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Curious about Curiosity Research?

Collected by Kristin Wermus, PCC

There is an old joke about "Curiosity killed the cat," but I'm fairly certain that satisfaction brought him back. Curiosity may be the catalyst for trouble, but it also is the necessary resource required in times of trouble. A perfect example of this is Nasa putting men in space and then having to rethink their thinking to ensure they made it back alive. But if it weren't for their curiosity, there are many things we would not have today. Here are just a few:

  • Camera Phones

  • Scratch-Resistant Lenses

  • CAT Scans

  • LEDs

  • Land Mine Removal

  • Athletic Shoes

  • Foil Blankets

  • Water Purification

In a recent survey of more than 3000 employees conducted by Harvard Business School, only 24% reported feeling curious in their jobs regularly. Many businesses say they want curious employees, yet most of those same companies fear it will merely increase risk and inefficiency. Because of this assumption, more than 70% of those surveyed reported barriers to being curious or asking questions at work. If only more leaders could focus on the many benefits of encouraging curiosity rather than the potential pitfalls, they would experience more of the following:

  • Fewer decision-making errors

  • Enhanced innovation

  • Reduced conflicts

  • Better team performance and communication

  • Happier employees

  • Resilient and resourceful teams

Boosting Creativity One of the best ways to enhance curiosity is to practice asking provoking questions instead of providing proven solutions. When we ask questions, we are engaged in a listening mode of "trying to understand" instead of "trying to fix, evaluate, solve, or shortcut the answers." Operating from curiosity gives us the freedom to explore without limitation and often leads to a much better solution than the first one we automatically constructed. For example, a Navy Seal once told me that one of their training exercises is in the desert, where they must figure out a way to make it 200 yards to one of their guys standing in the middle of nowhere. They cannot be detected any step of the way. To add to the challenge, these men have no trees or shelter in sight to hide their movements along the way. In every instance, those who immediately choose and execute their first determined path to reach their man overwhelmingly fail the exercise. Why? The obvious solution they saw as the only apparent option. If they asked a few more questions, they could have activated their curiosity and safely made it to their man without putting anyone at risk.

Curiosity Questions for Self Discovery: - Where are you most curious in your life right now? - What will you gain by being curious? - What might you have to let go of?

Are you seeking to enhance your curiosity further or hoping to assist others better as they wander in their wonders? Then, check out our newest course.

Powerful Questions Lab: Anyone can ask questions, but not all questions have the power to change an outcome. Depending on the construction and alignment of a question, it will either open someone's mind or narrow their perceived options. People often think they need to ask questions that lead to assured outcomes, but all that does is reinforce probability. This course assists participants in understanding the proper ingredients needed to cultivate unlimited possibilities.


  • Discover the difference and impact of a leading question versus a powerful question

  • Learn the key elements that make up a powerful question

  • Practice and receive feedback creating powerful questions

Email to learn more about the class.

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