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A case for a more curious you in 2020

“I think I benefited from being equal parts ambitious and curious. And of the two, curiosity has served me best.” ― Michael J Fox

Does your leadership style indicate a mindset of curiosity?  And, not just any curiosity. I mean the kind of courageous curiosity that enables you to actively and bravely learn about yourself and the impact you have on others. The curiosity to move away from the status quo and ask what else might be possible for yourself, your team and your organization. The curiosity that drives you to your greatest potential.

Why curiosity?

In our increasingly complex and ambiguous world, success is becoming less about having all the answers and more about asking the right questions. By asking the right questions, you can bring a new perspective to a problem or challenge.  It would seem rather obvious that leaders who adopt a mindset of curiosity will have a distinct competitive advantage over their peers. But if you need further evidence, the last decade has given us plenty of corporate examples of the cost of not adopting a mindset of curiosity - Sears, Blockbuster, Kodak and Yahoo to name a few. Instead, these companies held on to tried and true models, stagnated and disappeared or lost valuable market position. These companies lacked leaders who embraced a mindset of curiosity.

As we move into a new decade, curiosity is foundational to companies being able to adapt and transform. It is not a surprise that it is becoming a key predictor of leadership potential on leadership assessments and a key skill influencing hiring and promotion decisions. 

Here are nine signs you possess a curious mindset.

  1. You never turn down an opportunity to learn new things.

  2. You listen without judgement, bias or agenda.

  3. You ask a lot of open-ended questions.

  4. You are willing to make mistakes.

  5. You regularly question your assumptions and beliefs.

  6. You aren’t afraid of saying “I don’t know”.

  7. You enjoy trying new things.

  8. You enjoy surprises.

  9. You think beyond the present to imagine many possible futures.

[What’s Your Curiosity Profile? Take the quiz.]

How can you develop a more curious mindset?

  • Listen. Listen to genuinely understand the other person. 

  • Speak last. Enjoy the benefit of hearing a wide variety of perspectives before sharing your own.

  • Change your statements into Learner Questions. Learner questions facilitate progress by expanding options.

  • Get comfortable with saying “I don’t know”. Let’s face it, it’s impossible to know everything. Saying "I don't know" opens the door to uncover new perspectives which can lead to better decision making and greater trust within your team. 

  • Explore other perspectives. Ask yourself “What else could be true about this situation or this person?” 

  • Adopt a beginner’s mind. In Zen Buddhism, this is known as shoshin. Shoshin refers to the idea of letting go of your preconceptions and having an attitude of openness when studying a subject. When you are a true beginner, your mind is empty and open.

  • Diversify your interests. When you are a curious beginner, you bring a sense of wonder and awe that is harder to bring out where you are experienced.

  • Practice, practice, practice. What will you start or stop doing today? This week? This month? This quarter? What change will you observe in yourself? What will others see? 

It is only from a place of courageous curiosity that your desired future can begin to take shape. In other words, a curious mindset is a foundation to unlocking greater potential - in yourself, in your team and in your company. 

What are you waiting for?

On my shelf

Everyone is born curious. So, what happens? Why do some people become less curious than others? For individuals, leaders, and companies to be successful, they must determine the things that hold curiosity hostage.

About Me.

My work connects me with some pretty amazing humans. As clients, they have an insatiable curiosity about themselves and the impact they make. They harness the courage to move outside their comfort zone for the sake of being better and they make an unwavering commitment to their own personal transformation.

Reach Your Peak was born out of my vision to help my clients thrive and not just survive. As a leadership coach, I am often asked to suggest pieces of thought leadership and tools to support my client’s movement towards their desired outcomes. The purpose of this newsletter is to offer this content to a wider audience interested in expanding their learning edge.  

Want to learn how you can be a better leader? Subscribe to Reach Your Peak.


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