Approaching work with a sense of genuine wonder and curiosity is the path to growth and thought-leadership.
Wonder and the Beginner’s Mind
“Wonder,” industrial psychologist Sesil Pir states, “in an organizational context, is about having a beginner’s mind.” In a recent Forbes article, Pir muses on how cultivating wonder creates stronger workers and a better workplace.
The idea of a beginner’s mind may seem counterintuitive, but actually it can provide a fresh, untainted perspective. A beginner’s mind opens one up to wonder, the awe and inspiration that comes from active, present observation.
“When we experience a sense of ‘awe’,” Pir explains, “we physically experience a shrink of ego.” Wonder and the decrease in ego allows people to let go of a limited state of being, releasing the constraints of a “business as usual” mentality in order to approach work exploratorily. This, in turn, opens up the aperture for curiosity in the workplace.
Curiosity, Success and Failure
Wonder may reflect an opening of the mind, but what’s next from there? Francesca Gino, a professor at Harvard Business School and an advocate for the power of curiosity, explains that the simple act of being curious leads to more innovation and success.
Gino believes it’s important to foster curiosity and thought exploration in the workplace. Unedited brainstorming that explores new avenues opens organizations up to heightened empathy, engagement and collaboration — ultimately resulting in outcomes that wouldn’t be reached otherwise.
In other instances, this brainstorming doesn’t lead anywhere at all. Gino explains that even when curiosity doesn’t bring about direct success, the failure that results is an integral part of the learning process. Celebrating even failed curiosity in the workplace places emphasis on the value of wonder and exploration, and encourages more in the future.
The workplace that is full of wonder spawns ideas like no other. Emotional insight and curiosity is what leads to ground-breaking ideas, and how organizations evolve to truly hone in on that power.