Cracking the Curiosity Code: The Key to Unlocking Human Potential – An interview with Dr. Diane Hamilton

Cracking the Curiosity Code: The Key to Unlocking Human Potential – An interview with Dr. Diane Hamilton

The following is a guest blog post from by Ton Dobbe – Chief Inspiration Officer, Value Inspiration

Every week I interview entrepreneurs and experts from around the world to share their big idea about new forms of value creation and the potential we can unlock when technology augments the unique strengths of people to deliver remarkable impact.

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Curiosity: The Inspiration for Innovation, Resilience, and Sustainability

In an age of distraction, with market volatility, and constant uncertainty, organizations face challenges to their ability to maintain a resilient workforce. Issues that impact sustainability in innovation include the environment, society, and economics. In constantly changing times, taking the ground most traveled and embracing the status quo is no longer a viable option. Truly resilient organizations must embrace robust transformation. Lengnick-Hall described organizational resilience as, “the capacity to act robustly in the face of environmental turbulence and to adapt to the ongoing environmental changes.” Organizations must look to ideas never considered when developing innovation that is resilient and sustainable.   That is where curiosity can play an important role.

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Inspiring Employees to Innovate Requires Removing Barriers

Attend any leadership conference, and the buzzword will be innovation. The focus on artificial intelligence has made it inevitable. To be truly innovative requires employees who embrace the ability to question processes and policies. It is also essential for employees to feel confident their organization’s culture provides a haven for inquiry and discovery.

Some of the top research organizations have concluded that the need for innovation will require adaptability to focus on skills needed to compete. The McKinsey Global Institute conducted a study of more than 3000 c-level executives in seven countries in 2018, and they found executives believe there will be a need for more advanced technological and cognitive skills; there will be an increase in emphasis on team-based work; nearly 20% of companies believe their executives lack the knowledge to adopt artificial intelligence; and competition for skilled workers will increase, with firms who are early-adopters of automation likely to snag the best talent.

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Opportunity Cost and Its Relationship to Curiosity at Work

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?

Top 10 TED Talks for Insight on Curiosity

Curiosity has been linked in engagement, emotional intelligence, communication, motivation, creativity, innovation, productivity and more.  As part of research for Cracking the Curiosity Code, combing through TED talks was a fascinating way to review some important research into the area of curiosity.  The following includes some highlights from some of the most insightful talks that inspire and educate regarding the importance of curiosity.

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TTL 203 | The Anxiety Toolkit

Brand Marketing With Dr. John Tantillo And The Anxiety Toolkit With Dr. Alice Boyes

Forget about the debate speech minutiae. The meteoric rise of political brands like Obama, Trump, and Sanders prove that marketing is the new normal in politics. Sure, communication is still important – but it’s only one part in the political machinery. Marketing satisfies the voter (customer) needs; while branding showcases the personality attributes that get voters to focus on the needs-message. John Tantillo, Ph.D. uses his background in applied research psychology to assess the problems which face businesses and brands, including local/national campaigns. Dr. Tantillo is presently an Opinion Columnist for Newsmax where his column “The Marketing and Branding Lens” analyzes the topics of the day using two essential disciplines. He is also an independent consultant for the NYC Department of Small Business Services.

Self-sabotage in the workplace is a lot more prevalent than you think. It affects people in different ways, whether at work or at home. And for society to recover from self-sabotaging thinking patterns, it needs to assemble a healthy mind toolkit – preferably one that’s prescribed by Alice Boyes, Ph.D. As the author of The Healthy Mind Toolkit and The Anxiety Toolkit, Dr. Boyes helps people learn how to reprogram thinking patterns that often contribute to self-sabotage. She is also a popular blogger for Psychology Today, amassing more than 11 million hits for her articles. Her research has been published by The American Psychological Association. And before making the career change to a writer, Dr. Boyes was a clinical psychologist in her native New Zealand.

