Why Curiosity in the Workplace?


What happens when we listen more and speak less? What if we asked more questions before coming up with answers? How about using different questions for different challenges?

The Business Case for Curiosity, published by the Harvard Business Review, details the benefits of curiosity in the workplace. We selected four of the benefits that will improve the adaptability and effectiveness of a business:

  1. Curiosity prompts individuals to explore alternative solutions to cope with challenges. When an organization is facing a critical situation, discussing possible outcomes may lead to approaching the situation differently and craft the real needs of the organization, team and individuals.

  2. Encouraging curiosity and the idea to learn the topic is a simple step that helps to answer basic questions and focus on understanding the matter in order to come up with possible alternatives to a solution. Then, adapt and implement the most viable road-map. This cannot be done individually, but rather with the collaboration of an entire team where differences in point of views. Adversity to change will be diminished by this process and help the team embrace the change.

  3. Prioritize the "know how" for a desired results when facing difficult challenges. Following a strategy or plan of action is beneficial to meet targets and expectations. This is a complete different perspective than targeting performance goals. Instead we focus on developing skills, learning from mistakes, and mastering situations.

  4. Explore why? What if? How it might be? These simple questions might guide individuals to work effectively by rethinking and re-questioning the strategies used on tasks and individual responsibility. Remembering, that a good answer comes up after a good question and that each member of a team has a unique skill to perform the best version of their work.

One of my favorite recommendations is to start with the simple questions we often think are too silly to ask. This creates a desire to learn, and grow on the path of developing competence, acquiring skills and solving business challenges. As we head into the new year, make an effort to allow yourself, and your organization, to be curious. Curious to ask questions, uncover inefficiencies, and develop successful business solutions. 

Need help developing a culture of curiosity in your organization?