Cheryl offers: A few months ago, we decided to create a new offering for women’s business topics. Since we regularly attend the First Friday Book Synopsis, and we read a lot of books on women’s issues, we thought it might be interesting to blend the two concepts. That’s how we came up with the idea of Take Your Brain to Lunch. What we have learned over the past months while working on SMU’s new women’s leadership program, Women in Motion, is both men and women are interested in understanding each other better. They both see the value of appreciating the other’s perspectives. In diversity, there is great strength. With women now occupying more jobs in the U. S. than men, graduating with more degrees then men and projected to do so for many years to come, it’s imperative we all work together to deepen our individual understanding of how things are changing, or not. In their book, How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work, by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey, they tell us “Curiosity is the high-test fuel for the engine of learning.” Once we noticed the shared curiosity surrounding women’s business topics, all we had to do was build an engine. When we started we optimistically aspired to attract 40 people to our first event; we have more than 80 and pushing 100! Personally, I have been amazed and inspired by the interest that is apparent in all generations, across all industries for learning. Way to go Dallas!
Sara adds: It’s good to talk about being curious; but how do you know you are doing “it” (being curious, that is)? Here are some ideas. If you are interested in the other person and their ideas, you are being curious. If you aren’t trying to justify your own idea – you are interested in someone else’s, you are being curious. If you get outside of your own thoughts and ways of doing things and consider new ideas, you are being curious. Frederick Schmitt and Reza Lahroodi have written an article on “The Epistemic Value of Curiosity” and offer 4 important values of curiosity:
- Curiosity is tenacious: curiosity about whether something is true leads to curiosity about related issues, thereby deepening knowledge.
- Curiosity is often biased in favor of topics in which we already have a practical interest.
- Curiosity is largely independent of our interests: it broadens our knowledge.
- Curiosity jumpstarts learning and when you embrace curiosity, you become a lifetime learner
And when we think of successful leaders, they are almost always curious. I guess the lesson here is to proactively look beyond what we know and believe to be true in order to find what is truly possible.