Does curiosity really kill the cat? Yes, curiosity can get one into trouble if one has a proclivity to attend to other people’s business. The proverbial expression ‘curiosity killed the cat’, is usually used when attempting to stop someone asking unwanted questions. But, this advice does not always apply when building a successful business. If we don’t experiment and if we don’t try new things, how can we move forward and discover business and life improvements?
The lesson moving forward is that curiosity can lead to innovation when channeled in a purposeful manner. Businesses need innovation to stay competitive. Innovation can add value to the bottom line of an organization, especially when aligned with ways to keep prices affordable and operating costs efficient. As a leader, you will find that your staff is much more willing to maintain a sense of curiosity and try out new methods to improve productivity and product design if they know you support their efforts. Here are four ways to keep your staff motivated to be creative.
1. Be Willing to Fail
Society is obsessed with perfection but to be perfect, there is fear in trying something that may go wrong. Such an obsession, stops creativity dead in its tracks. Many people think of new ideas, whether it’s new ways of doing things, or new things to try. But, it’s the leader who acts on these ideas that will move forward. Not everything will be a success, but failing to act on an idea will never produce success. As a leader, being willing to take risks should be part of the job. The only leader who never makes a mistake is the leader who never tries anything. How do I define failure? Failing to take action!
2. Be Willing to Admit Mistakes
Honesty and integrity are two of the most valued traits employees find in leaders. Leaders who can admit they made a mistake, or that the strategy they thought would work did not produce the expected results is more respected than one who never takes a chance. Failure is an event, not a character trait.
3. Allow Others to Fail
If a leader never gives his people the opportunity to make decisions, and support them even when the decision doesn’t work out, learning stops. People will not take a risk to make a decision if they know that the leader will not show support, or worse, chastise them for mistakes. Experiencing the limited consequences of poor judgment in smaller decisions is a learning opportunity for emerging leaders and a necessary step in their ability to handle more impactful decisions.
4. Appreciate the Lessons Learned from Mistakes.
Smart leaders want their people to try new things, as long as they are morally acceptable and not against current business regulations. Smart leaders dialogue what can be learned from mistakes so that the newly acquired wisdom can be used to make more informed decisions in the future.
The moral of the story is that it is okay to be curious, as long as you are not a cat nosing in other people’s business.