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Mythologists say curiosity killed the cat. But Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino says curiosity, nurtured in the workplace, can drive innovation and improve corporate performance. It might be the most important word missing from your organization’s job descriptions.I became curious about curiosity while reading Kate Murphy’s “You Are Not Listening”, a book with the central premise that good listeners are also more curious individuals. Having listened for years to chief information officers tout the importance of the “4C” soft skills of communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity, my interest was piqued: Why wasn’t the skill of curiosity the 5th C on that list?
[ How do your people skills measure up? Read our related article, 8 powerful phrases of emotionally intelligent leaders. ]
Can curiosity be measured?
It turns out my premise was flawed. Curiosity is not a skill that can be measured in a human resource dashboard or enhanced in a corporate training program. Curiosity is an intangible personality trait. One which 18th century Irish philosopher Edmund Burke described as “the most superficial of all the affections”.
A curious four-year old asks 200-300 questions a day. The average adult asks about 20.
Superficiality aside, Fortune 500 proponents of the …
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