Accelerating Curiosity at Work

The company culture impacts our behavior at work, with peers, customers, and other stakeholders.

With AI doing many mundane tasks that humans used to do before/until now, we need to evolve or hone the “human centric skills” that computers cannot do so easily/replace us on. One very important characteristic of human beings is our curiosity. While we all start out being very curious as babies, as we get older and get through school, home, and our surroundings, the almost “natural” curiosity seems to fade away or underutilized immensely. It’s no surprise then what happens at workplaces when new hires join at a company.

To reignite and accelerate curiosity at work, we need a paradigm shift. To make curiosity a part of the company culture, it has to be encouraged and incentivized at every level of the company. Management has to be curious and ask thoughtful questions in meetings and encourage active participation and questions from meeting participants. Team leads and managers should approach their team meetings with questions, empathy, and active listening. Eventually, curiosity will flow through the company and become an integral part of its identity. Until then, the road ahead can be challenging but the end result will be magnificent!

Better Habits

Habits are the small decisions you make and actions you perform every day. 

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits writes on his website that “Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits. How in shape or out of shape you are? A result of your habits. How happy or unhappy you are? A result of your habits. How successful or unsuccessful you are? A result of your habits.”

Generally speaking, who you are today can be traced to what your habits are.

Want to live a healthier lifestyle? Learn and implement good health habits.

Want to become better in client management? Learn and implement good client management habits.

Want to become really good at asking thoughtful questions at work and in school? Learn and implement good inquisitive habits.

Our habits are our secret authentic superpowers. If we want to achieve our goals and visions, we need to have the best habits in place and not only rely on daily motivation, discipline, and will. Habits will take us further than we tend to realize. Establishing better habits early in our development years (health habits, financial habits, social habits, and more) is key to living our authentic greatness!

Trillions of Questions, No Easy Answers | A Google Documentary

I watched a Google documentary titled Trillions of Questions, No Easy Answers. A very captivating and insightful look into how Google Search works, key people who are behind it, changes it has made overtime, and how it continues to evolve as it tackles spam, misinformation, and more.

Recommended watch if you are interested to learn more about Google search, how Search actually happens, and the processes the team takes to make it continuously better!

Building inquisitive young minds

In Warren Berger’s book, A More Beautiful Question The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, he brings to light how parents can help make their kids better questioners. Warren mentions Hal Gregersen who studied “master questioners” and found that most of them had “at least one adult in their lives who encouraged them to ask provocative questions.” A home environment where questions are welcome, encouraged, and addressed can lead to curious and creative young minds.

Clayton Christensen thinks parents can help their kids be more inquisitive by posting “what if” questions and also encouraging them to solve problems in a hands-on way, via challenging household tasks and chores.

Excellent Work Quality

For our work quality to be excellent, we have to focus on more than the work itself.

To get the most out of your focused time at work or craft, we need to get plentiful rest, energy, and “intentional” time away from work. If you feel the most productive in the mornings, you should do your important and high priority work in the morning times. You can take care of the not as important or other priority tasks in the second half of the day. Likewise, if you feel the most productive in the evenings, you should do the important and high priority work in the evening times and do the not as important or other priority tasks in the first half of the day. You organize your day based on how you work best!

In addition, finding and doing recreational activities beyond our work enables us to be more energized and creative when we get back to the work again. Great creative ideas can sometimes come when you’re moved away from work or not thinking about work all the time. Natural sunlight, walks, music, arts, healthy food, meaningful relationships, and many more contribute to producing excellent work quality.

How do you bring about the best version of yourself everyday?

Characteristics for Excellent Customer Success

No matter what industry, product/service your company sells, your company stage and more, there are certain characteristics that are foundational to providing excellent customer success.

Empathy.

Care.

Positive Attitude.

Proactive.

Creative.

Open minded.

Organized.

Team work.

Flexible.

What more would you like to add?

 

 

Productive work days

Each work day can feel the same yet be so different.

Monday comes around, meetings and more meetings, and then we’re already planning for the weekend and beyond.

To make our working hours count and make our days productive, we can start our days with intention and finish with learnings and reflections from the work day.

What’s our intention today? Intentions could be I want to become better at doing client presentations or I want to learn more about Generative AI through meaningful discussions with colleagues. The intention helps set a goal for the day.

