Often when we think of curiosity, we think of children. However, curiosity is not something that should be reserved for children. In a Harvard Business Review Article, it was highlighted that creating a culture of curiosity in your organization can provide numerous benefits. Creating an environment where curiosity is encouraged can help almost all areas of your organization. Here are a few of the organizational benefits that curiosity presents:[i]
- Fewer decision-making errors
- Increased amounts of innovation and creativity
- Less conflict
- Increased amounts of communication
- Overall improved team performance
While there are numerous organizational benefits to curiosity, many organizations are reluctant to promote curiosity. One of the primary reasons for this is that many organizations believe – perhaps subconsciously – that having curious employees threatens leadership. This could not be further from the truth. Helping employees understand how to ask questions is a crucial part of helping your team grow and develop. Creating a culture of curiosity can help both employees and leaders gain insight into the perspectives of others and learn something new each day.
Based on Harvard Business Review’s article, here are two of my favorite take-aways for how to incorporate curiosity into your culture:[ii]
Curiosity Starts with Leadership
One of the most interesting take-aways from the article answered the questions of: Who should be curious? Many believe that only employees should be curious. However, it is also instrumental for leaders to be curious as well. It is important for leaders to ask their employees questions to understand their thoughts, perspectives, and the way they approach their work. By having leaders approach conversations with employees from a position of curiosity, there is room for learning and growth.
Another reason that it is so important for leaders to ask questions is because many employees are afraid of asking questions. Many people believe they will be viewed as less-educated or unqualified for their position just because they ask a question that someone else knows the answer to. This idea can be disintegrated by leaders setting the example for asking questions. Employees will see their leaders asking questions and become more comfortable with expressing their curiosity.[iii]
Hire for Curiosity
Another interesting point made in the study highlighted that many large organizations are beginning to hire based on curiosity. An important part of hiring any new candidate is their willingness to learn. Someone who is curious is more likely to be interested in learning new ideas, techniques, and perspectives. Large organizations like Google are beginning to integrate curiosity into their list of qualifications for possible candidates. CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt has stated, “We run this company on questions, not answers. Having curious employees can directly impact numerous areas of your organization, therefore, we should all begin to follow suit. Hiring employees who are curious automatically brings in more open-minded, thoughtful, and innovative employees.[iv]