Creative teams stay open to what’s possible and explore alternative perspectives.
Some of the best teams we know are great because they stay curious and creative. They show up genuinely interested in other perspectives and what’s possible.
And, curiosity is one of those skills that can feel hard to teach. We’ve curated this list of curiosity habits and resources to make it easier to infuse curiosity into your team’s culture.
Note: This is part three of our four-part “Better Teamwork” series. You can check out the other dimensions and their powerful habits here.
12 Habits to Foster More Curiosity and Creativity on Your Team
1. Seek New Approaches
Habit: I explore possibilities and look for alternative paths to achieve goals.
In today’s fast-paced, uncertain world, it doesn’t make sense to keep doing what you’re doing without serious conversation about whether the status quo still makes sense. Creative teams learn from what’s working (and are honest about what’s not). They’ve got an eye out for new ways of working.
Related Article: 7 Ways to Help Your Team Be More Resourceful
You can download our FREE I.D.E.A. Incubator Guide Here.
2. Challenge Assumptions
Habit: I ask provocative questions to help us think at a deeper level.
This habit is about peeling back layers, not to be contrarian, but to understand deeply and maybe find a better, more effective path.
A few questions to ask to inspire more creativity in your team:
- How would our competitors approach this problem?
- How would we handle this issue if our budget was cut in half?
- What would happen if we did the opposite of our plan?
3. Change My Mind
Habit: I’m open to new information, insights, and perspectives—and am willing to change course
The willingness to change your mind doesn’t signify weakness or indecisiveness; rather, it’s a strength, a testament to your intellectual flexibility and curiosity.
It means being open to new ideas, perspectives, and evidence, even if they challenge long-held beliefs or opinions. In a world brimming with diverse viewpoints and groundbreaking discoveries, the ability to adapt and reconsider is not just beneficial, it’s essential.
Related Article How to Work for an Indecisive Boss
4. Try New Things
Habit: I regularly step into the unfamiliar or uncomfortable to do what we haven’t done before.
Creative teams are willing to experiment. If you want to build this habit on your team, one way to do this is through a “mini personal experiment.” We’re also big believers in trying new things with a carefully measured pilot.
Related Article: HBR How to Scale a Successful Pilot
5. Share Ideas
This habit is about sharing best practices and proactively speaking up to share your ideas, which if you’ve been hanging around us for a while you know we’re all about this.
Habit: I’m on the lookout for new approaches and confidently bring them up
Related Articles: Share Your Ideas: Practical Ways to Ensure Your Voice Is Heard
6. Take Appropriate Risks
(P.S. These habits are all part of our SynergyStack System. Learn more here).
Habit: I make decisions doing the best we can with the information we have.
Related Article/Video: Taking Risks: How to Make it Easier for Your Team to Try New Things
7. Invite Input
Habit: I ask for ideas, information, and perspective.
This is more than saying ideas are welcome, or that you have an open door. What matters most is to make a habit of proactively asking in different ways.
And Article: Empower Your Team to Make Better Decisions
8. Ask First
Closely related to the invite input habit above, this one can be tricky when you’re passionate and have lots of great ideas.
A few Powerful Phrases that come in handy here.
“I’m curious what this looks like from your perspective.” and “Tell me more.”
Habit: Before stating my perspective, I invite others into the conversation.
9. Ask Courageous Questions
Habit: I ask practical, specific questions that make us better.
We love Courageous Questions because they are easier to answer and get your team talking. Inviting your teammates to consider ONE way or ONE idea to do something specific is a great way to encourage your team to be more creative and solutions-focused.
Related Article: Courageous Questions: How to Make It Easier to Get Better Insights
10. Learn from Experience
Habit: I pay close attention to what we did before and help our team to do better next time.
One of our favorite ways to do this is with a “post-project celebration” where you ask strategic questions to celebrate success and learning.
Related Articles: Beyond Post Mortems: A Post-Project Celebration
11. Investigate How Things Work
Habit: I ask “why” repeatedly to understand how our organization does what it does.
It’s amazing to see the lightbulbs go off in our training programs when people get a chance to ask some of the “why” questions they are holding back. Take time to slow down and make it more than “okay.” Expecting people to ask the “whys” behind the “what’s” is a fast track to more creative teams.
12. Walk in Others’ Shoes
Habit: I want to understand your perspective and what my decisions and actions mean for you.
We’re big fans of a good field trip (literal or figurative) where you work to understand the inputs and outputs of processes and decisions. This is particularly vital in a matrix organization.
These twelve habits are a great place to start when working to build more creative teams, foster connections, and make work, work better. We’d love to hear from you about your best practices.
What habits are making the biggest difference as you work to take your team to the next level?
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