As the calendar year continues, I invite you to incorporate greater curiosity into your professional life to achieve better outcomes. The ability to have a solid employee experience is based on a company culture that embraces curiosity in communications. Increasing the amount of curiosity with your engagement with colleagues and customers or clients leads to better solutions and outcomes as a result.

Professionals in cultures that embrace curiosity can have uncomfortable conversations that are assertive and not aggressive, anxious, or argumentative. Curious people are more confident, fearless, open, collaborative, and resilient.

Curious company cultures will be those who innovate, grow, and thrive in the future. Curious company cultures are also more likely to engage and retail talent, employ professionals that are resourceful and collaborative, support a more diverse and inclusive workplace, and to be profitable.

Company cultures and businesses are changing rapidly, and the culture shift can easily lead to fear and miscommunication that reduce engagement, retention, and productivity. Curiosity is a life skill that can be nurtured and strengthened with knowledge and practice like a muscle. Here are three easy actions to add curiosity to your company culture for immediate impact:

1. Use curiosity to share with or learn from colleagues about lessons learned and their experiences from a place of vulnerability and growth for yourself, your team, your company, and career.

Curiosity supports a “learning culture” which creates safe spaces in a company or on a team where colleagues can be vulnerable and share their experiences from a place of feedback, improvement, and a continuous cycle of improvement for the collective future. It’s the equivalent of the coach of a sports team reviewing playback footage with team members and determining what plays were executed well, where the team’s strengths are and what weaknesses the team needs to work on in practice.

2. Apply curiosity in your engagement with customers to understand their problems and pain points to create solution, services, products, and opportunities to serve them, strengthen your partnership with them, and create a mutually beneficial relationship.

Healthy relationships are grounded in trust and respect. The ability to connect with your colleagues in moments that are not grounded in a transaction or immediate financial benefit builds trust and respect to share, understand, and grow together.

If you engage with customers and clients from a place of building a relationship based on trust and respect, your connection becomes one of value and provides opportunities to create mutually beneficial opportunities. By becoming a professional that sees and listens to your customers or clients, you become a problem solver to provide additional solutions, services, and products.

3. Incorporate curiosity as a tool for approaching challenges, uncomfortable situations, and problems to create solutions from a place of opportunity.

When professionals apply curiosity into their collegial communications, their actions are constructive and build trust in their collective relationships. Curious team cultures foster open and honest communication which creates safe spaces to be vulnerable in sharing ideas, delivering feedback, and managing difficult conversations from an intention of achieving better outcomes.