Curiosity is more than just a nice to have in today’s business context. It is essential to successfully navigate the rapid technological changes coming our way.
For instance for my current client, a large retail company, which is facing significant changes that require an important digital transformation with significant impact on the organization and employees. As program manager supporting this strategic corporate transformation process I witness daily how stimulating people to adopt a curious attitude makes a big difference and has a positive impact. Highly complex transformations like this one often bring people and teams in situations where there are no clear predefined answers and solutions; where people need to explore, need to get outside the ordinary routine, and learn new ways of looking at things to find new ways of working.
It comes down to this: How do we fundamentally react to change?
1) We close off? Try to restore the as-is? See the unknown as a potential threat?
2) We open up? We feel intrigued by it because it’s new and we don’t know it? We open up to it, we want investigate it, understand it, even if it puts us outside our comfort zone?
Reaction 2 has serious advantages! Why?
a) You train yourself in finding patterns, connections, dependencies, mutual impact, which you didn’t see at first. It will help you to find new solutions in a changing business environment, rather than to sticking to traditional ‘right or wrong’ reasoning. It will lead to better decisions.
b) It will make you see the opportunities first and quite possibly give you the skills and relationships to take advantage of these opportunities.
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing things because we’re curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney
That’s why curiosity is a key trait for anyone aspiring to compete and succeed in tomorrow’s economy.
Curiosity is a key attitude for the future
Don’t just take my word for it:
World Economic Forum: Why you should never lose your curiosity
Additional reading suggestions:
Keep an open mind: Why the open mind always outperforms the closed one
Listen to learn, not to react. Ask questions, not only when you do not understand something, but certainly also in global business teams working with people born and raised in different cultures (India, Japan, China, ..): How to create openness
Learn about new technological evolutions, things you don’t know, learn a new language – the possibilities are endless (I love MIT’s open courseware).
Deliberately sideline fear in decision-making. No mercy.
Stimulate members of your business team to do the same.
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Photo: © HRS Business Transformation Services
Aad is a global business advisor, change leader/program manager, executive team facilitator, leadership coach, and frequently asked keynote speaker. He is founder and managing partner at HRS Business Transformation Services where he works with senior executives and their organizations globally in three key domains: ‘leading complex change’, ‘cross-cultural leadership’, and ‘post-merger integration’. Find out more about Aad, our services, and his keynotes. If you would like to invite Aad to your organization contact us.