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How Is Your Organization’s ‘Curiosity Quotient?’

“Collaborative curiosity with an approach that is open to creative change can result in innovation and creative solutions in today’s complex world,” writes Dr. Passante in this latest guest commentary.


John Passante is a broad-based senior executive with over 30 years of extensive organizational development and senior human resource experience with progressive corporations involved in multiple locations, both domestic and international.

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As one looks out over the landscape of today’s automotive aftermarket, it appears that the business environment is getting “more complex.” Clearly, the rapid pace of technological changes is impacting all of us. Of course, information overload also is a factor in today’s world. We all struggle to keep up!

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I suspect complexity will always be a challenge that we face in business and in life. The question is: how do we manage complexity?

As human beings, we are all blessed with an IQ – intellectual quotient. This helps us to solve issues, to learn, to perform on the job and to navigate complexity. In short, IQ is our brain power.

In recent years, we have been introduced to the concept of EQ, or emotional quotient. It is the ability to manage our emotions and communicate in an appropriate way.

EQ guides us in our interpersonal relationships in highly complex and stressful situations. A high EQ acts as a shield. Our EQ assists in reading people, emotions and feelings and to respond in a supportive way. It involves our social compass and the ability to adapt to uncertain and complex environments. Our EQ gives us perseverance, self-control and our ability to build positive relationships and enables us to recognize and understand emotions.

In ourselves and in others, EQ fuels our:

  • Empathy
  • Compassion
  • Communication
  • Self-awareness
  • Authenticity
  • Creativity
  • Acceptance of others

Permit me to introduce a third concept or tool, which is valuable when addressing complexity. CQ – our curiosity quotient – or having an open and hungry mind. A passion for learning.


CQ is being more inquisitive and seeking out learning experiences. It’s asking the question why? Or why not? It’s the new idea person in your organization. CQ is a fairly new concept, but I feel it is an important element in managing complexity. In essence, CQ is a tool to resolve complex problems.

“I have no special talents I am only passionately curious.”- Albert Einstein

Although we may not be able to increase our IQ, we can increase our EQ and CQ. Start by being more curious about the things around you. We can learn to empathize more with others. The essence of leadership is to start the fire of curiosity in the organization. To inspire through PQ – passion quotient. Passion is a strong motivator.

Curiosity is, “The desire to learn more about something or someone.” It requires action. The time is right for all of us to get curious. This aids us in reacting to changing market conditions.

Let us all embrace an inquisitive spirit and mind set in the journey called continuous improvement. Questions do indeed change the world. Curiosity is an equal partner with IQ, and EQ and there is no substitute for passion in leadership.


As you evaluate your organization, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is it ok to be curious in your organization?
  • Are employees encouraged to challenge the status quo?
  • Is “why?” part of your organizations vocabulary?

“Knowledge and wisdom begin with curiosity.” – Michael Moss

No doubt, we have all encountered the leader who viewed asking “why?” as a negative trait. What a shame!

Collaborative curiosity with an approach that is open to creative change can result in innovation and creative solutions in today’s complex world. Leadership that fosters diverse creative thinking will add momentum that creates solutions and invents the future.

It costs nothing to dream, and everything not to.



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