“Curiosity killed the cat” is the saying most often used to whack down that inquisitive colleague/friend/thinker/idealist. Yet the whole of business world—and I would almost dare to claim the whole world, politicians included—is crying out for more innovations and fresh ideas. We hanker after innovation, yet condemn curiosity. Thankfully, some companies are smarter than that.
I was working with Paulig Group, visualising the workshop where they publicised their refreshed values. The first of their values is “Stay Curious”. Hearing this made the hair on my neck stand on end. Of all the corporate value statements I’ve heard over the years, this is one of the most touching and enabling. There are countless innovation value versions out there, like “We are a company of Innovators”, “Innovation” and “Efficiency in Innovation”. They make me yawn and ho-hum. A value that should spark creativity and excitement is frozen in dusty, stiff and passive language. These statements couldn’t be any further removed from the messy process of how people actually end up discovering new ideas.
“Stay Curious” carries the assumption that the people working in the Paulig Group ALREADY are curious. I’ve seen them in action, and I know it’s true. So, this affirms their identity. When people stay curious, people keep on learning. When people are learning, they do not become jaded. The value also contains a promise made by the Paulig Group: “Here, you never need to be bored, because we want you to stay curious, explore and expand your thinking, and our business.” And another invaluable effect they achieve? The promise that here, every employee has a licence to ask questions.
This, to me is a value of great taste!
Paulig Group is a large family-owned coffee, world foods and spice company. http://www.pauliggroup.com/