3 Invaluable Lessons from Zig Rubel

  1. Curiosity allows you to see the world differently and solve both complex and mundane issues more effectively.
  2. We need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
  3. We have to be willing to take risks and approach the world with a “what’s possible attitude.

This week, host Sue Dyer speaks with Zigmund Rubel, the President and CEO of A Design+ Consulting. As an architectural design and consultancy firm, they specialize in data-driven processes focused on planning that integrates the healing, learning, and discovering of buildings. Join us as we dive into the idea of curiosity and integrating a culture of curiosity into teams.

Defining Curiosity and Its Importance in our Teams (02:48)

Curiosity is the journey to understand “what else is out there” and what could be done differently. It requires developing a unique solution for a need or a problem.  Curiosity forces someone to be engaged and committed to a specific outcome.  Sometimes curiosity may not yield anything valuable, and that’s ok.  The benefit is to learn and define your boundaries of what the question should be, and the outcome directs you or the team to become more of a learning-based type of group.

A Practical Approach to Curiosity (04:09)

  1. Realizing the importance of seeing our surroundings.
  2. Having the ability to question whether what we are doing makes sense.
  3. Could there possibly be a better way to approach the situation we are in.

Building a “Culture of Curiosity” (05:11)

  1. Assume that there is a better way of doing something – rejecting the status quo.
  2. Curiosity requires us to be uncomfortable with our internal biases and question whether there is something better.
  3. Curiosity should more of a bunch of data points you put together to make the best decision going forward.
  4. Leaders need patience and forgiveness with their team because a curious team is going to take longer because they aren’t going to use a “tried and true” method.
  5. Curiosity is built on mundane things.

Examples of Curiosity’s Role in a Project Setting (07:04)

  1. Partnering projects: Ultimately making their needs, your needs.
  2. Funding Availability: Approaching from a “what’s possible” perspective.
  3. You need to both, have the drive and the interest to see what is out there, and be willing to change.
  4. Education is a responsibility of curiosity – if you have a great idea, you need to get people on board otherwise people are going to just do the same thing they always do.

Melding Curiosity and Creativity (12:11)

  1. Creativity is more about the investigation and the outcome of a specific task.
  2. Creativity requires Curiosity.
  3. The key is asking questions about what could be different.

The Biggest Barriers to Curiosity (13:26)

  1. Our Internal Bias prevents from being curious.
  2. The most creative students are kindergartners, because they have no bias.
  3. Our own impatience keeps us from fully realizing potential.
  4. We must be willing to be incorrect – we need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Focusing on the Mundane (16:04)

  1. The matrix of urgent, non-urgent, important, not important. 
  2. We often focus on the “urgent, not important” tasks as opposed to the “important, non-urgent” tasks.
  3. We need to focus on addressing the right issues, even when they aren’t urgent.
  4. Unfortunately, the mundane things tend to cause the most trouble.

More About A Design + Consulting (20:22)

  1. They are a small design and consulting practice of mostly healthcare architects.
  2. We all know there’s a better way to do our job, and that’s what unites us as a team.
  3. They are located in San Francisco and they are considering having more of a presence in China and India (these countries have really challenging project needs and they are more open to curiosity and unique solutions).
  4. When consulting, they focus on building the right building and sizing the building.

Zig’s Greatest Strengths as a Leader (24:37)

Zig’s greatest strength as a leader is his curiosity.  He has always felt that there could be a better way of doing things.  He likes to get the group’s opinion and buy-in.  He engages the team in a manner that they move along, and he knows that sometimes someone on the team is going to point out something that no one had thought of that will change the outcome.

Zig’s Greatest Career Challenge (27:03)

Starting a new company and finding clients to work with that are willing to be patient with a new company. Curiosity comes with risk.  You need to be persistently consistent, and consistently persistent.  You need to have your share of resilience with curiosity because you are going to have disappointment.

The Very Best Advice Zig Has Ever Gotten (30:12)

Be confident. Trust that your assumptions and desires are right.  Be confident in your beliefs.

Zig’s Favorite Piece of Technology (31:40)

His phone: It allows him to do just about anything he needs to do.

Resources for Listeners

Contact Zig

Contact Zig by Email

Contact Zig on LinkedIn

A Design + Consulting Website

Zig’s Parting Advice (35:33)

You need to wake up feeling uncomfortable and wanting to change the world.  If you’re curious, you believe something can be better.

Email Sue Dyer at sue@constructiondreamteam.com if you are interested in participating in our Construction Scorecard beta-test.

Construction Nation! Dream Teams don’t just happen they are built one step at a time. Why not send out this episode to your team, so they can help you. The faster you can build your dream team, the faster you can build your success.

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