Strategic Curiosity® is a framework that guides leaders' purposeful search to enhance professional insights and skills, and it helps organizations overcome inertia to promote learning, innovation, collaboration and competitive strength.
What new capabilities have you acquired? What do you do now that you didn’t do before?
I listen more. I pause and think about things more broadly more. ... If I’m presented a problem and I have the time in my office to reflect on it, then I can do it. If I’m presented a problem with a group and we’re working on it as a team, I reflect more before going into a meeting before I work with them. And I think more about the questions that I ask .
"Valerie's highly engaging facilitation style quickly had all members of the audience participating and thinking hard, developing a study intensity of unusual quality. Valerie was able to get participants to look at targets of interest, helping us see details that we had previously missed. Strategic Curiosity® thus came alive as a way of seeing beyond what our biased lenses were able to detect. Complementing her creative work with explanations reaching into the domain of neuroscience Valerie made a compelling case for ‘seeing the full picture’, rather than seeing the world through the lenses of our installed biases. Valerie’s ability to draw ‘intense thought’ together with ‘artistic imagery’ and ‘personal discovery’ made for a unique and thought-provoking piece of study."
I enjoyed spending time reflecting in a new way with other leaders.
President, Paragon Group
How can high potential professionals become high performing leaders? Strategic Curiosity®
Strategic Curiosity® helps leaders transcend the constraints of organizational culture, professional routines, unconscious decisions and "lazy thinking" that hinder performance. To do that, Strategic Curiosity® training equips leaders with a unique set of mental, behavioral and emotional skills to effectively navigate volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous circumstances, by taking reflective action.
Reactive vs Reflective Leadership
Our culture rewards swift action. That is why, too often, leaders quickly process information based upon experience, gut instincts or emotions that can lead us astray. The perils of reactive or automatic thinking are well documented and include short-term thinking, poor decisions, perceptual biases, avoidable errors, and emotional volatility. All have costly implications for an organization's adaptive capabilities, talent utilization and retention, work processes and long-term survival. As I searched for solutions to “lazy thinking” that emerged from our hospital study, I discovered the science of curiosity and its value-creating potential.
Research shows that curiosity creates value!
But not all curiosity is equally valuable. In fact, some curiosity can be detrimental. Generally speaking however, research shows that curiosity primes the brain to learn; more targeted Strategic Curiosity® creates exponential value for organizations, teams and individuals.
Organizations & Leaders
Quality Improvement & Safety
Teams & Relationships
Reduced Aggression & Conflict
Capacity to Learn
Curiosity is decreasing in the U.S. and digital technology is accelerating the decline.
Lazy thinking leads to...
• Preventable Errors
• Faulty Judgment
• Unethical Decisions
• Unconscious Biases
• Aggression & Conflict
• Under-utilized talent
• Hidden Costs to Your Business
We are biologically predisposed to be curious, which is why children naturally ask a lot of questions. Over time however, we stop asking questions and instead focus on having the "right" answers. Many factors dampen our curiosity (e.g., professional education, testing, work culture) but it is possible to revive and strengthen that muscle with training, coaching and practice.
Goals & Methods
The ultimate goal of Strategic Curiosity® is to create high performing organizations, sustained by a learning culture (X axis) and inclusive work climate (Y axis). This goal is achieved by cultivating leaders and team members that astutely process complex and ambiguous information (X axis). Individually, this requires mental effort; collectively this requires a culture that values learning and learning from one another.
The extraordinary advantages of a learning culture are only achieved however, when different people and perspectives are included (Y axis inclusive culture). Creating an inclusive climate requires more than diversity hiring and bias training; it requires conveying positive regard. Studies show that positive regard is like a magic elixir in relationships; it inspires people to actively engage, contribute and flourish.
Together, a learning culture and inclusive climate encourage critical thinking, high quality collaboration, creativity and the conditions for exceptional performance. BUT their prerequisites, astute information processing and positive regard, do not come naturally. Those skills are only cultivated as we become strategically curious.
Strategic Curiosity® seminars are an elegant, evidence-based approach to cultivate critical thinking, creativity, social learning and positive regard. Training methods are derived from breakthroughs in neuroscience, psychology, management, and behavioral change research. Those insights are translated into “cognitive calisthenics” that build your "behavioral muscles." As the workout metaphor suggests, the effects of Strategic Curiosity® are realized with practice and time.
Conceptual Model & Training Modules
Each Strategic Curiosity® training module provides distinct value. Different types of curiosity, as well as specific learning and change goals, are achieved with activities, readings, simulations, dialogue and homework. Learn more...
The conceptual model above (Figure 1) illustrates the learning sequence, with each module building upon the previous one, so that learning is cumulative, reinforced and is diffused throughout an entire team or organization. Orientation typically occurs in during a keynote address, indicated by the dotted green line. During the Introduction to Strategic Curiosity™, cultivates basic skills and increases self-awareness (yellow triangle). Advanced Social Curiosity strengthens interpersonal awareness and factors that influence relationships and social learning (red square). Ultimately, Team Building & Culture Change activities transform individual and relationship skills into a culture of curiosity learning and system-wide change (blue rectangle).