What did we learn today? We can learn a lot in a given day. We don’t have to be enrolled in a course or a seminar for us to learn something new each day. At the end of the work day, we can take a few minutes to write down what we learned today and reflect on how the day went.

 

Are leaders born or made?

Leaders are made.

Leadership is a skill.

Individuals become better leaders by honing their leadership skills.

To hone leadership skills, take the lead wherever possible-community, company, family etc.

We all start from somewhere and become better with practice, smart work, learning, and reflecting.

Startup Founder Credit

Do startup founder(s) get more credit for the startup’s success or blame for its failure than other members of the startup (managers, technical leads etc)?

We know of founder(s) who started companies but what about the initial 5 to 50 employees who helped the startup grow.

What contributes to a startup’s success? Is it the founder(s)’ idea, their execution, their initial key hires, or just the timing of their idea(s)?

How much should we praise founder(s), recognize their successes and failures, and attribute to the startup’s growth?

I Asked A Ton Of Questions.

One of my favorite parts from Kobe Bryant’s The Mamba Mentality How I Play book is the page with the heading I Asked A Ton Of Questions. In that page, Kobe shares:

I asked a ton of questions.

I was curious. I wanted to improve, learn, and fill my head with the history of the game. No matter who I was with—a coach, hall of famer, teammate—and no matter the situation—game, practice, vacation—I would fire away with question after question.

A lot of people appreciated my curiosity and passion. They appreciated that I wasn ’t just asking to ask, I was genuinely thirsty to hear their answers and glean new info. Some people, meanwhile, were less understanding and gracious. That was fine with me. My approach always was that I’d rather risk embarrassment now than be embarrassed later, when I’ve won zero titles.

Image by : Andrew D. Bernstein

Are workshops the way to go?

Workshops are focused, interactive, and the results can be immediate.

With the current pace of technological advancements, workshops are more effective than year long programs to get faster and effective results.

The format of workshops enables participants to learn a new skill, become more knowledgeable about a topic/subject, interact with other team members etc. in a short time frame.

Online workshops can be as effective as in person workshops and can have participants from various parts of the world.

Which workshop(s) have you attended recently or planning to participate in?

Simple, easy, and best choice!

I love chicken wings!

Buffalo, NY has many restaurant and bar options to have the best chicken wings. There are favorite local chains as well as renowned food establishments. We recently visited The Nine-Eleven Tavern located in 9-11 Bloomfield Ave, Buffalo, NY. Established in 1981, the The Nine-Eleven Tavern is a Cash only establishment and opens on Tuesday through Saturday from 4:30pm-8:30pm.

In The Nine-Eleven Tavern’s menu, they offer Chicken wings – Wings are prepared mild, medium, or hot and include celery and bleu cheese or ranch dressing. For the sizes, you can choose 10, 20, 30 or 50 wings. They also offer Finn fries, Pizza Stix, Chicken Fingers, Corned Beef Sandwich and variety of extras. You can also buy a jar of their Wing sauce. I loved the chicken wings served on their special sauce. There’s only one sauce flavor you can pick and their wings are simply the best I’ve had so far!

From The Nine-Eleven Tavern, we can also takeaway some key business pointers.

Why offer too many sauce choices for the wings to customers when you can offer your best sauce and have customers come to enjoy what you serve best?

Why take credit cards if you can only take cash and avoid credit card transaction fees, credit card machines, and other credit cards related hassles that can come up?

Why open the tavern for long hours everyday if you can offer a window for customers to come and enjoy the wings?

Leadership’s role in Culture

Culture has to be created.

Leaders are responsible for creating the company culture, growing it, and evolving it overtime.

Although each team member contributes to the company culture, a dedicated team is needed to focus on bringing people together through various initiatives and activities.

The leadership team has to also participate in company culture activities so the rest of the team knows that it’s important and active participation is encouraged.

Is the leadership team visible in the company activities that the team has put together? How engaged is your team in company initiatives and activities? Do the same team members show up for all the company activities?

Marketing or Product development – Which first?

Should you develop your product first or start marketing the idea first?

If the idea has some legs to become a business, building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) first could help. Once you’ve build an MVP, you can test it out with potential customers. Collect feedback from early users of your product/service and continue developing it to create the best value to your product/service users. Marketing the product/service once you’ve built a user base would be prudent.

