Active curiosity is a definitive value of Applied Learning for impact. Curiosity is most simply defined as an eager wish to know or learn about something. This is where learning begins.
Francesca Gino (HBR) conducted a survey of more than 3,000 employees where 92% credited curious people with bringing new ideas into teams and organizations and viewed curiosity as a catalyst for job satisfaction, motivation, innovation, and high performance. Makes perfect sense.
This same survey also revealed that only about 24% reported feeling curious in their jobs on a regular basis, and about 70% said they face barriers to asking more questions at work. Makes no sense.
Curiosity is critical, but curious people are often presumed to be harder to manage. Organizations often create barriers to active curiosity, fearing chaos might ensue and control will be lost. Simply executing the decisions made at the top can easily become the status quo. Organizations want curiosity, but they don’t.
People want to be curious, but then they don’t. Many “hope” to be curious, but reject opportunities when they are offered to them. Active curiosity involves questioning the status quo and this doesn’t always produce useful information. It may be a risk for them. The “real” value of the people and then the organization becomes boredom.
An organizational culture facilitating Applied Learning for impact supports curiosity in the effective balance of chaos and control. Ideas and theories are encouraged and tested in early stages, authentic relationships are connective, diversity of strategic thought and experience is encouraged, design of tactics is developed with collective insight and operational plans are aligned and executed together for excellence.
Watch the sidelines during a timeout of a competitive team sport. A great coach will have a dialogue with players on what might work better than what they are currently doing. Active curiosity is encouraged. Ultimately, the coach needs to make a clear decision for what adjustments might be made, but the opportunity to be better as individuals and teams are much stronger when all are curiously enrolled to know and to learn in the process.
“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” — Dorothy Parker —