Who do you know?
Do you know someone (maybe even yourself) who enjoys…
- wondering why things are done as they are?
- filling ‘blank slates’ with brand new creations/ideas/processes?
- poking holes in others’ new ideas and sharing what may and may not work about those ideas?
- rallying others into action with enthusiasm and full support of new ideas?
- responding to others’ needs with a definitive, ‘Yes, I can help with that!’?
- ensuring initiatives make it across the finish line on time and on point?
My guess is that you’re able to think of people you know who excel in some of the six actions listed above. And you likely chose a couple of favorite actions of your own, too.
These actions represent The 6 Types of Working Genius as shared in Patrick Lencioni’s book of the same name. The six geniuses are described as:
Wonder: The ability to ask big-picture questions and see possibilities and opportunities
Invention: The talent for generating new ideas and creative solutions
Discernment: The skill of making wise decisions based on thoughtful analysis and evaluation
Galvanizing: The ability to rally and motivate others around a common goal or vision
Enablement: The talent of bringing plans to fruition by organizing and providing necessary resources
Tenacity: The determination and persistence to see projects through to completion.
These geniuses are present all around us whether we have an awareness of the Working Genius model or not.
The frustrations that come with geniuses
Case in point: On a recent coaching call, my new client shared his frustration about how projects at his workplace are completed and then sometimes discarded which he views as a huge waste of time. This client is a middle manager who leads a team of eight. He reports to a leader who shares creative ideas regularly, and my client’s peers then join in with wonder and discernment about those ideas.
He told me he appreciates his boss’s ability to generate new plans and ideas, and he also values his peers’ talent in asking thought-provoking questions and providing valuable feedback. What he doesn’t appreciate, however, is the weight that’s put on him and his team to see each of these new initiatives to the finish line. He described a few instances from past efforts where his team members put other priorities aside. They worked solely on the ‘new and improved’ idea only to get feedback from his boss that they were going to go a different route with a ‘newer and even more improved’ idea.
Begin with self-awareness
I asked this client if he was familiar with the 6 Working Geniuses, and when he said he wasn’t, I suggested he take the assessment to learn what his top two geniuses are. I sent him the assessment link, and he found he is a GE. In other words, his two geniuses are Galvanizing and Enablement. He excels with getting his people on board with a plan and then jumping in and helping where necessary.
The Working Genius model says we each have two areas of genius, two areas of frustration, and two areas of competency (i.e., areas where we can do the thing but it doesn’t bring us great joy and fulfillment).
Without the rest of his team having taken the assessment yet, he shared that he believes he does have a few with the genius of Tenacity. This, of course, is what’s helping them get to that finish line with projects. His current boss likely has Invention as one of his geniuses, and many of his peers excel with Wonder and Discernment.
Then add team awareness
You might be thinking that it’s great to know one’s own areas of genius, but this isn’t the end all be all. This client, for example, is still annoyed that his team’s hard work is often dismissed since his boss comes up with new ideas by the time they finish the first idea. My client’s frustration doesn’t decrease simply because he knows his areas of genius.
This is where the magic of the model comes in. The first step is self-awareness of one’s own geniuses. Next, it’s time for team awareness. When every team member takes the simple assessment, they gain self-awareness, and the team wins when areas of genius, competency, and frustration are shared in a group setting. Communication then improves because people articulate their thoughts more clearly.
For my client, that articulation might sound like this:
When his boss brings up a new idea, and others begin questioning it, that boss might say, “Oh, this isn’t ready for ‘go time’. Right now, I’m simply I-ing (short for Inventing).”
When my client gathers his team to begin something new, he might say, “Now I know we’ve got some Wonder geniuses in our group. At this point, we’re past the ‘why’ stage. We’re moving forward with this. Consider this my Galvanizing step. Let’s rally and give it our all!”
Awareness + communication
As for my work with this client, we’re expanding the scope from one-on-one coaching to a combo plan of individualized coaching and team sessions centered on the Working Genius model.
Leadership self-awareness is important. Communication about that self-awareness is just as important. The most ideal plans include both.
Curious about your own areas of genius, competency, and frustration as well as those of your team? Reach out to me, and we’ll get you started with the Working Genius process. Expanded self- and team awareness are just around the corner for you!