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Written by Brent Knight, President of ISS

What does this even mean? I used to get annoyed at the word “curiosity” and especially in business. I viewed it as a scapegoat for non-performance.

I am sure that last sentence has you wondering a bit. Well, for those who know me, you know that I have always been intense and driven for results. When I was younger, I was so intense that I was intolerant of those who were not action-oriented or did not produce consistent, high-performance results. To me, anything that deterred from action and results was just mumbo jumbo.

I think that I am a bit wiser now. Sure, I am still intense and expect results from everyone, but I really appreciate this concept of curiosity. Why? It shifts a culture from judgement or blame, to a culture of seeking to understand why things are the way that they are. Sure, sometimes that curiosity leads to the realization that someone did not put in the effort, but most often, I have found that there was good intention and hard work, but the result did not turn out as expected.

As a leader in business, I believe that the curiosity approach may be the single most important leadership quality or action. It builds trust, determines the root cause of successes and failures, helps in the creation of expectation and accountability, and propels us forward.

Think about how you can use this approach daily in both your personal and professional life and how it might produce different results. I know that it transformed me, and I am sure that many would tell you that I am much more pleasant now, than I was then.