Every morning after my oldest daughter and son get on the bus for school, my youngest son loves to watch Curious George. Until it’s time to leave for pre-school, he runs off and tries to emulate George through playtime.
Do you remember George? How about the Man with the Yellow Hat? Of course you do!
Each episode features that relentless little monkey lured towards some discovery or adventure, often times resulting in temporary chaos, but always ends with George having learned or mastered a new skill.
At some point, as we get older, we stop being Curious. And, ultimately, we stop Growing.
Essentially, we stop stretching on purpose, only to find ourselves gradually drifting further away from the edges of our comfort zone. Instead of allowing ourselves to be lured to discovery, we are lulled to sleep.
Welcome to Week 3, a highlight on Learning & Curiosity – as we continue on a deeper exploration into the 8 essential drivers of your growth engine. If you haven’t, please make sure you subscribe so as not to miss any of the 5 final installments.
Companies and people unwilling to stop learning never stop growing.
All great strategies were devised as a result of a new discovery. If you haven’t yet, you must implement an annual, deep-dive exploration strategy (a scuba dive, not a surface snorkel) for you and your staff to include some of the following areas: [every executive should sponsor one large bucket of discovery and be charged with the report-out / recommendations on findings]
You must get real Curious about your employee performers. To deliver real long-term value, how will you cultivate the kind of culture that has employees bringing their very best self to work each and every day. Ask them. What are 3 ways that you can help each employee (individually) to grow personally?
You must get real Curious about the end consumer. To deliver real long-term value [more, new or better], what are the top 3 expressed and unexpressed needs that she or he has? How do they choose your product or service, and how do they use it? Everything starts here so you need to get at the roots, even if it gets a little messy.
You must get real Curious about the edges of your marketplace. Have you challenged your team to go deep on understanding the market you compete in today as well as the one you will build tomorrow. You need to be serving a market and creating a new market at all times. Most likely, your new market is a result of some new discovery you make through the exploration.
You must get real Curious about the trends you missed and the trends to come, and how they will impact your business. What 3 trends (i.e.: internet of everything) have the greatest potential to disrupt your business? Of those trends, which ones would you have a team start working on tomorrow? As cliche as it might be, trends are like waves; while you ride one today, get in position for the next one tomorrow.
If you take nothing from this post, take this one message – you need to surround yourself with an expert advisor in growth from outside your organization, who will challenge and stretch your thinking in new ways (not only from the right data and insight, but experience).
I love what Andy Birol, growth strategist, said recently in Upstart Business Journal, “business ownership has so little accountability and oversight that without devil’s advocates and contrarian data/insight to strike a balance, dysfunction is likely.” The advisory relationship (for more on this topic) is paramount for you and your staff.
So, before you leave for the office one morning this week, spend 5 extra minutes with your son and/or daughter to watch a little Curious George!
And then, run off to the office to emulate George.
You will be amazed by your new discoveries, and what they might mean for your growth strategy.