Risk Alternatives Interviews: Confessions of a Recovering Know-It-All

We recorded these back-to-back interviews several months ago. I had forgotten how rich they are. Thanks to Ted Bilich at Risk Alternatives for asking great questions!

26Part 1: Exploring the COO Role and Curiosity as a Business Tool 

In which I reflect on life as #2, that reports of the death of COOs are grossly exaggerated, and what it takes to know it all. (24 mins.)

27Part 2: Should Your Nonprofit Hire for Curiosity?

In which I make the case for curiosity and not knowing it all.  (29 mins.)

Take aways? Various forms of #choosetobecurious. 

Life is short. We put things off until later. Ask yourself: What if later is now?

The secrets to the COO/CEO relationship are no secret: no surprises and speak truth to power. And always, always stay in dialogue.

Listen. Listen, Listen.

The COO’s role is to know it all, but there is value is not knowing. Let go of being the expert in the room. In the words of S. Leonard Rubenstein, embrace “a willing, a proud, an eager confession of ignorance.”

Curiosity is inherently optimistic. It is a belief that there is potential in the unknown. Go toward the unknown.

High curiosity quotient (high “CG”) correlates with higher tolerance for ambiguity and complexity, and better problem solving.  Seek staff who are curious – and reward that curiosity.

People are writing interesting books on this topic. My recommended reading list is here.

Some good curiosity habits:

Curiosity Walkwhere you stand depends on where you sit — and if you change your point of view, you will see something new. Look for opportunities to see things from others’ perspectives. Get up, get out, walk around, experience things (literally and figuratively) differently.

Make the choice to be curious. Go toward the unknown and unfamiliar. Start small. You will build strength — and it gets easier with practice.

Tap into your inner DaVinci. Be like Leonardo: ask lots and lots of questions.

Stop assuming and start asking why.  Use the “5 whys” — keep drilling down to find the real issues.

Ted asked how people can find me. Great opportunity for a plug: Subscribe here, and I hope you’ll follow me on iTunes, Mixcloud, Soundcloud, Facebook and Twitter – and listen in Wednesdays at 10am ET on WERA 96.7 FM, streaming at wera.fm!

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