News and Insights

The conscious motivation – how curiosity makes us better employees

April 19, 2019

“Knowledge itself is power” – the English philosopher Francis Bacon knew that already in 1597. But, as Jochen Mai explores in his post Curiosity: The underrated success trait’, the unknown can be just as powerful as it awakens our curiosity. Mai describes curiosity as, “the hunger for knowledge, coupled with the willingness to be surprised, to wonder, to embrace the new, to learn.” Without this quality, this “thirst for knowledge”, Mai suggests there would be few experiments; little innovation or progress[1].

Without it, early humans would not have tried to make a fire and Thomas Edison would probably just have given up on the 999th attempt to develop the light bulb. However, Mai goes on to say that the unknown makes many people also feel insecure and the resulting anxiety blocks their curiosity in return – “a vicious circle arises” …

Your curiosity is contagious!

From curiosity arises passion. And every one of us has heard a passionate and – in contrast – a boring, uninspiring presentation, or read a good or a bad article. The difference is enormous.

Passion makes for a more persuasive sales pitch – people will listen because they want to know what they have to do to be just as triggered!

When you are curious, you ask questions and this gives rise to a better understanding of the subject. The more we all know, the better we understand: consultants understand clients, and what they are looking for; sales people understand customers, their needs and how they can meet them.  

3 simple tips from Karrierebibel to help you rediscover your curiosity[2]:

  • try something new – maybe a new restaurant or a new walking route
  • read more – in private maybe a novel, professionally, you might want to broaden your horizons with scientific papers or journals in your field of work
  • “We’ve always done things that way!” – If you hear this phrase, then it’s high time to question this routine.

Now you might say, “Is that all?” – Yes! – it can be that just these simple things awaken your curiosity. We just need a little reminder now and then to admit to ourselves that we could be more curious at work than we currently are. Maybe it’s time to try new ways.

Putting these tips into action at work, you might want to try a new distribution channel or test an innovative marketing tool; subscribing to relevant newsletters is ideal for gaining a good overview of what’s happening in your industry. Staying curious about what works – and why – is central to continual improvement. Marketing and PR is in constant change – marketing automation, influencer marketing, social media and so on – that’s fast business. Sometimes the old way works best, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying new things.

Incidentally, curious employees are also more proactive and try to break up their own organisational structures where they are rusty. They’ve already internalised the three tips above, are creative and open to new things.

According to the Harvard Business Review, curiosity is just as important as intelligence. Four abilities (or quotients), which differ for each employee, play a part in how they manage and deal with situations: the intelligence quotient (IQ), the emotional intelligence quotient (EQ), the adversity quotient (AQ), and the curiosity quotient (CQ). So, if you want to test your IQ, that only tells one part of the story. Ideally you will have all four quotients developed as they are all important in work life. A high IQ may make you a good developer or engineer; a high EQ, a great salesperson or new business person. AQ impacts on wellbeing to help us deal with stress and avoid illness. Lastly, a high CQ means you are curious, able to develop ideas and constantly want to learn more[3].

What is your ratio, do you think? More CQ, more EQ or do you think you have it balanced quite well? With the above tips you can aim to increase your CQ level. Stay curious!  



[2] ibid