Values Feature: Be Curious

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

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Eric Polivka
Eric Polivka, Director of Business Process Transformation

Be Curious

As a member of the Transformation Department, the “Be Curious” value has been very influential during my time with UNT System, and I live by it every day in my work. In my short time here, I have been able to create strong partnerships with many colleagues and help challenge them in driving positive changes in their businesses. Additionally, I make sure to not only help drive change, but also help leadership ingrain a culture of continuous improvement in their respective departments.

This involves constant questioning of why we do what we do and becoming less fearful of taking risks that can potentially improve the business, while not being afraid of failure at times. I strongly believe that commitment to “Be Curious” will be a strong catalyst in the future success of all areas of UNT, and I am excited to continue to encourage this value and mentality throughout the system.


Lindsey Vandagriff
Lindsey Vandagriff, Director of Chancellor Programs and Initiatives

Be Curious

On March 11, 1952, in a letter to his biographer, Carl Seelig, Albert Einstein wrote, As a mom of three young children, curiosity is so special to me because I have the immense pleasure of witnessing it in its purest form daily and being challenged to see life through my children’s perspectives. Sometimes, their curiosity ends in a smile. Sometimes, it results in a thousand “why” questions. Occasionally it leads to a whole lot of laughter and disbelief. Other times, it results in a skinned knee and tears. In every case, it ends in my little ones knowing more than they did before and walking into the next day with more knowledge and confidence due to their expanded minds. Curiosity, the “mother of invention,” is the driving force behind learning, creating, discovery, and innovation, and it doesn’t have to end in childhood.“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”

Fewer decision-making errors: When we are curious, we are less likely to look for information that supports our beliefs or opinions rather than for evidence suggesting we are wrong. Curiosity leads us to generate alternatives.

More innovation and positive changes in both creative and non-creative jobs: Whether you work as a researcher or in a highly structured job, curiosity is both possible and powerful. Asking “why” has been proven to lead to better job performance.

Reduced group conflict: Curiosity encourages us to put ourselves in our colleagues’ shoes and take interest in someone else’s thoughts or ideas. When we can seek to truly understand another, our conflicts are more constructive.

More open communication and better team performance: Curiosity fuels us to share more openly and listen more carefully. Sounds like a pretty convincing case for curiosity, right? Have you ever had a question at work but hesitated to ask? Have you quietly let your mind wander picturing how things could be improved but failed to take the first step of asking the question to learn more? Today, I hope you will choose to join me in being willing to get messy and learn along the way. Let’s Be Curious!


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