eMusings Newsletter


         VOLUME FOUR, ISSUE 1       


3 Human Elements






   So it begins anew - another year. I trust that however you celebrated the holiday, it was a joyous one. I certainly have no complaints - Santa was very, very good to me. My library grew by several books, all but one current fiction. (Just finished reading "The Paris Wife", about Hemmingway's first wife - an early "cougar" from St. Louis who was a few years older than H. I highly recommend it.) Reading fiction feels like a luxury these days - there's so much business related material to read that it's impossible to keep up.  

     Our managing partner does a primo job of prioritizing material she thinks we need to know about and we're all good about sharing stuff that piques our individual interests. Keeping up is mandatory - not only are we all firm believers in continuous learning, but our clients expect it of us. In the last few days, we've been perusing a variety of magazines, journals and blogs to find out what trends to expect in 2012 when it comes to work force development. We picked five we thought you ought to know about...and offer our perspective on why it's not enough to just "jump on the wagon".   

     Part of what propels us to be continuous learners is curiosity. As I sat watching the ball drop in Times Square, I wondered, "How do people across the world celebrate the new year?" Thanks to Google, I now know that in Australia, you're likely to find folks on the beach having a picnic. The French New Year is Jour des Etrennes, or Day of New Year's Presents. Throw a party, exchange gifts. (Next year, I might be French.) People in Portugal pick and eat 12 grapes from a bunch as the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve. The 12 grapes ensure 12 happy months in the coming year. (Gosh, don't you wish that's all it took?) They're also fond of the 12 grape protocol in Spain. And in Hungary, people burn effigies of "Jack Straw", a scapegoat responsible for everything that went wrong the previous year. (Why, oh why, can't it be that easy?) I could go on but I won't. (I hear you cheering.)  

     The point is, at its core, curiosity is our drive to find out what we don't know and to expand our view of the world. That's vital in our lives - both personally and professionally.  This month, Beck Ripley shares 4 ways we can bring curiosity to our work. And if your curiosity quotient isn't up to snuff, she shows you how to boost it.



 Jennie Ayers

Senior Partner, BoldWork  
In This Issue
Curious? You'd Better Be!
Trends for 2012
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Join us on TalkShoe
Our "Continuing Conversations" on TalkShoe is back! Join us on Tuesday, January 31st at noon CST. Hosted by Beck Ripley and Jennie Ayers. Questions to ask that jump start curiosity; creating a WorkClimate that fosters curiosity in your work force. Click here for more information.
"Did Curiosity Really Kill the Cat?" by Rebecca Ripley                                         

(849 words - estimated reading time: less than 4 minutes)


You've heard the expression, "curiosity killed the cat," right? Interestingly, the second half of that adage is "and satisfaction brought it back;" however, if the internet search I did is correct, the original adage was "care killed the cat," and by 'care' the coiner of the expression meant 'worry/sorrow' rather than our more usual contemporary 'look after/provide for' meaning. Regardless, as far as I'm concerned, it's the lack of curiosity that kills creativity and innovation in the workplace, and I'm not alone in my belief.einstein on bicycle


None other than the inimitable Einstein said, "The important thing is not to stop questioning... Never lose a holy curiosity." He also said, "Questions are more important than knowledge." (I've always been curious about who followed Einstein around to capture all of his pithy quotes, but that's a topic for another day.)


Donald Latumahina, lecturer and self-professed life-long- learner, wrote a recent article about how important curiosity is and how to develop it. All the "greats" were often described as incredibly curious people - Einstein, Edison, da Vinci, Jefferson and Jobs, to name a few. Latumahina explores curiosity from a brain health and development perspective, and offers four reasons for why curiosity is so important.  See his blog post here:


man tipping his hatSo with a tip-o-the hat acknowledgement to Don, here's how we believe we can take his insights and apply them to bringing the power of curiosity into WorkClimate...with intention.



 Encouraging Curiosity boosts the active mind.

A healthy WorkClimate encourages people to feed their natural curiosity with lots of questions. Think of young children and all their "why" queries. Why do we lose that youthful curiosity? Rules. School. Order. Discipline. But with a safe and inquisitive workclimate we can rediscover and embrace this critical sense of curiosity and wonder. (Now, don't say you're not creative. All children are creative and we were all kids once.) Actively exploring our places of work through questions is like calisthenics for the brain. This very process of asking, discovering and revealing makes the climate of work stronger, more adaptive, and ultimately our minds more resourceful.


The Curious WorkClimate is observant of new ideas.
Encourage curiosity and people will find new patterns in what they've seen every day! People working in a creative, curious Climate view the same reports, read the same memos, and attend the same meetings as everyone else, but they
see them differently. Curiosity-engaged people make new connections and new applications to common problems and open doors to new opportunities at hand.


The Curious WorkClimate opens up new worlds and possibilitiesCuriosity drives us to dive beneath the surface of the routines of our everyday work world. An energized WorkClimate fosters continuous learning by allowing time to play with ideas. People often and easily begin their conversations with, "What if ..." -- a regular sentence stem for the curious.


