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Skip to 0 minutes and 4 seconds There’s never been more of a critical time to cultivate a culture fueled by curiosity to ensure the survival of organisations. Whether we’re talking about groundbreaking CRISPR DNA sequencing or 3D printing or robotics, AI, you name it, organisations are operating at warp speed. And they must adapt quickly to thrive. We know, at Google, they’ve long viewed learning agility and curiosity as the leading predictor of success. They’ve placed it above intelligence, above education, but we only see about 15% of employees who have a strongly-developed level of curiosity. While it may seem intuitive to hire for experience, HBR, Harvard Business Review, published research that showed experience is not trivial. But it’s overrated.

Skip to 0 minutes and 48 seconds It can be more important to focus on things like resiliency, adaptability, and definitely curiosity. So it’s really interesting to look at one study of global pharmaceutical leaders. And they found that those with a high level of curiosity received twice as many promotions as those with low levels. So the desire to learn accounts for a low percentage of why a person is promoted. We need to develop curiosity. We can do that by improving the seeking, enhanced learning, those types of unprompted questioning, and all that that goes along with helping individuals perceive change just as less stressful and, therefore, adapt more easily. For organisations, improving curiosity translates into improved innovation, engagement, and just about every factor that ties in to productivity.

Skip to 1 minute and 35 seconds So how does curiosity translate into business results? Well, smart, successful CEOs– they get it. For the ones who don’t, well, what are companies losing for not investing in creating a culture of curiosity? Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about.

Skip to 1 minute and 56 seconds So let’s explore some of the costs involved with lost curiosity. We know we’re losing tens of billions and up each year on emotional intelligence, for lack of it. Two of the most important elements of emotional intelligence are interpersonal skills and empathy. And if we have really good interpersonal skills, we get along with other people. And these are critical skills, because if they’re developed, we experience less conflict. And less cost is involved with less conflict. And then we have more productivity. If we have empathy, we’re able to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, to see things from their perspective. This can help develop those key interpersonal and soft skills. And again, that leads to less conflict and more productivity.

Skip to 2 minutes and 37 seconds Employees know that this is important. 96% of them believe that showing empathy is an important way to advance employee retention. As a leader out there, you’re the mediator between the employees and the leaders. You’re the heart of the organisation and the people who can help create a more curious culture. And a huge challenge for you is overcoming and breaking through the lack of emotional intelligence at the top. The lowest levels of emotional intelligence actually are found in CEOs. And I think it’s because we promote people who are good with people to supervisory positions. But as they continue up this ladder past the middle management level, they enter an environment that can chip away at their level of EQ.

Skip to 3 minutes and 19 seconds They spend less time in meaningful interactions, and they get out of touch. We know that CareerBuilder showed a whopping 58% of managers said they didn’t receive any management training. That could be part of it. Developing empathy would drastically improve their ability to communicate. But do we develop empathy? How do we do it? We ask questions. And that requires curiosity. We know the golden rule of treating others as they’d like to be treated is no longer the best way. It’s more important to follow the platinum rule, which means we should treat others as they would like to be treated. So to understand how they want to be treated, we have to do some exploration.

Skip to 3 minutes and 55 seconds We incorporate what we know about how to interact with others. And that helps us improve our emotional intelligence. And that leads to all kinds of better outcomes, from improved leadership skills, promotability, likeability, and more. It’s intuitive. But it begins with discovery and questioning to broaden our perception. So I wanted to touch on empathy in more detail, because I’ve worked with companies where they saw the value of improving our ability to interact well and having empathy. One company I worked for gave us Management By Strengths, MBS, colour tests. And some of you might have used that one or something similar to it.

Skip to 4 minutes and 29 seconds The company actually required us to use it and post our results on our cubicle so other people knew how to interact with us. At that time, that assessment assigned you to a category. You were either a red, a green, a yellow, or a blue. The reds were more what you’d call direct. And they liked you to get to the point without a lot of fluff. Sometimes they might even hurt your feelings and cut you off if you kind of rambled. So I’m sure some of you can relate to being a red. The green people were the extroverts. That’s what I was. Keep in mind, we all have a little bit of each colour.

Skip to 5 minutes and 0 seconds So you could be part red and a little green. And so you just had your primary type that you shared. But the green people, like me, talked a lot. And they got their feelings hurt if the reds just cut us off in the room. So I’m sure some of you can relate to being green. And then the yellow people were the ones who liked to read the manuals. They like numbers. They’re very quantitative. Sometimes they applied to be in sales, but they weren’t as fond of it as the reds and the greens. And some of you might be able to relate to being yellow. And then the last group were the blues.

Skip to 5 minutes and 30 seconds And they were the calm people who didn’t like to be rushed. And they’re usually really nice. But you didn’t want to push blue too far, because they might lose it. But it wasn’t common for them to. They were very calm people, unless, of course, you slammed down on their desk something you needed and say, I need this yesterday. Then their heads might explode. How many of you can relate to being blue? Right? So having advance knowledge of everyone’s type has helped us learn empathy and develop a more harmonious relationship with others.

Skip to 5 minutes and 56 seconds By understanding why people preferred certain behaviours or responded better to a particular approach, it was easier for us to adjust to the way of interacting that would be most effective and well-received.

Value for business

In this video and the following (in the next step), we will be exploring the value of curiosity in the work place.

Looking at the curiosity of individuals in business settings can give us a more thorough understanding of the different ‘colours’ people represent.

In the video, we learn that people are either:

  • red (direct)
  • yellow (data-driven)
  • green (extroverted)
  • or blue (slower-paced).

Which ‘colour’ are you? How might knowing another person’s colour impact how you interact with them?

Tell us which colour you think you are in the comments!

Now that we have discovered the different types of people in the work place, we can dive further into work place relationships and next look at curiosity, communication and conflict.

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This video is from the free online course:

Innovative Leadership: Developing Curiosity

FutureLearn