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June 28, 2018
Dondi Black , FIS | Vice President of Payment Strategy
Curiosity – that urge to ask, “What if?” – can be a strong driver of innovation, as I highlighted in a recent blog. That’s far from the only benefit, however. Leaders who foster a culture of curiosity within their organizations can use it to achieve stronger growth and improvement.
In this second portion of a two-part series, I show you how it can be done.
At the core of every effective elevator pitch for the products we sell, the business partners with whom we engage and the leaders we impress is the “why” – the thing that drives us and defines our roles.
Discovering my own “why” has been a game changer for me. It allows me to remain excited about what I do even after two decades in the financial industry. For me, that “why” is being part of a team, with a culture that fosters my personal curiosity about technology and consumer behavior, and providing safe, affordable access to innovative products and services.
Studies show that curiosity motivates progress, but how many employees are fortunate enough to work in an environment that nurtures curiosity? According to findings published by Merck, not many.
Highly-regulated industries – banking is a prime example – gravitate toward cultures of risk averseness because employee rewards and tenures are often linked to limiting risk. I’m suggesting that people should start taking risks by thinking differently, embracing innovation and melding the diverse perspectives within their organizations into a unified mission.
From my experience, infusing curiosity into company culture results in multiple benefits – speed to market with innovation, profitable growth and a deeper bench of leaders as the byproduct of the mentoring, coaching and networking enabled in curious cultures.
Can curiosity blossom in highly regulated industries? Just look at Richard Branson – the affable entrepreneur who approaches life with an almost childlike curiosity and the courage to question the status quo. To ask why and to explore what could be are at the core of his success.
“Having an insatiable curiosity for the world around you is an essential skill as an entrepreneur.” – Richard Branson
Not lacking his share of battles with regulators, Branson is now working alongside the British government to launch Virgin Galactica, his space travel business. Their common goal is to regulate such business to prioritize safety and industry growth without stifling innovation.
Branson has proved that curiosity is catching, not only with partners but with employees. Leaders who exhibit curiosity multiply the effects through their employees.
Any cultural shift takes time, perseverance, ongoing mentoring and coaching and leading by example. This roadmap represents a starting point for leaders to develop their own approaches to cultivating curiosity within their organizations. Broken into three timeframes – short, mid-, and long-term – it reflects the fact that cultural change is a process.
Short term: next 6 months
Mid-term: over the next 12 months
Long-term: over the next 24 months
“Step off the “villain, victim, hero triangle.” [And, move forward]. – Pat Christen, President and CEO of HopeLab
FIS | Vice President of Payment Strategy
Dondi brings creativity and more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry to the FIS Payment Strategy team. Dondi leverages her experience in product development, portfolio management and community development to develop long term product strategies for the marketplace served by FIS. Dondi is also a passionate advocate for financial inclusion, diversity and promoting awareness on the positive impact financial service providers have on the communities they serve.
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