What I’m Reading: The Business Case for Curiosity

Case for Curiosity

By Lyn Turknett

Co-founder & Co-chair, Turknett Leadership Group

Harvard Business Review
The Business Case for Curiosity.
by Francesca Gino

September, 2018

Why is Curiosity Important For Leaders?

I find it incredibly hard to come up with a succinct answer to that question – I think curiosity is core to being human – but if forced to boil it down, I’d say there are two big reasons:

First, leaders today must be constant learners – always growing, always adapting, always open to what’s next. We’ve known for a while that learning agility predicts leadership success. Curiosity is at the core of that ability to continually reflect on mistakes, learn new skills, and welcome challenges. Curiosity also helps leaders build relationships – curious leaders are fascinated by other people.

Second, only curious leaders can build the kind of innovative cultures needed to survive. Curious leaders ask questions rather than just give answers, rarely shut down debate, and promote learning environments where everyone is a part of innovation and change.

Why is Curiosity Important in Organizational Culture?

I don’t think there’s any disagreement about the fact that all organizations have to be adaptable to survive – we all know the stories of Blockbuster, Kodak, and the entire taxi industry. I think curious people within organizations, and a culture that encourages curiosity to flourish are essential for success.

There’s even research that supports how important curiosity as a trait is to successful problem solving. One of my favorite HBR articles is The Business Case for Curiosity. As the author says, “the impulse to seek new information and experiences and explore novel possibilities is a basic human attribute.”

Organizations and leaders that encourage natural human curiosity will be ahead of the game in innovation and adaptability.