When recently researching content for my work on curiosity, I was reminded of the importance of opportunity cost. For those not familiar with the expression, it means, “the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.” In other words, what do you give up when you make a choice of one thing over doing something else? I meet many people who become paralyzed in their decision-making process because they find weighing alternatives challenging. However, what they might forget is that indecision is a decision.
In business leaders, often think about the benefits, profits, and values of actions and choices, but they often overlook how opportunity costs can be associated with people. If people’s skills are under-utilized and they are not aligned to jobs that match their interests, it is essential to consider the opportunity cost involved.
That is why it is important to consider the value of curiosity. I found that four factors hold people back from their natural levels of curiosity. These include fear, assumptions, technology, and environment. Fear can keep people from asking questions, from researching opportunities, and from exploring their natural creativity. Assumptions that employees might not like an activity or might not be good at it can keep people disengaged from improperly matched jobs. Inability to understand technology or fear of it is often overlooked. A culture or environment that does not promote curiosity can be the one thing that keeps the competition one step ahead in the race.
The opportunity cost of not developing curiosity in our workforce can lead to catastrophic results to the economy. Employees will need to learn new skills as technology replaces less-skilled labor. Organizations might have other opportunities for people who show initiative and creativity. Individuals who fear their jobs could be in danger, need to develop foresight to be proactive to change and become indispensable to organizations.
Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Einstein, and others have all credited curiosity with their success. This experience drove me to determine how to ignite that desire in other people. What I discovered was that it was not enough to understand the value of curiosity; it was essential to determine the things that hold people back from being curious. That is why I created the Curiosity Code Index assessment to go along with the book, Cracking the Curiosity Code, to discover the things that impact curiosity and provide an action plan for how to improve.
Cracking the Curiosity Code and the CCI includes everything from:
- How curiosity impacts engagement, creativity, innovation, and productivity
- How fear, assumptions, technology, and environment (FATE) can impact curiosity
- How to set strategies for overcoming the factors that hold people back
The book and assessment are due to be released by the end of 2018. To learn more and get notified of their release, please go to http://curiositycode.com. Consider the opportunity cost of not improving your curiosity. Can you, your company, and your employees afford it?