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Why your marketing team needs more passionate explorers

Posted by Brad Voeller on August 16, 2016

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This article was edited on January 11th, 2019

Some people like to tread in others' footsteps. They want to know what to do and how to do it, and they're a stabilizing force at a company. These employees do their job competently and may have done it the same way for many years. Other employees come in like a whirlwind. They're driven to change things, both themselves and others - they’re your passionate explorers. While your business could play it safe with employees who maintain the status quo, you also need employees who love growth and change.

For a marketing manager, a passionate explorer can be the key to innovation. In the digital world,  a passionate explorer often has the ability to identify, implement and perhaps master emerging technologies incredibly fast. They could out pace advertising agencies who sometimes wait until a technology has proven itself in the market rather than rolling the dice with a client’s budget.     

What is a Passionate Explorer?

Passionate explorers thrive when they're presented with new challenges and experiences and given room to grow. They want to make an impact in the field, and they're looking for ways to expand their current competencies. Passionate explorers seek to incorporate others into their learning and learn from them as well. As Jeff Bezos says in the I Done This blog, "We have an explorer mentality, so we like to go pioneering. We like to find dark alleyways and wander down them and see if they open up into broad avenues." At work, your explorers will take your company on a continuous adventure, if you let them.

Passionate explorers share the following three key dispositions:

  1. Commitment to Domain: Desires to make a lasting impact in their field or industry.
  2. Questing: Actively challenges the boundaries of their current capabilities to improve their performance.
  3. Connecting: Develops deep interactions with others and finds peers and mentors to gain new insight and accelerate learning.

Passionate Explorers Grow in Alignment with Your Business

Explorers love to grow. While they grow and learn because that is their natural disposition, this growth and learning can benefit your business -- as long as you can align your explorers' interests with your business needs. For example, a digital marketing apprentice who wants to hone skills outside of their regular job duties can add value to your business. If the apprentice is an SEO Analyst and wants to learn more videography skill, they might tackle a project for you and create a series of videos highlighting aspects of your business. Fostering this innovation can lead to big wins in implementing technology ahead of the competition.  

Explorers naturally connect with others. They seek to learn from others and may move from the role of mentee to that of mentor over time. According to Deloitte University Press, "Workers with the connecting disposition seek deep interactions with others and build strong, trust-based relationships to gain new insight." Align these workers with your business, and it will grow along with your explorers.

Passionate Explorers Embrace a Questing Mindsetwork like a boss

Questing is actively challenging the boundaries of your current capabilities to improve performance. Having people who are innovative and push boundaries in the workplace can be challenging if they're not the right fit for their position, but it can also be a huge benefit to the company's culture. As a marketing manager, if you're trying to encourage innovation, placing natural innovators and explorers into your company will generate new discussion. It will also challenge all of your employees to think more deeply about their own desire to change and grow within the company. “Together, the commitment to domain and questing and connecting dispositions create the type of resilience that is critical for increasing performance in today’s rapidly changing world,” according to Deloitte University Press.

Passionate Explorers Catalyze New Relationships and Conversations

It's not always roses when you have an employee who's seeking to learn more, achieve more, and move beyond the job description into new areas of growth and innovation. This can be a challenge for other employees who may feel overwhelmed by the explorer's drive and desire to grow and learn. However, this tension can also lead to productive conflicts, encourage new groups of people to come together, and spur challenging conversations about organizational visions and values.

Are you looking for those who have a willingness to try new paths? Check out our criteria at the end of this post for evaluating new marketing talent for passionate explorer characteristics.

DCI apprentices, who are also passionate explorers, can add a new dimension to your business. Learn more about the apprenticeship model today for bringing new, growth-oriented marketing talent to your team.

How to Evaluate Candidates

When you are evaluating entry-level marketing candidates, look for indications of the three key dispositions of passionate explorers, or at least potential to develop them.

For example, you could ask the following questions to identify the commitment to domain trait:

  • Do you blog or regularly write about your interests?
  • Are you inspired by marketing thought leaders? If so, who inspires you most and why?
  • Do you have interest in educating people and spreading good ideas?
  • Are you excited about what you have learned so far about marketing?

Discover evidence of the questing disposition by asking:

  • What have you been learning recently? Any specific new skills or solutions?
  • Are you an avid reader? What books/blogs/etc. have you read recently?
  • If you were assigned a task outside the scope of your experience, what would you do?
  • Can you describe a situation where you were faced with a daunting obstacle? How did you respond?

And finally, ask these questions for the connecting trait:

  • Are you involved in any industry or trade organizations?
  • Do you go to networking events or conferences?
  • Have you sought mentors to learn from?
  • Are you actively participating in LinkedIn Groups related to your interests or industry?

DCI Apprenticeship Program

Topics: For Small or Medium Enterprises