and professional lives, and yet we need curiosity to balance it.

The lead for the current issue of the Harvard Business Review’s current issue is “The Business Case for Curiosity”. This topic is vital and timely for businesses facing possible disruption and those wanting to innovate.

The series is led by an excellent article, Why Curiosity Matters, by one of my favorite researchers and authors, Francesca Gino. In it, she shares new research on why curiosity is so important, what gets in the way of promoting it, and how leaders can enable it in their businesses.

Encouraging curiosity resonates with me, and was one of the most important chapters in my LinkedIn Learning course, Creating a Culture of Change: Curiosity is key. In practice, curiosity is what a person, team or organization needs in order to develop learning agility and a growth mindset (based upon the seminal work of Carol Dweck). 

These three characteristics – curiosity, learning agility and a growth mindset – taken together are what enable individuals and organizations to thrive on change, and use it as a dynamic force for growth, instead of being a passive victim to it – like the example I use in my course of Blockbuster Video.

Professor Gino’s research reveals a couple of mindsets that prevent companies from encouraging their employees to be more curious:

“…they fear it will increase risk and inefficiency”,

and

 “…they believe the company would be harder to manage if people were allowed to explore their own interests.”

Finally, nurturing curiosity requires time for exploration and experimentation, which is challenge for most companies because of their focus on quarterly results and earnings.

What is preventing you and your company from enjoying and reaping the benefits of being more curious? And how will you overcome them??