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What If Success Looked Like Discovering That What You Thought You Knew, Was Wrong?

January 07, 2019

What If Success Looked Like Discovering That What You Thought You Knew, Was Wrong?

How uncomfortable does that headline make you feel? Welcome to intentional adaptability, the foundational skillset required to navigate and shape the future. A place where using your curiosity to challenge everything you thought to be true, is highly valued. Sound weird? Not surprising, given that as humans we are wired for certainty, it makes us feel safe and comfortable. But, what if certainty is an impediment to growth and innovation? What if we challenged our desire for certainty and instead considered the magic that lies in the complexity of the unknown?

The Context

Enter the Curiosity Challenge.  The first step in piloting our world-first IAQ® Program and measurement platform (Human First Leadership).

Fifteen brave intrapreneurs, from a global giant, stepped into the unknown and trusted us to challenge their current state and practice of curiosity. What we discovered saw us eating our own IAQ® for breakfast.

The Curious Definition

For the purposes of the Curiosity Challenge, we defined Curiosity as:

“an interest and openness to the world, other people, and yourself”

What We Discovered

Hypothesis 1: Curiosity is thefirst foundational skill in amplifyingthe IAQ® of an individual, followed by Self Accountability, Focus, Courage, Human Connection and Reflection.


“We’re too busy to be curious” Busy is an epidemic and the enemy of curiosity, innovation, and fulfillment. Making it almost impossible to high-grade your IAQ® if you don’t start with getting curious about your 'busy'. Creating the space to focus on more of what matters, in a world where your attention is the value, is critical to embedding curiosity as a state of being. Our next cohorts in February 2019 will commence Human First Leadership with skill-building in 'less busy' more focus.

Whilst curiosity is foundational to IAQ® the barriers participants place in the way of it relate to a strong need to build skill in the other IAQ® pillars, including busy (focus), courage, self-accountability, and human connection. Validating that our approach is on the right path so long as we maintain our curiosity.

Hypothesis 2:  Individual's curiosity will be at an intermediate skill and will level.


  • Whilst curiosity as a human characteristic is inherently beneficial and desirable, roughly a third of participants want tangible evidence that curiosity will deliver an outcome before they will act. There is more work to be done on our part to help participants gain greater clarity on the benefits of curiosity as a state of being.

  • “If my boss doesn’t value curiosity then I’m not motivated to pursue.” Comments like this indicate that unless my boss is curious, I can’t see the direct benefits of curious in the everyday.
  • Curiosity is perceived as something you do when you have spare time, rather than a state of being that you can integrate into your everyday. 57% of participants stated they rarely create the space for curiosity.

  • Cultivating curious human-to-human conversations doesn’t seem to come as naturally to us as it used to. Participants requested more detail in what types of questions they should use to seek to understand another. Our hypothesis is that we now connect much less humanly due to the way we are connecting technologically, impacting our ability to relate to others face-to-face, have difficult conversations and build resilience.
    • Our 360° Curiosity Peer Assessments highlighted that participants overstate their level of curiosity skill, rating themselves highly. Yet when you unpack what curiosity looks like:
      • 74% of participants had not tested their assumptions in the last month, of this, 27% stated they never test their assumptions. Again I ask, how often would you expect a curious person to challenge their own thinking? Does at minimum weekly sound reasonable?
      • 60% of participants said they spend time with people whose viewpoints dramatically differ from their own either monthly or once in a while. How often would you expect a curious person would spend time with those who challenge one's thinking?
      • Nearly every participant said that they use Google as their go-to source when curious. Whilst this is a common approach we must question whether what appears in the search results, is a narrowcast rather than a broadcast. What hits the top of the Google search page? What is paid for or popular, rather than not always what is factual or scientific? Who goes to page 8 of the Google search results? The curious being seeking out the unpopular differing view perhaps.

    Hypothesis 3:Success will look like discovering what we thought we knew was wrong.


    The Curiosity Challenge was an uncomfortable success because it delivered a level of insight to both us and our client, that we could never have gained had we not trusted each other, and created the experience. Designing a safe-to-fail environment to try something totally different, enabled us to amplify our participants as well as our own IAQ®. We are now in the process of intentionally adapting the next iteration of Human First Leadership. What a gift!

    And for our client? Whilst we turned the dial up on curiosity we also turned it up on human connection “I know these people I work with so much better now.”

    We're excited about our world first IAQ® Program and the value it can bring to individuals, organisations and education providers.

    We're honoured to have foundational program partners Deloitte, KPMG, Mercer, NAB, and Carey Grammar join us on the Human First Leadership journey. Curious to learn more? Take a look here or reach out and let's have a conversation.

    BKindred is on a mission to teach 10 million humans how to intentionally adapt, in order to future proof happiness by 2025. We put humans first in a world of technology, skilling you, your people and organisation to thrive in the future. Learn more about the Intentional Adaptability Quotient® (IAQ®) and why it is the new competitive advantage. Are you ready for the future? Take our free Intentional Adaptability Quotient® Self-Assessment here.