Being Curious

Being Curious - Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Unsplash

In my last post, I talked about the fallacy of wanting to be right instead of being curious. When we set a plan, it is foolhardy to believe it will work our perfectly. And yet this is what I observe, over and over. Project owners justifying why they are on track to achieve their goal. Project scorecards that are green with the occasional tinge of yellow. The absence of red items confirming everything is working out nicely. This couldn’t be further from reality.

Seek to understand reality

High performing teams know the difference. They accept things won’t always work out as planned. In fact they know this is the reality and they seek the truth by staying curious. This doesn’t mean they aren’t confident of success, they recognize the need to learn as they go committing to each and every step forward. They relentlessly seek to understand reality. Is this course of action working or not?

They achieve this by:

• Treating plans like they are hypotheses. If we do X we expect it to lead to Y.
• Testing their hypotheses as though they are experiments. How will we know if our actions are leading to success or not?
• Being willing to stop and change direction if they assess there is a better way forward.
• Embracing conflict in the team. They value the variety and diversity of inputs and feedback to help them find the best answer, and encourage everyone to speak up.
• Recognizing good work, whether it leads to success or not. There is value in figuring out what isn’t working.

Your choice

Imagine the difference between teams who act like this and teams who are focused on being right. The latter may feel good at first but I have zero doubt the first one will achieve better results. I know which team I would like to be a member of.

How about you and how is your team showing up?