The Five Faces of Curiosity

Curiosity applies to everything leaders do.

Apart from curiosity, leaders…

  1. Feel defensive.
  2. Need obedient minions.
  3. Seldom connect.
  4. Tend to manipulate.

Smart people practice curiosity. Everyone else gets dumb and dumber.


The real cause of problems is solutions.

The five faces of curiosity

#1. Inward-facing curiosity:

  1. Who am I?
  2. What do I love doing?
  3. When am I at my best?
  4. What contributions have I made?
  5. What contributions most energize me?
  6. What happens to people when I show up?
  7. What’s the energy level of people after they interact with me?

#2. People-facing curiosity:

Ask all the inward-facing questions with a people-facing perspective. For example, “What’s the energy level of people after you interact with them?”

  1. I notice you’re good at…. How did you get good at that? (Add the following question.)
  2. How might I get better at that?

#3. Problem-facing curiosity:

  1. What issues keep returning?
  2. What conversations are you repeatedly having?
  3. What’s frustrating?
  4. What do repeated frustrations say about you? Others?
  5. Five whys.
  6. If you explained this challenge to a novice, what would you say?
  7. What’s making things hard?

#4. Solution-facing curiosity:

  1. What have you tried?
  2. What would you try if you were new here?
  3. What do you know?
  4. What’s the question?
  5. If you did know, what would you do?
  6. Who might know?
  7. What advice would you give me if our roles were reversed?

#5. Progress-facing curiosity:

  1. What do you need to stop doing?
  2. What’s distracting you from doing what’s important?
  3. What’s next?
  4. Where would you like to be at the end of the week? What’s the first step to getting there?
  5. What do your really want?

Curiosity tips:

  1. Create a gap between what people know and what they need to do.
  2. Honor question askers.
  3. Create more than one solution to the same problem.
  4. Ask, “What if?”
  5. Ask, “What else?”

“The real cause of problems is solutions.” Eric Sevareid

What are some of your favorite questions?