Curiosity brings excitement to worklife.

People in a curiosity-aroused WorkClimate are never bored. Whether people are asking insightful questions of colleagues they engage in the elevator or reading an industry journal from an unfamiliar field, they have an unquenchable thirst for learning. When curiosity is a norm-of-workclimate, and not the exception, opportunities to expand perspectives, empathy and wisdom greet people at every encounter.


what if graphicSo what can you do to resuscitate your own curiosity at work, even if you feel it barely has a pulse? First, decide to remain open-minded in the face of a world that often demands people 'take a side'.

  • Condition yourself to ask, "What if" questions, or intentionally adopt other points of view by asking: What would our competition do? What would another department/group do? What would happen if we're wrong?
  • Read a classic novel if non-fiction journals are your first choice. Pick up a New York Times best selling fiction book if you're a junkie for Time magazine.
  • Find time to hang out with curious, creative people. Notice the unique spin they put on the world and let some of their habits rub off on you.
  • Build some humor and play back into your work life.  It belongs there.
  • To really push the curiosity habit, hang out with some children long enough to see the world from their point of view. Go further and lie down on the grass and look at the stars or name the images you see in cloud formations. Take that evening art class. Write a blog or a short story.

The point is, get out of your everyday work routine, break habitual cycles and actively seek out new learnings.


Our planet is an amazing place and there is much to discover. By approaching our worklife with a sense of curiosity and wonder we'll be better problem solvers, and as co-workers, we'll find new ways to collaborate and engage. And if you're a leader, you'll create a climate of work where people achieve at their best and where innovation flourishes.


Embracing curiosity seems like a no-brainer, doesn't it? So, commit right now to a goal for yourself that puts curiosity front and center. You'll realize the promise that a New Year, 2012, has to offer.


"Key Trends for 2012" by Jennie Ayers & Janice Criddle 

(555 words - estimated reading time - less than 3 minutes)


In spite of challenges brought about by the economy, the workplace continues to evolve and trends emerge. Here are five that might be on your radar.


The World May Not Be Flat but Organizations Are

Organizations are getting flatter. Instant access technology means employees no longer depend on those up the chain for information. What this means is that organizations will rely even more on teams and work groups to successfully achieve goals. Collaborative problem solving and harnessing creativity and expertise outside the business are key. That means tapping into the perspective of loyal customers to drive product development and marketing. It also means that companies need to be savvier about how teams work and how to create the kind of WorkClimate where successful work groups perform at their best.


PLE diagramDo You Have a PLE?

Look for increased learner autonomy. Employees will take greater control of their own learning experiences in their own Personal Learning Environments (PLEs). In itself, this is a good thing. However, too many companies may rely exclusively on e-learning or individualized online courses and cut back on face time. Beware organizations that believe they fulfill the "professional development" role simply by providing access to online learning. It doesn't suit every employee's learning style and may backfire.


What Frontline Leaders Want - Are You Listening?

Expedited leadership development will be top of mind. The trend will be toward increased focus on leadership capabilities for frontline leaders. Again, this is a good thing. But as more baby boomers retire and leave a void in the leadership ranks, companies will feel pressure to find ways to develop talent quickly and choose what's expedient rather than what's necessary to grow seasoned leaders. The use of assessment instruments will rise. The key is to use assessments wisely - as a development tool rather than a way to identify problem areas you already know exist within your organization. When asked, frontline leaders want more practical, hands-on training. Let's hope companies listen.


man's leg boarding trainTraditional On-boarding is Dead

Retention issues and competition for talent are on the rise. When it comes to new hires, organizations will forgo traditional on-boarding. Facilitating introductions to co-workers and communicating company guidelines are insufficient. Companies will make the effort to strategically introduce new members to a work group to ensure that teams remain high performing. The same strategy applies when current team members exit. In terms of retention, a targeted personalized approach will rule.


Diversity Makes a Comeback

After languishing on the back burner, interest in diversity makes a comeback. But it's time to reframe diversity as companies begin to see it as a strategy rather than an end goal. The ability to lead and manage a diverse workforce will ultimately make a leader's job easier and an organization more successful.


Companies are always looking for a "magic bullet" that will help them be more competitive in today's global arena. Maybe it's because technology plays such a big role in our lives that we're sure there must be an "app" for increasing employee engagement and maximizing achievement.


There isn't.


From our experience, organizations need to take a systems approach to today's workplace challenges. We need to create vital and healthy WorkClimates and sustain them. When we do, we are more likely to reap the benefits when embracing new trends.  




boldworklogoAt BoldWork, we specialize in helping businesses and organizations optimize the performance of the people who work for them.

Typically, our clients come to us when they are seeking to change, to solve problems or to challenge a status quo that no longer works. Most importantly, they call us when they want to create a WorkClimate that increases motivation and strengthens employee engagement.

Please take a moment and visit our website at www.doboldwork.com to find out more about us and what we have to offer. Or contact us for additional information at info@doboldwork.com