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November 29, 2010

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I really appreciate the focus of your post and see the problem of lack of curiosity as a signal or red flag that an organization is a closed system that is probably spiralling down. I also wonder how to find that delicate balance between curiosity and expertise. It seems to me that the gifted expert has to be able to say, "This works well, but how do we improve?" The expert has to have a lot of authority and be given premission in the organization to allow that level of curiosity because one potential outcome is failure. In my experience, organizations are unwilling to take that risk and therefore stiffle curiosity and innovation.

Make heroes of the Curious Ones.
I love Columbo, the detective who asks the seemingly dumb questions. It's not that he knows the answer but that he's willing to look silly when asking. His lack of guile gets the know-it-all criminal to blabber.

We need to seek information in a humble manner to get others to tell us more.

@Leslie--I think that fear of failure is a big issue with individuals and organizations, especially "experts." Our culture is pretty harsh on failures and you have to have a pretty strong ego to be OK with mistakes and questioning. I agree that closing off curiosity should be a big red flag for organizations--but also for us as individuals. It means we're not learning anymore.

@Kris, I like the idea of making heroes of the curious ones. Seems like a much more useful employee recognition program!

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