Are you inadvertently killing curiosity? Although a lot of businesses talk about wanting inquisitive minds in their company more often than not their curiosity is stifled, things like efficiency and conformity are being more important to the company. Curiosity is a good intention but with no follow-up.
Let’s get real about curiosity, Curiosity has probably been the single most important quality to the progress of humanity. From the wheel, to airplanes, to the smartphone, they all have a curious mind at their inception. So why are businesses so adverse to embracing curiosity as an important skill that could change everything?
Curiosity can be powerful in helping a business on many levels. When we are curious, we think more deeply about a problem, we look for innovative solutions and think through all the potential drawbacks. We innovate and are genuinely more creative.
Curiosity can help a business or brand adapt to new market conditions and explore new and more interesting ways to sell their products, things that naturally make a company more resilient to change or to new competition.
Cultivating a culture of curiosity leads to great trust and respect within the team. Leading teams that thrive on innovation are usually always granted the time and space to be curious. This virtuous cycle is only going to benefit any company that chooses to embrace and adopt this way of working.
How do we get more curious?
Sounds great! Right? “Let’s be more curious and everything will be better” So, why do so many businesses stifle inquisitive minds, why are businesses frightened that the risk and perceived inefficiency are too high a price to pay to be curious.
In a survey conducted by the Harvard Business Review in which 3,000 employees from various industries were asked only 24% of them said they felt curious in their job on a regular basis and 70% said they face resistance when they start asking more questions.
Is your business in need of a curiosity shot in the arm? How can you overcome some of the natural barriers to developing a truly innovative and creative team?
The Harvard Business Review research piece goes on to say that when we are curious, we are less likely to fall prey to confirmation bias. Rather than looking for support for our beliefs, or stereotyping people. Curiosity helps us seek out the evidence that we are wrong and stops us from making broad-sweeping judgments about potential candidates.
Curiosity leads to empathy
Curiosity encourages people to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and take an interest in seeing the situation from their perspective. This helps people collaborate more effectively and easily, conflicts are less intense, and the group achieves better results.
So, are you letting short-term targets get in the way of long-term goals? Is the busy work becoming the focus and are you losing sight of the company’s vision? A good question to ask is how can we make our company mission more part of our everyday? How can we evidence our focus or vision? Are there simple things you can create to help the team stay focused?
Do you have the right mindset about exploring possibilities?
Leaders often think that letting their teams follow their curiosity will lead to a costly mess, and often shy away from curiosity because it would make managing a more difficult task. Having an easy life trumps curiosity! How do we overcome this barrier? How do you incentivize curiosity? I’m not suggesting you make it a spectacle or tie it to financial gain, but there is a constant contest between innovation and an easy life, which seems silly but omnipresent. How do you make sure the promise of a better solution looks more attractive than an easy life?
A lack of curiosity killed a brand
A great example of a company choosing efficiency and low risk over curiosity is Ford. In the 1900 Henry Ford created a car for the masses, the Model T Ford accounted for 56% of all car sales, but once such popularity was achieved Ford focused on efficiency and fine-tuning the production line. But as the economy boomed people chose variety over price and they looked elsewhere. Ford’s focus on efficiency over innovation led to Ford losing dominance and allowing others to gain market share.
How do you balance efficiency and innovation?
Can you ask questions like Why? What if? and how might we…? What can you do to make them part of the everyday language and approach you have to even the mundane tasks, making big questions part of the small and every day can help balance efficiency and innovation.
At LO:LA we developed Brand Articulation’ sessions to really help you focus your brand’s why, and set a clear agenda for innovation, we have also developed the Shake Session as a simple tool to help you inject a little ‘what if’ into the everyday. So, if you feel your company is choosing efficiency over innovation and you want a little help then why not give us a call.