The Future Belongs to the Curious #PSKEvents

Curiosity is a critical capability for the future of work. We have reached the end of stocks of expertise.

This morning I was lucky enough to be involved in a fishbowl conversation with Cheryle Walker, Andrew Gerkens, Renee Robson, Charles Jennings and an insightful audience. The final question of the engaging conversation about learning and performance was ‘What capabilities matter for learning and development professionals in the future?’ The question prompted a great discussion of the value of strategic, business, relationship and systems acumen as learning becomes more focused on performance improvement & more integral to work.

My contribution was that curiosity is an important capability. As the attention shifts to how organisations can manage big learning systems, those facilitating this change need to be curious well beyond traditional domains of expertise. When work is learning and learning is the work to quote Harold Jarche, there is a need for facilitators of this process to be looking at their system and looking beyond the organisation with an intense curiosity. The question is not ‘what do I or our team need to know?’ The question needs to be ‘what can we learn that helps us work better and be more effective?’

Traditional approaches to learning often have an implicit or explicit assumption that there is a fixed reservoir of knowledge to be known by employees. Global connectivity has shown us that the required knowledge is constantly expanding, being shared and being created as people experiment with the edge and step into new domains or engage with new systems.

Big learning processes are key to the future of responsive organisations. Performance will depend on how fast and how effectively we learn. To shape this we must remember, the future of work belongs to the curious.

Put the Conversation First

Fishbowl session in Sydney. Photo credit: Michelle Ockers

Put conversation first.  There is nothing more powerful than real conversation. Generative discussion is far more likely to engage, inspire and create value than a presentation or a recitation of an individual’s expertise. 

I first saw deep generative conversation in adaptive leadership work. Creating a container for a conversation, being able to surface tensions and explore a whole system generates a new perspective for leaders.  Conversations like these, can be the foundations for new more effective action.

My passion for working out loud is shaped by the value that I have experienced in putting ego in the background and working with others aloud on ideas and actions.  The growth of working out loud globally is testament to the fact that my views are not isolated.

The Anti-panel is another example of work where the value of fostering a real and diverse conversation can be seen.  Through multiple formats, engaging a conference audience to create their own panel session has been insightful & rewarding.

Next week I am putting another generative conversation format to the test.  Along with Charles Jennings, Rene Robson, Cheryle Walker and Andrew Gerkens we will be discussing learning and performance in a fishbowl format. I have been a part of a number of fishbowl conversations before. Each have been intense, engaging and insightful experiences because they bring the audience into the panel conversation, focus on a conversation and create an atmosphere of collaboration in the discussion and the surrounding audience.