Intelligence and creativity matter in the workplace—and so does curiosity. Those who are curious tend to be above-average performers. They’re more likely to put meaningful information into action and give their organization a competitive advantage.

Fortunately, you can learn how to flex your mental muscles and boost your Curiosity Quotient (CQ)—your ability and motivation to learn and make sense of your surroundings in new and innovative ways. Joel Garfinkle, a leading executive coach, says the key doesn’t lie in consuming more but in encouraging yourself to consume better. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Garfinkle’s six ways to raise your CQ.

Become an early adopter. To boost your CQ, Garfinkle says you shouldn’t be afraid to try something new. Not every new technology will be a success or a market sensation, and not every new management technique will resonate with you or your team. Early adopters constantly learn to adapt. Each new gadget and every new leadership method challenge you to think a bit differently, gain new insights and examine your current knowledge in a new light.

Deepen your understanding. According to Garfinkle, someone with a high CQ can make sense of the steady stream of available information by understanding the things in their wheelhouse and keeping their ears perked for relevant data. Garfinkle encourages leaders to truly absorb how their business, team or project works. Understand the success factors, threats and aspects that are dependent on or in conflict with one another.

Tackle the challenging assignments. What better way to exercise your brain than to take on the more challenging issues that face your business? Difficult problems offer an opportunity, as they can rarely be solved by applying the same old techniques, notes Garfinkle. Challenging obstacles require you to take what you already know and add something—a new perspective, a new idea, a new skill. Most great ideas aren’t fully novel; they’re a genius blend of garnered experience and creative thinking .

Don’t let success stop you from innovating. You’ve probably heard the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Garfinkle says this certainly wasn’t the brainchild of someone with a high CQ. While it’s true that we don’t need to tinker with something that is running smoothly, there are often ways to improve. Taking a second (or third or fourth) look at the everyday can provide startling new insights that could save time, money or resources.

Challenge your perspective. Need new ideas? Garfinkle advises changing your viewpoint. If you always look at an obstacle from the same angle, it’s hard to develop an innovative solution. By changing your perspective, you can see something that others might not.

Broaden your comfort zone. People with a high CQ rarely seek out the comfortable, notes Garfinkle. They’re always pushing the edges to learn more, see more and interact more with those outside their own usual realm. You never know whether your next big idea will be sparked by the CFO, your office mate or a clerk. Get used to talking to everyone and anyone, and you’ll see your CQ rise dramatically.

While there’s no mathematical formula for raising your Curiosity Quotient, you can follow habits that will give you a better grasp on your corner of the world. Want to spark your curiosity? Start by adopting the habits above.

Source: Joel Garfinkle is recognized as one of America’s top 50 executive coaches. He has 20 years of first-hand experience working closely with many of the world’s leading companies, including Google, Amazon, Deloitte and Starbucks.