My dad introduced me to collecting slogan/campaign buttons. He had a collection (actually pretty small I later came to realize) of buttons (the kind that you wear, not the ones used to fasten your clothes). He had some that contained cultural references and some that were related to political campaigns. (Many who know me well, know that this sparked a life long interest in campaign buttons from presidential campaigns old and new).
One button in my dad’s collection that I specifically remember was an adaptation of a quote by Albert Einstein (“Everyone’s a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life thinking it is stupid.”)
The button was (if I remember right) put out by General Electric (note the red capital GE) and said, “Everyone’s a GEnius…only in different subjects”.
What was a nice slogan in the 1960s really has proven to be true. Today we have the concept of Multiple Intelligences. And that concept is really encapsulated in that slogan button from the 1960s.
Many of us are familiar with the concept of IQ (Intelligence Quotient). Misunderstood and abused though it be, it is still a helpful tool. Others may be familiar with EQ (Emotional Quotient, or Emotional Intelligence) as coined by Daniel Goleman from Harvard Univ. Less familiar, perhaps is one’s AQ (Adversity Quotient)-which measures a person’s ability to respond to adversity. This predicts who gives up and who fights back and wins. (I think there should be a DQ: the ability to find ice cream no matter where he/she is).
Recently I was introduced to CQ. Now there are a several characteristics called CQ, although they are somewhat related: Creativity Quotient (the ability to generate innovative ideas and manifest them from thought into reality), Cultural Intelligence (the capacity to be effective in diverse cultural contexts) and Curiosity Quotient.
I briefly want to focus on CQ: Curiosity Quotient.
Earlier this year PWC (PriceWaterhouseCoopers) released a survey of more than 1,000 CEOs asking about leadership traits that they see as increasingly critical in our world. Holding solid places on the list were “curiosity” and “innovation”.
Comments in that survey included:
- Business leaders who “are always expanding their perspective and what they know—and have that natural curiosity—are the people that are going to be successful.”—Alan D. Wilson, CEO of McCormick & Company.
- What attribute CEOs will need most to succeed in the turbulent times ahead? “I would place my bet on curiosity.” –Michael Dell (Dell, Inc.)
- “These days, a leader’s primary occupation must be to discover the future… [It is] a continual search.” –Ron Shaic, CEO, Panera Bread.
Leaders who are curious and inquisitive can “can set an example that inspires creative thinking throughout the company”, according to Hollywood producer Brian Grazer. “If you’re the boss, and you manage by asking questions, you’re laying the foundation for the culture of your company or your group,” Grazer writes in his book, A Curious Mind.
Part of the problem is that many leaders have gotten where they are by providing solutions and fixes, not by creating new questions! Curiosity doesn’t come naturally to how many leaders have learned to lead.
How can the leader become more curious? Some say that you can’t. You either ARE curious or you aren’t. I reject that. I believe that all of us can grow in whatever areas we need (and desire) to.
Jonathan Wai in Psychology Today has listed seven ways to begin to become more curious:
- Read widely and follow your interest
- Polish your mind with the minds of others (related to the above, this involves not just reading books but by dialoguing with people who challenge and inspire you)
- Visit a physical bookstore or library and browse the shelves
- Be willing to ask dumb questions
- Put a lot of ideas and facts in your head: Don’t rely on Google
- Be an expert who is interested in everything
- Don’t just focus on puzzles but on mysteries
Do you think that people can grow in curiosity or is it a trait that is inborn and pretty much static throughout one’s life? If the former, what things have you done to grow your curiosity?
Warren Berger, “Why Curious People Are Destined for the C-Suite.” “Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2015/09/why-curious-people-are-destined-for-the-c-suite.
Jonathan Wai. “Seven Ways to Be More Curious” Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/finding-the-next-einstein/201407/seven-ways-be-more-curious