I had the pleasure of spending yesterday at the Leading Edge Forum event in London, listening to some of my research peers, leading figures from the world of technology, and others, about the need for organisations to build up new capabilities to cope with both “Big D” (“Uber-esque”) and “Little d” (self, from within) disruption.

Reflecting back this morning, it struck me that there are two key traits in which organisations should be investing in their search for good people:

Curiosity is one thing that is vital. People who are curious in finding out about the world in general, about the business landscape, about people and what they do, about technology, about change. People who have curiosity and want to challenge and question things as a result.

Empathy is the other. Without empathy you won’t get to explore your curiosity in a way that gets you any where. Without empathy you’ll struggle to collaborate. Without empathy you won’t have a cat’s chance in hell of getting people to change.

But how often do the structures and mechanisms of big organisations act to grind out those two traits? We don’t demand curiosity, we demand results, deliverables, on time, on budget. We don’t demand empathy, we make people compete against each other in ways that eventually makes them quite willing to stab each other in the fronts, let alone in the backs.

Curiosity and empathy can’t win out if nothing ever happens. Often they result in longer games to be played which means they lose out to “results-oriented” approaches even if those latter ways fail to deliver.

But too often we don’t even ask for those skills, those mannerisms.

Evidence? Well, in a completely unscientific way, I just searched LinkedIn for the following terms:

“Empathy” – 145,360 results
“Curiosity” – 107,410 results
“Results” – 5,321,923 results
“Action” – 8,029,925 results

What does that tell us? Well, it’s told me to update my own details to more accurately reflect what it is that I believe we need…

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