Product development and marketing will go hand in hand overtime. In the initial stages, product development should be prioritized over marketing. An excellent product/service will always be easier to market!

Coaching Teams for Global Customer Success

Multinational companies need to coach their team to handle clients based in different time zones, cultures, languages, and more. Easier said than done. Countless number of hours, sessions, content, and materials are shared internally to help the company’s team to properly and successfully interact with global clients.

A few tips on coaching teams for Customer Success with global clients (North America based):

1. Conduct sessions between team members based in Customer regions and other office locations. If your company’s customers are based in the US and you have a team based in Nepal, then have your Nepal team members interact as much as possible with their US counterparts. Similarly, if your company’s customers are based in Nepal and you have a team based in US, then have your US team members interact as much as possible with their Nepal counterparts. These sessions should focus on cultural greetings, acceptable language and behaviors, ways of doing business in each culture etc.

    2. Inter-office company visits. Organize company visits between your US team and Nepal team members. Nepal based team members will visit the US and learn about US culture and business and vice versa. These cross cultural experiences will add tremendous value to the respective team members and organizing knowledge sharing sessions post the team members’ visit can be fruitful and productive to the rest of the team.

    3. Look outside company’s network for cultural learnings. Besides facilitating ways to internally assist the team members based globally, do look outside your company to find creative ways to provide team members with wider cultural knowledge and experiences. If a team member’s friend or family member is visiting the US or Nepal for a short period or someone is moving to study or work in the US or Nepal, meet them and hear their experiences and share your experiences as well. You’ll get a broader perspective on the culture and it can enrich your cultural knowledge and cultural nuances.

    Skills Degree

    What if we could have a Skills degree similar to a College degree?

    A Skills degree would show all the skills you have accumulated over the years. Writing skills, editing skills, sales skills, Excel skills, technical skills, marketing skills and more skills. In a knowledge economy, our skills are our biggest assets. Skills are learnable and we can get better overtime with practice and repetition.

    What skills do you have or working to be better at?

    A College Degree is great but not required. 

    I saw this on a job vacancy post.

    A college degree is great but not required. What’s more important is having the skills to do the job.

    Skills are the way to go. Whether its for an Account Executive, marketing, or technical role, skills are becoming important than ever. With the speed of technological developments everyday and shortage of skilled talent across various industries, skilled professionals will continue to be in higher demand across the globe.

    What skills can you gain while in college and what skills can you gain outside of college?

    What’s your Trillion Dollar Venn Diagram Of Success?

    Dharmesh Shah, co-founder and CTO of HubSpot shares his thoughts on rare skills and the Trillion Dollar Venn Diagram Of Success (phrase credit to him).

    Dharmesh shares that “You probably have a few valuable skills right now. The question is, how do you turn those skills into a successful career or company? By combining skills together. But combining any set of skills won’t necessarily get you where you want to go. You need to be strategic about which skills to acquire. Here’s my framework for combining skills to maximize your potential.”

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=WghyEbmPWgk%3Fsi%3D08-AmPfcl47pxRhZ

    Engaging Company Culture

    Engaging company cultures have empowered, creative, and growth oriented team members leading company culture events. Through empowerment, employees are given the decision making authority and independence to decide what activities bring out the best in the team. Through creativity, employees can be resourceful and come up with activities that are out of the box and meaningful for the team. Through a focus on growth-oriented activities, employees can initiate programs that integrate both learning and fun.

    What’s your company culture like?

    More Art than Science

    With AI, Large Language Models (LLMs) and ChatGPT, the possibilities seem endless. In fact, it has made it very easy for us in various professions to go to ChatGPT, write a prompt, and get a good output in a span of seconds. With ChatGPT, we can have a solid starting point for an email to a client, a college essay, speech or anything that ChatGPT can help you with.

    This means that the ART part is becoming more important and will continue to do so in the future. If every sales person or customer success manager in the company goes to ChatGPT to help them write emails, almost all will start to sound alike (if there’s no personalization done). If every student in the classroom goes to ChatGPT to help them write an essay, almost all will start to sound alike (if there’s no personalization done). And the list goes on.

    Our creativity, personality, uniqueness, authentic experiences, and human emotions are where we create meaningful connections with others in the world we live in today. Bring your authentic self to the work that you do and have that human connection. Let AI take care of the rest!