Curiosity in the Workplace

Jul 29, 2020

Curiosity is the backbone of innovation.

Those who not only embrace change but seek it regularly are often the ones who have the potential to make the greatest impact in the world around them. 

Francesca Gino, a Harvard Business School professor and the most recent guest on my podcast, is passionate about this idea of curiosity. 

For Francesca, curiosity is important to so many aspects in life, including what you learn, your level of persistence, and good decision making. But the tricky thing about this quality is that most of us left it behind at a young age. Francesca dropped the surprising statistic that most of us have curiosity levels that peak at age four or five. 

I mean, think about it. You probably asked a lot of questions as a kid without fear of looking ridiculous or sounding stupid. But the older you get, the more aware you become of being judged by others. 

What if I told you the key to success in the workplace is increasing both your own curiosity level and that of the people around you?

When we keep curiosity alive, we effectively combat a workplace of frustration by creating an environment of joy and intrigue. 

Judgement is the enemy of curiosity. As you grow older and your desire to impress the people around you increases, your awareness of judgement exponentially begins to rise as well. Feeling pressured or judged by others at work is something that can be at play under the surface of any work culture. 

As leaders and influential employees, we need to take the initiative to ask questions and make changes where and when we can. 

A great insight that Francesca tied into this idea of building others up is a principle used in improv comedy. This is the “yes, and…” technique, an idea that my own team tries to use as much as possible to build off of the ideas of others. This allows for a constructive conversation that builds as members of the group present their own opinions. 

How can you encourage curiosity among your team members and implement a “yes, and…” environment that builds upon the ideas of others?

For more on this topic, including my entire conversation with Francesca Gino, check out the Created For Experience podcast. You can find more of Francesca’s content at rebeltalents.org. 

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