AGILE Curiosity

Tom O'Shea |

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”  

Albert Einstein

Last week I was in Milwaukee among about 200 pharmaceutical leaders and executives exploring THE CURIOUS MIND as a business and learning construct. This focus definitely makes total sense for this great company since their business is centered on all things involving the brain and diseases that impair or distort brain functioning.

Over the past 15 years that we have been dedicated to understanding the dynamics of agility, no lesson is clearer or more powerful than the importance of having the MINDSET for why AGILITY matters.  Those leaders and organizations that understand the reality that we are operating in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world that will be even faster and more turbulent in the future are clearly different.  They think, speak and act differently than those without that belief system.

Our research into the personality and temperament traits associated with adaptable, resilient and agile human performance led us to identify and confirm five strong differentiators distinguishing the AGILE personality from the average personality.  These factors are codified in what we call the Agility Personality Profile™ and include the capacity to focus, maintain and build confidence, operate with positive optimism and active inquisitiveness.  These five traits help shape a workforce that will have superior capabilities to sense and respond better and faster to the increasingly complicated, vexing and accelerating pace involved in organizations of the future.  These are also the active ingredients for high performance, agile teams … for all generations and configurations of teams of the future.


The opposite of a curious mind is one that is stuck in sand … possibly quicksand.  Let’s be agile and not fragile!  What is your curiosity tugging at these days?  What more is there to learn about your forces of change?  What more can you learn about your customer wants, needs and satisfiers?  How about your team?   Here are five critical category of questions to explore with your teams and use to further train your curiosity …

  • What can you anticipate and learn about the forces of change impacting your success?  Where are the biggest sources of risk to your future and what are the early warning signs to tune your sensors?  How many scenarios should you explore with your teams to simulate the future and examine your potential responses.
  • How can you and your team raise the bar in generating confidence with all stakeholders?  How to strengthen the line of sight from each stakeholder to what success looks like?  How to increase the emotional connection and engagement of all stakeholders?
  • How can you increase the tempo and cadence in how you initiate action throughout your organization?   Bias for action can be the heartbeat of success … it is fueled by active, empowered decision-making and energized collaboration.  Use your active curiosity to discover the obstacles to more fluid operating system.
  • How can you liberate the thinking and increase the curiosity with all stakeholders to bring high value innovation into the ecosystem of your success?  How to change the metronome to innovation … iterate early and often and build a different relationship with failure.  How to become truly customer-centric in our mindset and skillset?  How to really value the idea generation and diversity of thinking?
  • How can you get the whole organization tuned into what success looks like and how to evaluate results?  How do we get expectations established with a real-time feedback mechanism operating and highly visible fact based measures so all can see the vital signs that matter.

Random curiosity can take you anywhere.  Agile Curiosity helps organizations and teams explore and expand those capabilities that help create sustainable capacity to sense and respond … better and faster.  I would love get your perspective also.

About Tom O’Shea

Tom O’Shea, CMC
Principal, Agility Consulting
Organizational Agility Practice Leader

Volatile, unpredictable, even erratic- these are the times we live in and exactly why Tom O’Shea is considered a trusted advisor and collaborator helping leaders, teams and organizations adapt and thrive by becoming more focused, fast and flexible in an increasingly complex and ambiguous world.

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