Curiosity is Key to Innovation

Posted on by Excell Staff


Today we have a guest blog from Earl Bell:
To win in the game of business, begin by asking the right questions while replacing fear of the unknown with curiosity and a desire to innovate.  The value of an insatiable intellectual curiosity is immeasurable if you want to stay ahead of competitors.  

To get you started on creating game-changing activity at work, begin by asking questions like these during the annual strategic planning and budgeting process:

  • What changes can be made to increase the value provided to customers?  What investments in people, process or equipment are required to achieve this goal?
  • What is currently being done that needs to stop?  Why not stop immediately?
  • Applying the 80/20 rule, which 20% of customers, products, or services produce 80% of profits?   Why not sell more of the profitable stuff and less of the non-profitable stuff? 
  • What strategic investments in training, coaching or consulting will be made next year to increase leadership and management capacity, employee retention, or product/service innovation?
  • What can be done to increase effective two-way communication so that employees are more aligned with mission and vision while leaders are quickly made aware of problems that can stop a company in its tracks?
  • What is the “pink elephant” in the room that no one wants to talk about?  What is the cost of doing nothing about it?

Key principles to remember are that: (1) there is huge value in asking the right questions, (2) not asking the right questions is akin to business negligence and (3) knowing what to focus on greatly increases probability of success.

By the way, listed above is only a partial compilation of what I believe are essential questions that must be asked each year.  What else would you recommend be included on this list?  Will you commit to ensuring that your leaders, managers and other employees will be given opportunity to ask the right questions during the annual strategic planning and budgeting process?  If not, what’s holding you back?


EARL BELL is the author of, Winning in Baseball and Business, Transforming Little League Principles into Major League Profits for Your Company, which provides a roadmap to success for leaders that desire to build thriving companies in a very competitive 21stcentury business environment.  Earl believes that “everything you need to know about business, leadership and team building can be learned from Little League baseball.”
Earl conducts workshops, coaches and consults with owners, business leaders and their teams, teaching them how to dramatically reduce the time it takes to improve profitability, customer experience, employee engagement and company value, while simultaneously increasing discretionary time and reducing both stress/employee burnout.  He believes the secret to winning in baseball, business and life can be summarized in a simple formula:  Winning = Service + Humility. His motto is that Winning in Business is a Team Sport!
Earl has served in the Chief Financial Officer role for numerous companies throughout North America. His personal passion is youth sports and he has coached 28 teams since 2002.  Earl is a CPA, graduated from SU (Seattle University) with a BA in Accounting and from the MILL (Mercer Island Little League) with a Master’s in Youth Baseball.

Earl Bell can be reached at  earl@earlbell.com and 206-420-5946

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