“When you shut down your curiosity, opportunities stop coming your way.” Jeannette Seibly
Curiosity is a strong desire to know or learn something. (Oxford Dictionaries)
People are born creative geniuses. But life, education, and societal norms squash the value of curiosity to try something different or new.
Many bosses and leaders have a vested interest in not rocking the boat or disrupting the workplace. So curiosity or “what if…?” questions are not encouraged. However, to be innovative and competitive today, you must engage your team in curiosity. Curiosity creates an opportunity for an endless number of solutions. In the process, it builds your company’s reputation and bottom line.
5 Tips to Build a Curious Workplace
- We often shut down new ideas out of fear they won’t work or need too much of our time. We limit new ways of thinking about things. During weekly team meetings, pick a topic and ask, “What if …” You’ll be amazed by the ideas your teams have been afraid to share. Capture these ideas by using flipcharts, post-it notes, or electronic brainstorming technology.
- Curiosity and idea generation are required to develop solutions. To encourage your team to share their light bulb moments, training is required. Training should include persuasive listening skills and how to conduct effective meetings. Companies that excel include a scientifically validated job fit assessment. These tools allow people to learn how to value each other’s differences and ideas.
- Curiosity can’t exist without awareness. It becomes a skill and not a threat to the status quo. Being curious allows for the question of “what if …” Expand this question by asking open-ended questions (e.g., who, what, when, where, why and how). When you are dealing with nay-sayers, ask them for 5 reasons it could work. For Pollyanna’s, ask for 5 reasons it could fail.
- Be OK with Uncertainty. Curiosity has to include uncertainty. There are no guarantees. Unfortunately, fears of uncertainty or not knowing will stop most ideas from moving forward. Instead, use a system for developing ideas and conducting realistic ROIs. Stop allowing fear and indecisiveness to get in the way of moving forward.
- As the ideas start to flow, use technology to build a system for projects to work. This can uncover errors when the process gets stuck. Don’t forget to share your findings on why it will or won’t work early. Remember, while ideas may look good on paper, in reality, they may not work for your company.
When your team has a strong desire to become curious, your results will be amazing.
©Jeannette Seibly, 2019
Jeannette Seibly has been recognized as a catalyst and leadership expert for the past 26 years. As an executive coach, speaker, and author, she provides straight talk with dynamic results. Brainstorming new ideas is easy. Getting out of the way is not so easy. To create curiosity and develop new solutions with your team, contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation.