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How to Spark Curiosity in Your Team

May 27, 2020 | 11m

Get Actionable Insights to:

  • Cultivate curiosity in your employees using the FUEL framework
  • Strike a balance between curiosity and key corporate objectives
  • Common ways that you might be curbing curiosity in your team


Does Curiosity Really Kill the Cat?

Remember the popular proverb, “Curiosity killed the cat”? You’ve probably heard of it while you were growing up, possibly as a cautionary tale, warning you of the dangers of unnecessary investigation or experimentation. And you might have unconsciously brought this belief of yours into the workplace as a leader, paying it forward by not encouraging your employees’ to be curious beyond their job scope.

However, did you know that “curiosity killed the cat” is only one part of the famous proverb? “Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.” is a more contemporary variation that includes the rejoinder “but satisfaction brought it back.”

Although the original version was used to warn of the dangers of unnecessary experimentation, the addition of the rejoinder indicates that the risk would lead to resurrection because of the satisfaction felt after finding out. The resurrection element may be a reference to the “multiple lives” of a cat. This may ironically be what every organisation is striving for in today’s increasingly volatile world where a single economic lifeline may no longer be enough to ensure the organisation’s fiscal longevity.

The Understated Importance of Curiosity

In my opinion, curiosity is one of the most important personal qualities every leader wants their employees to have — a Harvard Business Review study, for example, found that 83% of executives say they encourage curiosity in their employees. This is even more so in the domain that you consider yourself as knowledgeable in, and the only way that you could be the best and could compete with the rest is when you are concerned about learning new things.

Why then, is curiosity so important for your organisation? Curiosity is important for your organisation because it helps your organisation to excel. When you look at a two-year old, one of the traits that they have is the ability to learn from observing. That is why the brain of a five-year old is the most absorbent and your ability to pick up things fast blossoms at an early age.

Hence, if you are operating your organisation as a knowledge workforce, the only way it can propel forward is if it’s in the business to learn. Curiosity instils that important ingredient in the organisation, it injects that shot in the arm for your organisation to continue with the process of learning. Whether it is learning by asking the right questions, learning by looking for answers that are not the status quo, or learning by looking at others and seeing if there are better ways to do the same thing, it all boils down to curiosity.

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