The older I get and the more people I meet, the more it is confirmed in my mind that curiosity is a highly desirable trait. Curiosity is a simple recipe for improving intelligence, persevering through hard times, and achieving meaningful goals. Without curiosity, one is too easily content to settle for the status quo and not grow – personally or professionally.
A couple years ago, an executive friend shared with me that his Fortune 500 company specifically tests for curiosity when recruiting new talent. The idea is, candidates who demonstrate curiosity are more likely to improve their education, training, and leadership ability. They never stop reading and asking questions; and become more effective in their line of work as a result.
Of course, being curious is also a great way to build personal friendships and working relationships. Have you ever met someone who loves to talk about themselves and their weekend, but never turn things around and ask about your kids or whatever? I would bet they are not on your list of favorite people. Curious people are naturally more understanding and fun to be with.
Curiosity is getting more attention and research all the time. The most recent issue of Harvard Business Review has made it a feature article as well. According to HBR, curiosity can improve a firm’s adaptability and performance.
Additionally, this same article posits that curiosity leads to fewer decision-making errors. A deeper level of analysis and number of options come from asking more questions. Curiosity also reduces group conflict and leads to more open communication. And it can mean viewing problems more creatively – with less stress.
Some people assume that asking questions in a meeting shows a lack of understanding, or that they are not as smart as other people in the room. But the opposite is true. Asking questions shows you are engaged, that you want to learn, and you care about the end-result. Don’t be a bump-on-the-log that just attends but does not participate in meetings. This is a waste of company time.
So be curious! Every day, with every person, and in every challenge. Experience the joy of finding new pathways to better relationships and success. In fact, how can we live our core value of innovation at Melink – without being curious?