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Why the Best Gift You Can Give Your Team Is…Curiosity?

2020 presented teams with disruption to their end markets and personal lives. Not even the desk and chair from which they worked was safe from change.


How do you equip teams to thrive in an era defined by change and “new normals”? 


Ask them to take a lesson from their cat.


A 2018 Harvard Business Review article highlighted four benefits to ‘curiosity’


(1) The curious explore alternatives

They are less susceptible to confirmation bias (looking for information that supports their beliefs and ignoring data suggesting they are wrong). Curious teams also do less stereotyping (making broad judgments). 


(2) Curious teammates onboard more easily

They seek-out information constantly and build their own understanding.


(3) Curious teams view tough situations more creatively

They have less defensive reactions to stress and less negative reactions to setbacks.


(4) Curious teams tend toward less group conflict

Members put themselves in one another’s shoes and take an interest in one another’s ideas rather than focus only on their own perspective. 


So what to do if your team’s curiosity needs a boost?


The most important may be to model inquisitiveness yourself. Most executives feel obliged to provide the answer and show ‘leadership’. However, the best form of leadership — particularly in times of ambiguity — may be to ask questions and listen with curiosity.


As an example, Toyota has maintained a lead over auto manufacturers not by inventing kanbans and lean production, but by maintaining a culture of ‘humble learning’ — of ‘curiosity’ — that is embedded in the Toyota Way.


Want to help your team develop their own curiosity? The Teamraderie “Ode to ‘Curiosity’ in Business” virtual experience is a 45-minute wine tasting that tells the story of lawyer-turned-vintner Jim Barrett who bought a crumbling 150 acre estate in Napa Valley in 1972. Barrett knew little about wine, but hired for ‘curiosity’ and gave his team the confidence to innovate. Four years later, Jim Barrett’s Chateau Montelena produced the world’s #1 rated wine — starting a multi-decade run of producing the world’s most innovative and acclaimed bottles.