Lack of curiosity?
If your work related curiosity has vanished you are most likely bored at work. Needless to say, that’s not driving much positive energy.
There can be many reasons for lack of curiosity, and some of them stem from challenges at lower levels of the MeDrivers:
You can also build your work curiosity via different practices. Below are a few ideas:
Challenge your thinking
Ask others for ideas
It’s a practical rule of thumb to set aside at least 30 minutes each month to question your way of doing things – and to check up on your own progress. To make it happen: Put it in your calendar for the coming 3 months and see how it works.
Low levels of curiosity often comes from challenges on lower levels of TEAM-Drivers, so start by considering if any of the five drivers could be a challenge in your team:
If you want to raise curiosity in your team, it can be an idea to base the discussion on your Shared results – what you collectively are trying to achieve.
Set aside a couple of hours to revisit your Shared results (“What are we trying to achieve and why?”) and ask everyone to challenge it, e.g.:
Even if you don’t change the formal definition of your Shared results the discussion should raise the level of energy and curiosity. So round off this activity by discussing possible changes based on the discussions (break into themes/roles if relevant):
There are other basic routines that can help maintain curiosity in the team. Below are a few ideas:
Challenge each other’s thinking
Ask others for ideas
Lack of experimentation?
Instead of spending too much time on perfecting a solution or concept before it hits the target audience, adaptive people find ways to test new ideas with their stakeholders early on.
The philosophy is to “fail fast” rather than to drag out the pain. Experience also shows that early feedback from real users/stakeholders will improve the solution in 9 out of 10 cases.
The pre-requisite for experimentation is some form of idea that you believe has potential. Good questions to ask yourself before spending too much effort on realizing your idea are:
Most ideas can be tested based on storytelling. Simply explain:
Then ask openly for feedback and remember that it’s most valuable to ask potential benefactors this question.
If your solution/concept passes the storytelling test you can gradually refine your experimentation. Here are some common formats:
The most important rule of experimentation is to not fall too much in love with your solution/concept too early. Most great ideas goes through several iterations – and are often dumped and rethought – before a useful version hits the target audiences.
And remember: Feedback is a gift! - Only if you remain open minded will you be able to benefit from all the feedback you will receive underway, and that can make your idea truly great.
A team can be more or less experimenting, and it’s a team habit that can be nurtured.
The first pre-requisite for experimentation is to secure a culture that’s open to learning from failure. If the team ridicules mistakes, or avoids even talking about failure, no-one will take the risk of experimenting.
If this is a challenge in your team, maybe have a look at the more foundational TEAM-Drivers (especially “Accountability” might be of interest):
If you want to practice experimentation in your team simply try it out. It can be as simple as follows:
The most important rule for this process is to be open and to build positively on each other’s ideas. At the end of the exercise only one or two ideas will survive – but in the brainstorming phases the most important learning for everyone is that experimenting is fun, and that it’s OK to also discuss wild ideas.
No fun or playfulness?
When you feel real comfortable around people you like and respect, laughter and playfulness comes naturally. When this is achieved in teams at work, research has proven that this is a solid predictor of both high adaptiveness and high performance.
Do not mistake cracking jokes for having fun. Fun and playfulness must be linked to the work you are doing and accompanied by a feeling of connection, bonding and psychological safety to be effective.
There can be several deeper reasons for lack of fun and playfulness, so maybe start by reviewing some of the lower levels of the MeDrivers:
If fun and playfulness does not come naturally in your team, start by reviewing some of the possible root causes in the lower levels TEAM-Drivers:
If your team is performing well on all the TEAM-Drivers and you still need a helping hand to enjoy more fun and playfulness, maybe simply set aside time for this by arranging social events where you play and have fun together. Odds are, that doing fun stuff together outside of work will also increase your fun at work.
You can also try to create more room for fun and playfulness. Instead of rushing through all formal tasks at record speed in team meetings, maybe try to add more slack into the agenda, and make room for improvisation and odd ideas.
If the foundational elements are in place, human nature does not need much space before we naturally starts laughing, bonding and having fun.
Little room for failure?
If you are not allowed to make mistakes this will kill curiosity, experimentation and fun.
But even in risk-averse cultures you can experiment and try out new ideas. Only, you will need to be extra careful in building your case for implementing a new idea.
The foundation for evaluating an idea is, as always: Who will benefit from this idea and how?
The key to getting an idea approved is to identify “projected benefits” that clearly surpass “calculated risks”. If this equation can be made attractive enough, you can often move your ideas forward.
To overcome the natural skepticism in a risk-averse culture it’s good practice to define the different risks and negative scenarios, instead of leaving this to others. This will help you focus the attention on the potential gains, and have an open discussion about risks.
For “projected benefits”, work with different scenarios, e.g. “Best case”, “Projected case” and “Worst case”. If possible, add probabilities to the different scenarios.
For “calculated risks” do not hold back: Make a long list of all imaginable risks. But present it sorted, using the following logic:
For each risk, multiply probability (%) with consequence (cash value), and rank after highest amount. This will help you focus discussions on the real risks.
By the way: Even in less risk averse environments using the approach suggested above can be a very valuable exercise!
If your team is overly risk averse, maybe review some of the possible root causes in the lower levels TEAM-Drivers:
If your team is performing well on all these TEAM-Drivers and you still want to nurture a more risk tolerant team culture, there are a few routes you can take:
“Lessons learned” sessions
Demonstrate “Calculated risks thinking”: