Bookmark Website  | Free Registration  | The Team
The Lounge  | Champions  | The Wire |  Schedule |  Audio  |  Arcade  |  The Top Ten  |  Historical  |  Email  |  Video

Being Genuinely Curious


Yesterday at the dinner table, my eleven-year-old daughter asked me, "Aren't there times when you absolutely know you're right and the other person is wrong?" She had a disagreement at school that day and believed that her view was the truth. I said, "I used to think I was always right and that other people were wrong. Now I still think I may be right, but I realize that other people know things that I don't. I'm more interested in learning than being right."

This month I want to describe how you can use curiosity - a key principle of The Skilled Facilitator and Facilitative Leader approach - to increase your effectiveness. My clients often tell me that learning to be curious has significantly improved their relationships with others and the results they get.

Curiosity is the desire to learn. When you're genuinely curious, you assume that other people may have information that you don't have. You also assume that others may see things that you may miss. As a result, you consider your point of view open to change.

When I first started practicing the Skilled Facilitator approach, I was not genuinely curious. If people disagreed with me, I was curious about their points of view, but only so that I could use what I learned to better advocate my own point of view. I still believed that I was right and they were wrong. My colleague Peg Carlson made this clear when she said, "Roger, having a disagreement with you is like a war of attrition. I know we'll end up doing what you want. It's just a matter of how long I want to hang in." I was just more sophisticated about hiding my belief, but it still guided my behavior. Does this describe you at times?

What I learned then is that it's not enough to ask others about their points of view. If you're not genuinely curious and if you're not interested in seeking valid information, you will use your pseudo-curiosity to control others. And they will figure this out, even if you know how to say the right words such as, "do you see it differently?" or "what problems do you see with my suggestion?" To help her make the transition, my colleague Sue McKinney took to asking herself this question: "What would I say if I were curious?" It's helped many of our clients build their curiosity.

When you're genuinely curious, your questions come easily and naturally. When someone gives you negative feedback about your performance, if you're genuinely curious, you can ask, "Can you give me some specific examples of times when I've done that? That would really help me understand better." And if, when you get the examples, you see it differently, then you say so and still remain curious, exploring how the two of you see your performance in different lights.

My clients often assume incorrectly that they have to be less vocal about their own point of view to be curious about others' views. Not so. As long as you're as curious about others views as you are passionate about your own, you will be able to use your curiosity to work effectively with others.

Sometimes the structures we work in make it more difficult for us to be curious. One of my favorite examples is a client that has a performance management system in which your boss has to approve your direct report's performance evaluation before you can discuss the evaluation with your direct report. This sets up a dynamic in which you can find yourself in a dilemma if you are genuinely curious about how your direct report sees your evaluation of him. If you're curious and find out that your direct report sees his performance more positively, and if you realize that you had missed some important information that would have led you to increase his rating, the system makes it difficult to change the rating that your boss has already approved. As a result, you are likely to control the performance evaluation with your direct report so that you don't learn anything that would lead you to change your mind. This is just one of many examples. As you look around your organization or the organizations you work with, look for other structures or procedures that inhibit curiosity.

Next month I'll talk about a related principle underlying our approach - saying what you're thinking, or transparency.

2005 Roger Schwarz

Roger Schwarz, Ph.D., is author of the international bestseller "The Skilled Facilitator: A Comprehensive Resource for Consultants, Facilitators, Managers, Trainers and Coaches" and co-author of the recent "Skilled Facilitator Fieldbook: Tips, Tools, and Tested Methods for Consultants, Facilitators, Managers, Trainers, and Coaches," both available on Amazon.com and via other quality booksellers.

You can subscribe on our site to Fundamental Change, Roger Schwarz & Associates' free, monthly ezine: http://www.schwarzassociates.com/ezine_signup.html In exchange for subscribing, you'll receive a link to a free .pdf copy of "Holding Risky Conversations," a chapter from our recently-published fieldbook.

We write Fundamental Change to help you create workplaces and communities that are simultaneously highly effective and that improve the quality of life.

Every month we:

* Address issues important to you as practitioners and leaders
* Share client examples and case studies
* Offer tips and tools for challenging situations
* Offer resources to help you become more effective.


MORE RESOURCES:

Hutchinson News

The fight of his life Hutch teen keeps strength, motivation up in face of leukemia
Hutchinson News
Levi Jackson, 17, a senior at Hutchinson High School, does resistance band training to build up his strength at Via Christi in Wichita on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015. Buy this photo · Levi Jackson diagnosed with Leukemia. Kelton Brooks/The Hutchinson News ...

and more »


Statesman Journal

Motivation from Mount Everest summit resonates
Statesman Journal
Stacy Allison, the first American woman to summit Mount Everest in 1988, speaks Thursday, Jan. 22, at the annual meeting of the Marion-Polk County Medical Society at the Red Lion Hotel & Convention Center in Salem. (Photo: CAPI LYNN / Statesman ...



WCPO

Newport firefighters provide partnership, motivation for kids
WCPO
They're running a new initiative to not only raise money but also support for the organization. WCPO. Auffurt pictured with his Little Brother. Copyright 2015 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast ...

and more »


FOXSports.com

Explaining how Lionel Messi got his motivation back at Barcelona
FOXSports.com
Later, in an interview with France Football, Ronaldo explained: "Messi is part of my motivation and I'm sure I am part of his motivation as well." Naturally, Leo's competitive streak means his pride has taken a hit at losing out to Cristiano in back-to ...

and more »


'Lead ... For God's Sake!' Explores Issues Of Motivation, Inspired Urban Meyer ...
The Post Game (blog)
The story told in Lead ... For God's Sake! follows the struggles of a basketball coach who can't figure out how to motivate his team. When advice from a CEO friend of his fails to produce any answers, the coach ends up talking to a janitor, Joe, about ...



Leafs' prospect Nylander using Bruins' Pastrnak as motivation
NBCSports.com
Watching Pastrnak's trajectory in such a short span has Nylander motivated. “The work he's put in, he deserves to be there,” Nylander said. “I'm really happy for him. We're really close buddies back home so I mean seeing him score makes me happy and ...

and more »


Athletes Need Motivation
AllAfrica.com
However, despite their efforts to fly the country's flag higher, motivation seemed to be lacking on the part of sponsors and major stakeholders. The deficiency in motivation undoubtedly had a negative impact on results as athletes performed badly when ...



Workplace Motivation: Different Perks for Different People
Huffington Post
Leaders, if you think you can motivate all your team members with the prospect of more money or a corner office, think again. Individual motivations can vary like the flavors at Baskin-Robbins. Yet some leaders persist in offering the same few ...



Los Angeles Times

In the NFL, sometimes it's motivation by rejection
Los Angeles Times
The Seattle Seahawks had just pulled off a huge comeback in the NFC championship game last Sunday to beat the Green Bay Packers and secure a second consecutive trip to the Super Bowl. Fans at CenturyLink Field roared their approval. A gleeful city ...

and more »


NHL.com

Current players motivated by World Cup legacy
NHL.com
Since the most recent World Cup was played, in 2004, there has been a significant changing of the guard in the NHL. Of the players who participated in that World Cup, 26 percent are still active in the NHL, a number that might be even smaller by the ...

and more »

Google News


Advertisement



Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us

Copyright 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.