Opportunity Cost and Its Relationship to Curiosity at Work

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, ‚Äúthe loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.‚ÄĚ 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?

Hiring Graduates Based on Personality Skills

HR professionals within organizations have given personality assessments to potential employees for many years. I was asked to take a personality assessment for a pharmaceutical sales job in 1987.¬† The changes I have noticed since that time include the type and frequency of personality tests given.¬† What also may be trending is the fact that leaders of schools have become more interested in personality assessments. In the Wall Street Journal article Business Schools Know How You Think, but How Do You Feel, author Melissa Korn explained, ‚ÄúProspective MBA students need to shine by showing emotional traits like empathy, motivation, resilience, and dozens of others.‚Ä̬† Schools may be interested in these traits because organizations value these traits.¬† Korn also explained, ‚ÄúMeasuring EQ-or emotional intelligence quotient-is the latest attempt by business schools to identify future stars.‚ÄĚ

I find this trend to be particularly interesting because I teach business, I am a qualified Myers Briggs instructor, a certified EQ-i instructor, and I wrote my dissertation on the relationship between emotional intelligence and sales performance.  I have also witnessed that online schools have placed more importance on personality assessments. Many of my first-year students must take a Jung-like personality test.  Many of my undergraduate and graduate business students have to assess their EQ.

I think it is important for these personality preference and emotional intelligence issues to be addressed in online courses.  Some of the things that may hurt a graduate’s chance of obtaining is job include having poor self-assessment skills, poor interpersonal skills, and a lack of concern for how they are perceived by others.

When I was in pharmaceutical sales, they rated us each year on our concern for impact.  It was such an important part of what they believed made us successful in the field, that there were consequences to poor judgment and rude behavior.  In the book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, there is a chapter regarding concern for impact, as well as one for Myers Briggs MBTI, Emotional Intelligence, DISC, and many other personality assessments that may help young adults in the workplace. One of the universities for which I teach requires students to read this book in a foresight course.

It is important for online students to learn about these assessments because employers use them.  Some personality traits stay with us throughout our lives.  The MBTI is an example of an assessment that determines preferences that may not change.  This assessment may be helpful to students who are not sure about career paths.  Other assessments like the EQ-i determine emotional intelligence levels.  The good news about emotional intelligence is that it may be improved. Marcia Hughes has written several books about how to improve EQ in the workplace.  The savvy online students will work on developing their EQ and understanding personality preferences before they graduate.  By being proactive, students may have a better chance of being successful in a career that matches their personality preferences.

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Linkedin Endorsements Poorly Utilized

 

Linkedin has provided an opportunity for networkers to endorse the skills of people with whom they are connected.  This was meant to be a time saver for people who normally wrote full recommendations. The idea had promise.  However, it is not being utilized well.  When users sign onto their Linkedin profile, they are given a list of people in their network and asked if they want to endorse them for a particular skill. There is the option of being able to endorse all of the people that pop up as choices.  The problem is, many people are doing that.  People may receive many endorsements from people who have not witnessed some of the skills they have endorsed.  At that point, the Linkedin endorsements become meaningless.

It is far too easy to choose the option of endorsing people as it is currently configured.  If the point was to make recommendations easier, it is understandable that there should be some way to do that.  However, if everyone is endorsing everyone for everything, there is no value to the endorsement.

To find out more about Linkedin’s Endorsements check out the following articles

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Companies Interested in Supertemps

 

Welcome to the ever-changing corporate environment.¬† As virtual jobs become popular, so have other non-traditional job types.¬† The supertemp is gaining popularity in the business world.¬† What is a supertemp? According to The Harvard Business Review article The Rise of the Supertemp, ‚ÄúSupertemps are top managers and professionals‚ÄĒfrom lawyers to CFOs to consultants‚ÄĒwho‚Äôve been trained at top schools and companies and choose to pursue project-based careers independent of any major firm.‚ÄĚ

Entrepreneurial people may find the life of a supertemp to be appealing.  The author of the Forbes article Are You Ready for the Supertemp, explained that Supertemps may “now pick and choose from among many cool, well-paying projects, sometimes obtained through agencies that work with these high-end independents.

What type of people become supertemps? According to the Darton Equation article What is a Supertemp and Why Should You Care , ‚ÄúSupertemps are refugees from big corporations, law firms and consulting firms. Supertemps value the autonomy and flexibility of project-based work. Supertemps find that the compensation is comparable to what they earned in full-time jobs (sometimes even better). Supertemps leave behind endless internal meetings and corporate politics. Supertemps find any stigma on temporary jobs, and the people who chose them, as laughably dated.‚ÄĚ

For those interested in becoming a supertemp, check out the CBS article: How to Become a $600K Per Year Supertemp.

Some job sites are now listing Supertemp in their job descriptions.  Check out this University of Virginia Supertemp opening.

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A Day in the Life of an Online Professor

Today’s Ask Dr. Diane Question:¬† I noticed you work for a lot of universities.¬† I‚Äôm considering working for several universities as well and I am curious what is your typical day like?

Answer:  My days vary, based on how many classes I teach.  I like to teach between 10-15 courses at a time.  I also serve as chair for 10 doctoral students and work on 5-10 doctoral committees.  Additionally I take courses to keep up with technology, education, etc. A typical day usually includes about 8-9 hours of grading papers, providing feedback, responding to discussions/emails, guiding doctoral students with dissertations, and developing curriculum.

I usually look at one school‚Äôs information at a time. However, I may have several school sites open at once, if my computer or the site is running slowly.¬† It helps that schools have different due dates for assignments.¬† For example, one school may require a ‚Äúdeliverable‚ÄĚ or an assignment to be due on Mondays.¬† Another may have assignments due on Fridays, etc.¬† Usually it works out that all of the big assignments are spread out over the week.¬† However, most of them have discussions going on that I respond to on a daily basis. I will go to a school‚Äôs site to handle all email, questions, discussion responses, and grade any submitted assignments.¬† I do the same for the next school, and so on, until I have responded to every single item.¬† I do not stop working until everything is graded.¬†¬† Most schools allow instructors a week to grade papers. I do not like to make students wait. If someone has submitted an assignment, I grade it as soon as I log on that day.

On weekends, less homework seems to be assigned, so I work less hours.  I probably work around 3-4 hours a day on Saturdays and Sundays.  I do not usually take any days off, but that is not required. Schools usually require 5 or 6 days of work per week.  The nice thing about working as an adjunct is that you can decide how many courses you can handle. You can start off  with just a few and add more if you find you have the time.

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