Best Practice: Develop Your Curiosity Index


Cultivate curiosity wherever you go and increase possibilities for connection and creativity.

Our brains scan for threats and rewards 5 times a second. Maintaining three levels of awareness while our brains scans the environment is a lot to keep track of—and, you also have to bring people along with you. You want people to be leaning in and feeling that working with you is a place of reward, not one of risk. You also understand that you/yourself want feelings of safety, because when you make yourself feel safe, you are doing your best work.

So how do we influence others while all this is going on?

How you show up influences the environment that drives engagement. We have four primary drivers that determine how we read any given situation. They are summarized here as your "C-Index": 

  • Community. Are you with me or against me? If you are seen as being part of the team, you will be safe. If you are seen as an outsider,

  • Certainty. Do I know the future or don’t I? If you know the next step, you feel safe. If the path is unclear, you feel less safe.

  • Control. Are you more or less important than me? If the person you are talking does not recognize your role or boundaries, you will feel less safe.

  • Choice. Do I get a say? Your level of autonomy is critical in gauging your level of reward. The less choice you have the less safe you feel. “The ultimate freedom of creative groups is the freedom to experiment with new ideas. Some skeptics insist that innovation is expensive. In the long run, innovation is cheap. Mediocrity is expensive—and autonomy can be the antidote.” –Tom Kelley, General Manager, IDEO

Your goal is to increase your C-Index wherever you go.

Remember that when working with other people, you are also working with their triggers. For instance, hearing about bits and pieces of a strategic plan from peers rather than from you might bring up the feeling of being left out (i.e., not having a say). While you don’t show up as a threatening leader in any way, some actions might inadvertently have an impact.

Alongside technical skills, people who can master a range of subjective skills are better able to influence, deal with ambiguity, bounce back from setbacks, think creatively, and manage themselves successfully in their pursuit of mastery. Learn more about skills of modern craftsmanship.