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What’s Your Change Management Style?


Focus on these skills to next-level your leadership game

What makes some leaders more entrepreneurial? What sets them apart from their peers? Is there an innate trait that naturally generates uncommon business success?

We recently had the perfect opportunity to research these questions in real-time with an A-team of ten leaders who were kicking ass in their large, multinational organization.

When the client asked us to take a look under the hood, we jumped at the chance.

This was an incredible chance to get up close and personal with a group of leaders who had done things like:

  • Overhaul a poor-performing business unit, making its operations hum.

  • Grow a small company into a big business.

  • 5X-ed the revenues of a healthy but underperforming product line.

We also got to compare the sample group of incredibles to another set of leaders in the company who were very bright, dedicated, and hard-working but just didn't seem to have that knack to make a business take off.

What set the high performers apart from what we might call the high potentials?

There were three glaring differences. Admittedly, it was a small group, but what we found resonates in various business circumstances. Here’s a roundup of the three and some ways to build these capabilities in yourself. And don’t worry: while they might seem innate to our high-performing leaders, they are all qualities anyone can cultivate.

1. Intellectual Curiosity.

This was by far the most significant difference.

In most cases, these leaders had been influenced early in their careers by someone outside of their direct field of study or work. In other words, they were open to new ideas and people.

And, just as important, when something interested them, they pursued it relentlessly. Their curiosity was active and tended to feed itself as new ideas made them thirsty for more knowledge. They’d read something that would trigger an idea or question, and then they’d keep pulling that thread: read more articles or books, seek out podcasts on the topic, and talk to more people on the topic. They were proactive in seeking new information and hungry for learning.

The personality profiles of the ten people studied confirmed this shared trait both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Why is intellectual curiosity so important? Because it demonstrates a willingness to consider other viewpoints and to explore and adopt new ideas. It’s the basis for a mental agility that translates into business agility.

How to build your intellectual curiosity: Cultivating intellectual curiosity starts with generating genuine interest in what’s happening around you, paying attention, and asking questions. Don’t just receive conventional wisdom – ask why. It also requires a mindset of lifelong learning. Our high-performing leaders read a lot and tend to have more diverse social and professional networks. I