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Curiosity and arm hair. The missing link?

August 18, 2010

My three-year-old daughter asked me why I had hair on my arms and legs. I didn’t have a good answer. There isn’t enough there to keep me warm, I don’t make a habit of testing how well it works as a bug repellant, and one thing we learned from the 80s, is hair isn’t always there for looks. So what was my answer? “Ask your mother.”

But it did make me think about the power of being curious. A former supervisor of mine used to always preach that the one thing he saw in successful people was that they were curious. They didn’t take an answer at face-value, they jumped in, broke it down, and took ownership in not being satisfied until they had the whole story.

And as I have progressed through my career his words still ring true. But I would add a second tier or missing link to his curiosity statement. You must then do something with the information to validate the time spent questioning.

There is certainly an art to delivering value to a client. But that work of art also needs help from the client. In my conversation above, I would not be a shining example of a client willing to jump in and get dirty. Having sat on both sides of the fence there is certainly a level of expectation that needs to be met from both parties to get results.

If the agency doesn’t push to get the information or worse, they do but the client doesn’t move the ball past the “I don’t know stage” outcomes will not deliver on goals and forward progress will always be impeded.

So yes, we need to be curious, but we also need to have a collaborative environment that continually supports and delivers on the information uncovered.

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