The Curiosity Challenge
One of my favorite on-screen tropes is “sharking.” Regardless of what genre you prefer, I guarantee you’ve seen it somewhere. A bully challenges someone to prove their worth, not realizing their competitor is more qualified than they let on. Maybe it’s a pool shark, maybe it’s an arm-wrestling competition, or perhaps it’s a not-so-friendly game of darts as seen in this clip from the popular comedy Ted Lasso which brilliantly sums up the importance of curiosity:
In this clip, we see the scene’s antagonist, Rupert has been sharked in a game of darts. Beyond losing the game and the bet, Rupert sabotaged his chance at success by making a judgment about Ted’s skills instead of showing curiosity. As Ted points out, approaching the situation with questions could have yielded a different approach or even different results.
In fast-paced work environments where rapid-fire decisions are often the norm, this is critical to remember. We can survive based on what we think we know or thrive by continuing to learn, ensuring we know the facts surrounding a situation.
Beyond asking questions, curiosity can be fulfilled when we observe and listen. How is your team feeling? What is your client struggling with? Taking the time to connect with others gives us the opportunity to go above and beyond, cementing your role as a trustworthy and empathetic leader.
Practicing curiosity is an investment in yourself and your team. How will you challenge yourself to stay curious? Some of my favorite ways include:
- Having a conversation with someone new
- Taking a class
- Volunteering your time
- Saying “yes” to something you don’t want to
- Asking “why?” before reacting to a statement that upsets you
I have the privilege and challenge of being able to approach every executive search with curiosity in order to find the right fit. What does the company need? What makes the candidate tick? How does their experience serve the opportunity?
Every search begins with a question, and I’m curious: what’s your favorite way to stay curious?