Curiosity is Power!

Curiosity is Power!  Sitting on our dock one day last week, a colleague/friend came up with this as the title for the book we are currently writing.  We discussed it and realized how true this is in our world as we transition to a society that values relationships, seeks to understand the perspectives of others so we can build collaboration.  In our words, so we can see, hear and understand each other.

For the past week I have been reflecting on ‘Curiosity is Power’ and really like it.  How do we cultivate curiosity for ourselves and others?  To us, it seems curiosity is about asking questions, *open questions that invite others to share their perspectives on any and every topic.  Open questions help us test assumptions, which in many ways are the antithesis of curiosity.  So often we listen to others, assume what we think they mean is in fact what they mean and move along with our complete picture of what they have said.  They assume we understand what they have said because we agree with them and we assume we understand what has been said because we have a clear picture of what we think has been said, from which we have created our perspective on the issue.

How often do you think our assumptions and their assumptions have helped us all move towards clarity, a place where we are all ‘on the same page’?  How often do we even check to make sure this has happened?  In our fast paced lives, we move on, assuming we all understand each other.

Now that we test assumptions, we have learned this is typically not the case.  What we assume someone has meant by their comments is in fact not the reality and typically we are not on ‘the same page’.  By asking open questions, we are able to test assumptions, gain clarity, and better understand the perspectives of others.  Curiosity helps us to get to a place where we truly are on ‘the same page’.  Through open questions, we are able to better understand each other and with this understanding, we all gain power.  We see, hear and understand each other which enables us to foster more effective relationships and collaborate effectively.

There used to be an expression ‘knowledge is power’ and we would invite you to think of ‘curiosity is power’ as the new expression, one which reflects the value of truly seeking to understand each other.

Over the next week we encourage you to think about being curious in your next conversation.  As you listen, what can you be curious about?  What open question can you ask that supports curiosity, maybe even tests an assumption?

What have you learned from this exercise?  How can you build, and sustain, curiosity in your life?


*Open questions begin with who, what, where, when, and how.  Tell me more is also a great way to gain understanding, learn more and remain curious in a conversation.



Dare to disagree

How many of you have chosen not to do or say something, even though in your bones you wanted to?  You may have questioned it, felt strongly about it or trusted there was another way of doing it and chose to stay silent out of fear or the concern that conflict might arise if you were to speak up.

So many of us are afraid to do or say things that we believe in, question, or disagree with, based on fear of how the resulting conversation might go or the consequences that could arise from it: loss of job, loss of friendship or relationship, fear of looking like a failure, learning something new about someone that you didn’t want to know, fear of not having all the answers, fear of not being/ having/ feeling enough… the list goes on and on.

As we take the listening skills we have covered over the last few weeks and look at choices 3 and 4 that include curiosity and asking questions, we wanted to share with you this TED by Margaret Heffernan: Dare to disagree.

We agree with Margaret that if we want to have thinking organizations and a thinking society, then we need to start teaching communication skills to children and adults, at every stage of their development.  The communications skills that Margaret expresses as being so important, we define as those of a Coaching CultureTM.

Over the next few weeks we will explore the importance of curiosity, asking questions, testing assumptions, how to shift from blame/ criticism into learning and collaboration, and step by step on how to have these “brilliant” challenging conversation as Margaret describes in her TED where the outcome is collaboration and innovation led by the curiosity of possibilities and not the fear of conflict.

Let’s collaborate, together.  We invite you to work with us and challenge us, as we want to work with you and challenge you.  Let’s dare to disagree and as Margaret Heffernan says, be “thinking partners and not echo chambers”.

Click to view Margaret Heffernan: Dare to disagree TED