Why explorers make the best employees

  • KJR
  • 5 June 2018

The spirit of exploration has taken us to the moon and to the bottom of the sea. This progress is driven by the kind of people who stay curious and challenge the status quo. The kind of people who question the way things are, then set out to change them. Here at KJR we always think further, and part of that is to embody the spirit of the explorer.

You can thank the curious for the screen you’re reading this on. These very words were sent by satellites that were put in the sky by inquisitive minds. Behind every scientific advancement is someone asking why. A recent Gallup poll found that the best entrepreneurs were defined by their curiosity. It makes sense. How do you do what no one else has done, without first questioning why it was done that way in the first place?  That’s why when recruiting for new staff, it’s this very same ‘explorer’ mindset that we look for in potential candidates. Beyond exploring new tools, technologies and methods, at KJR we seek to look beyond the obvious. Always.

The future is built on questions

Studies show that curiosity is as important as intelligence in the work place. As Steph, one of our consultants puts it, ‘Ask questions, mostly WHY? (Why do you need this? Why do you want to do it that way?) When we forget the WHY, we lose track of the end goal.’ In our increasingly complex, fast-paced world, this attitude has never been more important. No longer is it enough to learn a skill and specialise over your career – 65% of children entering school will have jobs that don’t exist today. By 2020 it is predicted that skills like curiosity, empathy and imagination will be as important as systematic skills. So why does asking questions give us such an advantage in the modern workplace?

To discover, we must first explore

While explorers are known to make earth-changing advancements in science and technology, they also excel at the everyday. In the workplace, they are more likely to continue developing themselves in and outside of their role. Take Matt, one of our senior consultants. He got to where he is today by ‘going off the trail, away from the crowds, seeking new experiences, and looking for things that others don’t see’. This instinct for the cutting edge means our clients stay ahead of the curve and Matt keeps developing as a leader in the field. Likewise, Steph makes a point of not only asking questions, but being brave enough to challenge the answers. As she explains, ‘Asking the questions is the easy part, challenging the answer by breaking it down, identifying other options or looking at things from a different perspective can take you down a completely different path.’

This approach means that Steph is always exploring new technologies and how they might impact us in the future. Her journeys have taken her to experiments with mixed, augmented and virtual reality. She’s already assessing the risks of developing in the immersive technology space, so we know that when our clients start bringing these problems to us, we’ve got the right person for the job. It’s this fearless attitude that helps keep team KJR at the forefront of tech.

To make maps, we must first get lost

The quest for knowledge isn’t about finding absolute truths and setting them in stone. It’s about coming up with ideas and theories, and then testing them. Elon Musk crashed countless rockets before he could get a Tesla into space. An example of this try and fail (then succeed) attitude is when Sean, one of our Principal Consultants, got lost in the Arctic circle. Thanks to the thorough preparation they’d carried out, he and his partner were ultimately able to find their way back (and see some incredible sights in the process). Sean now sees each new job as an exploration, complete with ‘different environments, people, culture, practices, software, hardware or location – there’s always something new.’ This is why in each case he says, ‘We prepare as best we can, we make a plan then we try to execute that plan.’ And if that plan should at first fail, ‘Knowing you have all the supplies, resources and experience available that you need to get you back on track allows you to remain calm in a storm, navigate through the fog and reach your destination.’

So, whether you’re someone looking for the next step or you want to prepare your business for the tides of change, an explorer mindset will lead the way. This approach goes beyond a better career or bottom line. It’s about waking up every day with a question to answer and going to bed with a new perspective on the world. So don’t follow the pack – question everything, and seek out colleagues, employees and friends who do the same.

Interested in joining the KJR Collective? Visit our Careers page.

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