A Curious Q & A Session with Dr. Diane Hamilton #SHRM19


“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” - Walt Disney


Measuring and keeping track of various matrices are some of the trusted ways to gather business intelligence. In the past, business owners and HR professionals have given lots of importance to matrices like employee satisfaction, employee engagement, happiness quotient, and health index etc. Dr. Diane Hamilton has coined the term "Curiosity Code Index" which will open doors to innovation, creativity and increase in productivity among employees. Here is what she has to say about curiosity...

Tell us a little about yourself and your organization.

I am an Arizona native. I have a Ph.D. in Business Management. I wrote my doctoral dissertation on emotional intelligence, and that led to my interest in behavioral issues. I have taught more than a thousand business courses and have interviewed close to thousand top names in business. I used the information I learned from my teaching and radio show to inform my training in organizations. Top companies hire me to speak and consult. My main focus lately has been the launch of the Curiosity Code Index® (CCI) and my book Cracking the Curiosity Code. I train leadership consultants and HR professionals to become CCI-certified. My goal is to have organizations give the CCI just as they would an emotional intelligence assessment. Through my work at Tonerra, I speak, consult, train, run my radio show, and on the side, I still teach at several universities.

How can companies encourage curious minds?

The first step to encourage curious minds is to recognize the value of curiosity. Curiosity is the key to unlocking human potential. It is the spark that ignites engagement, innovation, creativity and so many other things that lead to productivity. HR strategy should be aligned with this core value of the importance of curiosity. It helps to have recognition and reward systems in place when goals are achieved. Recognition for ideas is also essential. Organizations should value learning, flexibility, passion and reward those who exhibit those behaviors. Recognizing failures as learning opportunities is also critical. Sessions to spend time looking for collaborative ways to play off each other’s unique ideas and curiosity can help snowball into more significant opportunities.

How are curiosity and productivity related?

Curiosity is the spark that leads to creativity, motivation, drive, and that leads to innovation and productivity. If people are interested in learning more about something, that exploration can take them down paths never considered. Sometimes a fresh set of eyes can come without baggage. Think about trying to unlearn an old golf swing compared to learning golf for the first time. It can bring about different outcomes. That is where diversity of interest comes into play. As we all explore ideas in our ways, we can ignite an interest that is unique to us. Combining what we all discover can pave the way to innovation. Having a culture that embraces exploration and discovery will be critical for companies to compete. Status quo thinking has never led to the next big idea.

How do you respond to the proverb ‘curiosity killed the cat’?

Curiosity killed the cat was considered a reasonable thing to say to kids when I was young. However, if you think about it, it sends the message to “mind your own business” and “some things are better not knowing.” Any time you shut down exploration like that, you shut down opportunities for anything significant. Unfortunately, plenty of old sayings should be put to bed, and that one is on the top of my list.

What would be the main learning points from your session at #SHRM19?

Attendees will learn the importance of curiosity and how it relates to all areas of business, especially engagement, innovation, and productivity. They will discover how the four factors of fear, assumptions, technology, and environment (FATE) can impact on curiosity. They will explore strategies for overcoming those four factors on an individual basis. They will be able to recognize if their workplace inhibits or encourages curiosity. They will learn about some creative ways to develop a culture of curiosity.

Dr. Diane Hamilton will be speaking in detail about curiosity at the Mega Session on ‘How to Build Curiosity to Improve Innovation, Engagement, and Productivity’ on June 25  2019 , 3:30 p.m.  at the 2019 SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition.


Dr. Diane Hamilton is the Founder and CEO of Tonerra, a nationally syndicated radio host, keynote speaker, and the former MBA Program Chair at the Forbes School of Business. She is the author of multiple books including Cracking the Curiosity Code: The Key to Unlocking Human Potential and the creator of the Curiosity Code Index® assessment. Her groundbreaking work in the area of curiosity is a required reading in universities around the world and has been endorsed by some of the biggest names in leadership including Steve Forbes, Keith Krach, and Ken Fisher. She has shared the stage with top speakers including Marshall Goldsmith, Martha Stewart, and Jeffrey Hayzlett, and has been featured on Forbes, ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox.



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