How Curious Are You?

Suzy Welch is married to Jack Welch, retired GE CEO and management guru. Now, she and he write business books, the latest of which is The Real Life MBA. She’s the writer in the family, having been a reporter for the Miami Herald and the Associated Press. She also was the Senior Editor of the Harvard Business Review.

Here are her three best life and career success tips…

  • Find a job at the intersection of what you’re uniquely good at and what you love.
  • Ask questions. Say, “Help me understand this better,” or “What am I missing here?”
  • The more you show your humanity, the better.

Three great pieces of advice. But I want to focus on the importance of questions. As I tell my career mentoring clients, curiosity may have killed the cat, but it’s an important characteristic of successful people.

I am insatiably curious. I want to know about everything. I sometimes joke that if a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, I am a very dangerous person because I know a little bit about a whole lot of things. This knowledge makes me a better conversationalist. I can engage with people on a number of different topics.

One of my current MBA students is from Norway. As it so happens I have read a number of novels by the Norwegian crime writer, Jo Nesbo. This led to a very interesting conversation when he came to office hours a couple of weeks ago. He left getting the information about the class that he needed, I ended up with a better understanding of Norwegian society.

Then, just yesterday, I met a prospective consulting client who is from Norway. I was able to use the knowledge I gained in my conversation with the student to help close the deal. My new client was impressed that an American knew “so much” about his country. I think I know just a little about Norway, but that’s OK. Compared to most Americans I know a lot about Norway and how things work there. This was enough to help me enroll a new client.

I am not ashamed to admit that I don’t know everything.  I ask questions and learn. You should too. As Suzy Welch suggests, asking questions is a great life and career success tool. Get curious. Learn something new every day. You never know when that knowledge will come in helpful.

Your career mentor,


PS: I write this blog to help people create the life and career success they want and deserve.  Now I’m going one step further.  I’ve created a membership site in which I’ve pulled together my best thoughts on success.  And, as a reader of this blog, you can become a member for free.  Just go to to claim your free membership. You’ll be joining a vibrant and growing community of success minded professionals.  I hope to see you there.

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  1. alex rankovic says:

    Dear Bud,
    I am following your blog only several months, however doing a subway train research for almost a year. What I have discovered in conversations with young Professionals is that those who suceed in accounting finance and/or became entrepreneurs had curiosity.
    Even one of very successful CPA from prestigious University George Washington St. Louis who specialize in taxes admited that curiosity was a key to his success.
    My feedback is that future engineers ask questions how it work, interested in process, why future MBA asked question why! I can backup with the update great book about innovators The Creator Code by Amy Wilkinson with 6 Essentials skills Find the Gap, Drive for Sunlight, Fly the Ooda loop, Fail wisely, network Minds, gift small goods.
    Sincerely yours,

    Alex Rankovic
    AlexRankovic Twitter account
    Alex Rankovic LinkedIn
    Motivational Speaker and Inspirational Leader in process life long dream
    Social Media Brand Image Consultant

  2. Thanks for your insight Alex.

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