"A Curious Mind” by Brian Grazer (Oscar winning Producer of movies like A Beautiful Mind and Apollo 13) was the inspiration behind the Play to Potential Podcast. In this playlist, Leaders reflect about the role of curiosity and how it has helped them in their journeys. As Alvin Toffler says, the Illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.
Early childhood wiring
How much of you as an individual can be attributed to early childhood experiences? In this nugget hear Ravi speak about three main influences in his early years that shaped his personality. Did you know that he had to take a year off from school due to medical reasons and this turned out to be a boon in shaping his boundless curiosity!
Hiring for the Digital World
Unlike the analog world, employees and customers in the digital world are at the centre and the organization and processes are built around them. This makes the hiring of employees a very significant task. How does a leader go about hiring someone and what are their markers for potential? Don’t miss the insightful anecdote about The Knowledge test that the London cab drivers have to take and how that is relevant to this nugget.
Staying relevant over the long-term
We live in a world where professions are being threatened and jobs that existed yesterday may not exist tomorrow. Atul talks about how the world of photography has been democratized with the penetration of mobile phones with good cameras. He shares his insights on how one could think about being relevant in these changing times.
Navigating the sea of career options
"What should I do with my life" is often a question that we grapple with at different inflection points in our life. Vinita talks about the various dimensions along which she evaluates opportunities that have come her way at different points in her journey.
Navigating the first 3-6 months
The first few months in a new organization can be a nervous passage of play for the incoming leader and for the hiring manager. If not handled carefully, the organizational antibodies could eject the new entrant. Vinita shares her insights on how the incoming leader and the hiring leader could navigate this phase effectively.
In Summary - Playing to Potential
Where to go and How to grow are two questions leaders ask all the time as they navigate their career. Vinita talks about the need for conviction in direction, coupled with abundant curiosity to grow as the key elements of playing to your potential.
TAGSIn summary Curiosity
Transitioning effectively to a new context
Suresh talks about his experiences in transitioning across companies and roles. He moved from HUL to Nestle and within Nestle, he moved across markets such as Egypt, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and India. He talks about how he thinks about settling into a new context and also what it takes to build systems and processes so that even when you transition out, the organization continues to run effectively.
Early formative years
Devudutt talks about the profound influence of some of his teachers when he was studying medicine. He elaborates that they would often push him to think about the Why behind various elements beyond the what (anatomy) and the how (physiology). He mentions how that has discipline of asking the Why question has influenced his thinking and his approach towards mythology.
TAGSFormative years Curiosity
Effective coaching process
Devdutt talks about what leads to an effective coaching relationship. He describes the complexity of a coaching process and mentions that the onus is often on the Coachee to tap into the database of the Coach and extract the value. Several leaders see Coaching as linear relationship where there is a pre-defined process which leads to an outcome. He emphasizes that the reality is quite different from that.
Managing time, unfettered curiosity and resilience
Vinay talks about Narasimha Rao spent his time at various points in his career. More specifically, he breaks down the pie chart of time across different phases - when you are campaigning, when you are in power and when you are in opposition. He talks about how Narasimha Rao had unfettered curiosity that helped him indulge his curiosity when he was in opposition which helped him evolve as a person but also ensured that he did not make any hasty decisions in the short-term out of anxiety that would hurt him in the long run.
Art of asking good questions
Arun talks about how we could potentially move from understanding the data that somebody presents to us to going deeper in our understanding around why that data is important to the other person and how their experiences have led them to value what they value. He suggests that moving from the What to the Why and the How enables us to get to the next level of insight and intimacy with another person, especially if they are unlike us.
Receiving feedback as a Coach
Alan discusses some of the failures of Bill Campbell as an Executive and his perspectives around Bill being open to input from his Coachees. He speaks about the style of Bill’s intervention where he would not give specific suggestions but share stories and let you come up with your own conclusions.
TAGSCuriosity Building Trust
Learning 5 completely new skills
Tom speaks about how we went about picking 5 skills that he wanted to learn from Ground Zero. He picks Singing, Surfing, Drawing, Juggling and Making a Ring. He speaks about the criteria he used to come up with this short-list of items that he would pursue.
Depth of learning
Tom speaks about how dabbling in a new area often provides a fresh perspective and a new energy to pursue mastery. He speaks about how some of the Nobel Prize scientists are statistically more likely to have participated in amateur activities performing arts, magic tricks and pursuits like that than the non-Nobel Prize winners.
Implication on Learn-what vs Learn-how
Amy speaks about the implication of psychological safety on how team members learn. She makes the distinction between “Learn what” behaviours and “Learn how” behaviours and goes on to say that Psychological safety has a significant implication on the latter.
Infinite horizon networking
Dorie speaks about networking over an infinite time horizon which often means connecting with people that are seemingly in a different orbit but could potentially be relevant in the future. She speaks about leaning into our curiosity in these kinds of situations.
How Kings and Queens were groomed
Pradeep speaks about how potential rulers were encouraged to patronize the arts and the humanities. He refers to the Hitopadesha and Rayavachakam (written by Krishna Deva Raya) and the wisdom contained in them.
More from Pradeep Chakravarthy
Lawyer to Leadership Thinker
Dan speaks about his journey from qualifying as a lawyer to what he does now. He also shares his insights around what drives his wide arc of curiosity which has led to him writing about the Mind, the process of Selling, Regret, the Science of Timing and a book about careers in the Japanese comic art form – Manga!
Mining the silent graveyard
Ayelet speaks about how there is much more information in failures and in us mining the graveyards of failure than trying to overanalyze the factors behind success. Her assertion is that there is greater heterogeneity in failure that leads to richer information that could be helpful than the relative homogeneity of successes. She also goes on to speak about how we think about sharing positive and negative feedback with people.
Teaching Reframing to kids
Thomas speaks about how we can teach reframing to kids, something that we don’t explicitly discuss with children. He speaks about the fact that children, often, are better at this than we adults think they are.
More from Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg
TAGSCuriosity Problem Solving
Eliciting authentic responses
Thomas speaks about what we could do in the way we frame the questions so that we can elicit candid responses from the other side.
More from Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg
Idea to behavioural change
David speaks about why it is often so hard for us to stay on the same side of the net. He links that to our tendency to go for the simple plausible story and build misplaced conviction around it.
Deepening the trust in a relationship
David speaks about how he starts with a trusting posture in a relationship and how that could help us build a positive spiral of mutual trust and enhanced disclosure in a relationship. He also speaks about the nuance in the language he uses when he raises issues if there are any hiccups along the way.
Nuances in giving good feedback
David speaks about the limitations of the feedback sandwich where the detailed negative feedback is often sandwiched between cursory positive feedback. He speaks about a better way of delivering direct feedback with empathy.
Implication of being judgmental
Jeffrey speaks about how being judgmental comes in the way of learning and can drive people away from us. He speaks about how Steve Jobs, Donald Trump and Elon Musk wielded power but as a result had a lot of attrition around them. He also speaks about how we may not have the right to tell somebody else what they ought to do but we possibly have a right or an obligation to tell others how they can get better at doing something.
Roger's curiosity and empathy
Chris speaks about Roger’s curiosity and empathy when he met somebody. He speaks about how he would always be curious about where the other person was coming from before getting into tactical matters of business.