I recently read, “A Curious Mind. The Secret to a Bigger Life”, by Brian Grazer. Some of you may recognize the author’s name. Brian Grazer is one of Hollywood’s most successful producers of all time. Partnering with Ron Howard, they are responsible, for hit movies such as Splash, A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13 and TV series including Empire and Arrested Development. Grazer describes in his book, the weekly, “curiosity conversations” he has been having for decades with successful people from nearly every field and endeavor. He has met with scientists, business leaders, musicians, spies and politicians.
Grazer fully admits that he doesn’t have creative abilities in the traditional sense of the word. He isn’t a screenwriter or a director. He doesn’t know how to work a camera or mix a soundtrack. But he recognized early in his life that his innate curiosity about nearly everything was talent that he could leverage. That if he stretched his mind, and opened it up to the various perspectives and disciplines of his conversation partners, it would benefit him greatly. He grew his foundational understanding of dozens of fields outside of his own. And that allowed him to have a more empathetic perspective in relation to the human stories that he was crafting in the way of films and TV shows. A better orchestrator. A better story teller. And an acute listener.
So how does this translate to our field? First is that we should all ask ourselves if we are being curious enough about our day to day in our roles. Are we still learning? Are we still asking enough questions? For example, do you have Snapchat or What’s App on your phone? Are you playing Pokemon Go? Are you fully equipped to market to (or with) the wave of digital natives that is showing up at your destination? Do you ask your line level employees what they are hearing from your guests that might help you shape your messaging strategy or guest experience?
The good news is that you can take comfort in knowing that once you start asking the questions, the answers are out there. Chances are someone has gone through what you’re facing. Start with a simple Google search. You’ll find dozens of white papers and webinars touching on nearly every challenge and best practice under the sun. Or, take the old school tack. Reach out to an industry peer that likely has faced a challenge similar to yours. Oddly enough it seems that the ability to instantly communicate with anyone, any time, has actually inhibited our desire to actually speak to one another. Push past that. Nothing can replace the face to face, real time, more-than-140-character, good old-fashioned conversation–whether by phone or in person at the upcoming WWA Show. You’ll most effectively be able to share what you’re facing and also better retain their side of the story.
Stay curious, my friends.
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