Insight News

Feb 11th

Listening with curiosity

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At an event this week, I had a chance to hear about the internal workings of companies around town – what the different company cultures are about and how management at these companies want to shape their company cultures and the challenges they face. A common theme was around curiosity. One manager said they're going for a "culture of curiosity," and another manager agreed that that was a good idea. Get your people curious, get them asking questions, get them psyched up to learn and to innovate.

Sounds great. Now, how do we do that? And why does it matter? These are the questions I asked, and the response of one participant really put curiosity into perspective for me in a way that applies to everyone, whether someone is trying to drive culture change or is simply driving the family to a football game. "Curiosity is about asking questions," this manager said. "And more importantly, it is about listening to the answers to those questions."

Nobody listens anymore. We all know that. With the barrage of information coming at all of us every day (even billboards change their images every fourteen seconds), who has time to really listen? This point became really clear when the manager described a recent meeting. She said, the executive team had agreed on developing a culture of curiosity. Then they agreed that listening would be a key piece of that. And then they wanted to know, "What should our message be while we're listening?" They wanted to know how to lead a conversation where they were supposed to be listening. They wanted to know what to... SAY... while listening.

The answer? Just listen. Just get curious. Just find out what there is to find out. Don't say anything. You might be surprised at what you hear when you take the time to listen to what the rest of the world is saying.

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