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TTL 211 | Tax Free Wealth

The Platinum Rule with Dr. Tony Alessandra and Tax Free Wealth with Tom Wheelwright

Educators put such an emphasis put on the three Rs which is reading, writing and arithmetic, but there is actually a fourth R which is so crucially important, and that is relationships. Relationship skills, emotional intelligence, and effective listening are basic people skills that the corporate environment is lacking. Dr. Tony Alessandra, voted the #1 World’s Top Communication Guru, is a legend of the speaking profession who created a concept called The Platinum Rule which is a free online assessment to determine your people and relationship skills. Taxes can be so confusing, but Tom Wheelwright says all people really have to recognize is that the tax law is fundamentally a series of incentives. Tom is a leading wealth and tax expert, global speaker, and entrepreneur. He is a CPA, founder and CEO of WealthAbility, and bestselling author of Tax-Free Wealth. Tom is best known for making taxes fun, easy and understandable, and specializes in helping entrepreneurs and investors build wealth through practical and strategic ways that permanently reduce taxes.

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TTL 210 | Direct Marketing

Direct Marketing with Brian Kurtz and Turning Great Athletes Into Businessmen with Monica Morton

Marketing isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. Brian Kurtz, founder and CEO of Titans Marketing, professes his love for direct marketing and always likes to talk about an expression which goes ‘those who did it have a responsibility to teach’. He realized that at a certain point, it made more sense for him to be able to take the fundamentals he did as a marketer and to bring that to another generation of marketers, copywriters, and entrepreneurs. Brian says it’s a very jumbled and confusing marketplace, so if you don’t have the fundamentals of marketing, you’re just going to be another face in the crowd. For Monica Morton, she and her team have seen it all. Monica is the president and CEO of Know LLC. She is a licensed private investigator specializing in sports and entertainment investigations. In an effort to be proactive and not reactive, she conducted extensive research and developed a program of services to assist young men and women in making better choices.

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TTL 209 | Triggers Book

Discussing “Triggers” and “How Women Rise” With Dr. Marshall Goldsmith and Dissecting The COO Business Forum With Bill Shepard

As we grow older, our level of aspiration can actually go down and down and down. But our little impact, it’s going up. Quit worrying about what you’re not going to change; what’s important in life now are the smaller things. One person sends you an email that says, “My life is a little bit better off because of something you did” – and surprisingly, that’s enough. Let’s face it: You’re not going to cure cancer. You’re not going to stop global warming by yourself. You’re getting older, but is there something else you can achieve? You can trigger change in business. Explore “Triggers” with Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, who authored and edited 36 books – which have sold over two million copies, been translated into 32 languages and become listed bestsellers in 12 countries. Along with Triggers, his two other New York Times bestsellers are MOJO and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There – the Harold Longman Award winner for Business Book of the Year. Both his books have been included by Amazon.com in the top 100 books ever written in their category.

There needs to be more attention to what the Chief Operating Officer (COO) does because a lot of people are confused by that sometimes. Bill Shepard explains that the CEO is responsible for doing the right thing and the COO is responsible for doing things right. The COO operates the plan, drives the execution, and orchestrates all the different divisions to pull off the execution of the business. And Bill should know: he founded and launched the COO Forum in 2004 in the San Francisco Bay/Silicon Valley Area. The association provides a forum for Chief Operating Officers and other Second-in-Command Executives; shares and develops best practices; and aims to improve the awareness of COO’s role within the greater business community.

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TTL 208 | Grow Your Business

Seven Proven Principles to Grow Your Business With Jeff Hoffman

In order to successfully grow your business, you must learn how to be curious about everything. Reinvention is the name of the game for a lot of different industries – and if you wish to thrive in this changing business landscape, you have to adapt and scale your business accordingly. Today, Jeff Hoffman reveals the secrets of success and survival. Jeff is the author of Scale: Seven Proven Principles to Grow Your Business and Get Your Life Back. He’s a billionaire. He has gone to Yale. He’s been involved with a lot of well-known companies, including Priceline.com, uBid.com, and ColorJar. Jeff has done everything exciting in life: from being a successful entrepreneur, proven CEO, worldwide motivational speaker, published author, film producer and producer of a Grammy-winning jazz album in 2015 to being the founder of multiple startups. If you desire to succeed like the world’s greatest innovators, then Jeff can show you exactly how: just stay curious!

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