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Fostering A Mindset Of Discovery: Three Ways To Grow Curious Leaders

Source | CEO.Com

In the context of leading people, a mindset of discovery is embodied by the belief that we are better together. Expanding perspectives and exploring differing views are important aspects of running a successful business.

Open-mindedness and curiosity often lead to calculated risk-taking, one of the hallmarks of innovation. In fact, these two characteristics were among the top traitsidentified in a recent survey of 1,400 CEOs as the most critical for effective leadership.

Curiosity compels you to ask questions and seek out new information, signaling interest in both the world around you and the intricacies of how things work. Individuals who embody a natural curiosity tend to succeed because their inherent open-mindedness ultimately leads them to the best solutions.

As CEO, it’s up to you to promote curiosity across your organization, leading by example and hiring and encouraging people who possess this important quality. Doing so will help ensure the continuous flow of ideas and innovation required to sustain a successful future for your company.

Discovery Requires Curiosity

The common symbol of the lightbulb representing an idea is apt: Something as commonplace as flipping a switch can spark the curious mind. What happens between the light switch and the bulb? How does that tiny bit of mechanical energy release electrical energy that instantaneously transforms into light?

Similarly, you should want to know how your people work. What motivates and inspires them to join a team or a project? How do they learn best? A mindset of discovery doesn’t presume an answer; it forces you to seek out people with unique perspectives to help you see problems from various angles. Make curiosity one of your core organizational values, and you’ll likely see this curiosity amplified by a competitive desire to find the best solution.

Of course, the “best” solution is not necessarily the “perfect” solution — “best” merely refers to the optimal answer at a certain point in time, given the additional constraints of resources, time, and talent.

Developing a Discovery Mindset Takes Practice

When you view a problem from different perspectives, solutions that were once hidden suddenly shine like a beacon. Thinking differently leads to seeing differently, which leads to solving differently.

One habit I found useful was to take a different route home from work for several days. After picking my children up from camp, I’d let them decide which way to turn at each intersection. This exercise empowered them and reminded me about the value of seeing things differently.

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