Amanda Groves

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Everyone knows that curiosity killed the cat, but you may be less familiar with the words of Albert Einstein, who once said that “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence.” In business, curiosity is always a good thing. It’s how we learn, grow, form new ideas, and become more innovative. Encouraging curiosity at every level in your organization can not only help you build a better business, but also enhance your company’s culture.

Curiosity leads to innovation and engagement

The power of curiosity is that it’s all about possibility. When employees are curious — and encouraged to be so — they ask the questions and seek the answers necessary for innovation. Curiosity drives creativity. Whether it’s developing new products or coming up with a new way of doing things, when people are inquisitive, they can make remarkable discoveries and turn industries and businesses on their heads.

Curious employees are also more open to new ideas and experiences. When their talents are appreciated, they experience career enrichment, job satisfaction, and are driven to achieve even more. They are the kind of people who are always expanding their skillsets and see opportunities for change and improvement. Curious employees are also more likely to be engaged with their organization, particularly if their ideas are harnessed and used to strengthen their team and company’s culture.

Curiosity leads to greater collaboration

According to the legendary Apple founder Steve Jobs, “Innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem. It’s ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea.”

When curiosity abounds in business, people tend to bounce ideas off each other and great things happen. Curious people don’t just ask questions and suggest ideas; they listen to others, collaborate and take advantage of their teammate’s talents. And when people work in teams and achieve great results, they enjoy their roles more and are naturally motivated to pursue even more success.

Fostering ownership

When curiosity is encouraged, employees are more likely to engage in meetings because they know they can affect the outcome. By asking them for their input and acting on it, workers develop a sense of ownership and commitment to the organization. Instead of just telling employees how things will be done, tapping into their natural curiosity can result in innovative solutions. Asking and listening empowers people and demonstrates that their thoughts and ideas are just as valuable as their leaders. When they feel like they have a say in where the business is headed, it creates buy-in and helps employees to feel more invested in their organization’s success.

Curiosity builds better cultures

Great workplace cultures are built on curiosity and the thinking, listening, presentation of ideas and finding of solutions that results from it. When you encourage and foster curiosity, you often find innovative solutions, bring out the best in your people, and help set your organization on a path to greater success. Those are massive gains and they can come at a very low cost.

What do you do to promote curiosity at your organization?

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