Curiosity may have killed the proverbial cat, but it’s going to be the one differentiating behaviour for leaders who want to get ahead and make a bigger impact. I thoroughly enjoyed my time talking to Dr. Diane Hamilton, author of the best-selling book Cracking the Curiosity Code and developer of the Curiosity Index. If you missed it, you can catch our conversation here. Diane piqued my own curiosity throughout our conversation. Here are my top 3 takeaways:
1) Say No to the Status Quo
According to Diane’s research, our curiosity (not unlike our creativity) starts to peak at the age of 5 and then goes on a rapid, downhill descent. We get comfortable in our comfort zones and start to (often subconsciously) shift our focus from exploring new horizons to maintaining the status quo. Sadly, innovation doesn’t live in the status quo. We need to work hard to fight against the inertia that can take hold by constantly building our curiosity muscle. Diane recommends small actions that we can put into place easily. Curiosity is a habit that can be cultivated.
2) Curiosity is the New Black
I used to say that “vulnerability is the new black” but after speaking with Diane, I feel like curiosity is going to be the differentiator for successful leaders. To lean into curiosity, leaders are going to have to “lean out” of having all the answers, never letting your team “see you sweat” and thinking that leadership is about being a subject matter expert. The future of great leadership will belong to those who know how to dig deeper, stay quiet longer and ask more powerful questions to get to the innovative and breakthrough ideas.
3) You are Probably a Curiosity Killer
I recognize that there are parts of my job that I am insatiably curious about and other areas that I avoid like the plague. As leaders, how are our own preferences and biases inadvertently shutting down the curiosity of people on our team? As leaders, we cultivate an environment that either supports or curbs curiosity through our individual actions. What we put attention to signals to our team where curiosity will be valued. What potential breakthroughs might we be unintentionally limiting or shutting down completely? Good question to ponder for those of us trying to encourage curiosity and risk taking on our teams.
As always, there was so much more. If you’d like to learn more about Diane’s work, visit her website and if you’re curious about your own curiosity and would like to see what barriers may be inadvertently holding you back, give Diane’s Curiosity Index a try.
Thanks again for joining us for our 2020 Ask the Expert Series. You can find recordings of all our sessions on our YouTube Channel, our Roundtable Academy site and our blog.
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