The Clarity I Didn’t Know I Needed
I can remember when I first began hearing about The Six Types of Working Genius and feeling like I was understood…even in a way I hadn’t fully grasped myself.
As I walked around my neighbourhood with my headphones in, I listened to Pat Lencioni’s podcast and found myself agreeing regularly with his descriptions around work… ‘That’s me’, ‘We experience that as a team’, ‘That’s why I feel…’
It was as though he knew me, my team and how I approached work. Clearly, he didn’t know me but what he was sharing accurately described me and my experience…it just made so much sense.
As I listened, there were two things that brought a sense of relief to me (albeit in different ways).
FIRST, I finally understood where I most enjoyed contributing to work & on teams. It’s like a light-bulb went off that both articulated and validated the value I brought to the table.
Previously, I wrestled with answering the question people sometimes ask “what do you enjoy doing?”. Even when I could muster up some kind of answer, what I enjoyed didn’t sound much like ‘real work’ (my Working Genius combination is Wonder-Discerner). So I defaulted to loyalty & work ethic (read more here).
SECOND, understanding what kind of work energized me (and what didn’t) enabled me to see how & where my default approach to work (using my Geniuses) impacted my effectiveness at work – for better AND for worse.
Remember, This is a Productivity Tool
The Six Types of Working Genius is much more than a personality assessment for self-awareness. In fact, it’s only 20% personality BUT 80% a productivity tool.
Working Genius is a self-awareness ‘WIDGET’ that helps identify where work energizes you so you can optimize your contributions with greater joy and productivity.
And with that awareness comes the responsibility to use what you know for the betterment of those you work and do life with.
As we consider the value of Regulating Your Genius, let’s look at The 6 Types of Working Genius from the perspective of ELEVATION.
The Elevation of The Six Types of Geniuses…
- Wonder is at 30,000 ft – loves pondering possibilty and the need for change
- Invention is at 25,000 ft – naturally enjoys creating brand new solutions
- Discernment is at 20,000 ft – intuitively evaluates and enjoys providing feedback on the workability of ideas.
- Galvanizing is at 15,000 ft – energized by rallying the troops to get moving in the right direction.
- Enablement is at 10,000 ft – enjoys providing the support necessary to see solutions take shape.
- Tenacity is at 5,000 – 0 ft – satisfaction is found by bringing projects across the finish line with the desired results.
Activities for Getting Work Done
Before we move on, let’s remember that these Geniuses are also Activities. Meaning, they represent the six activities necessary for doing any kind of work and they function in a relatively linear way from 30,000 ft to zero ft.
(Remember: Genius refers to the idea that an individual is energized by an activity)
With this picture of Elevation, it’s easy to see how skipping over or not giving enough time to even one activity would result in some turbulence.
Why? Because every activity requires the preceding and following activities in order to function productively because they each play a crucial part.
- Invention needs a question of relevance to respond to in creating solutions (otherwise inventing is a hobby)
- Discernment has to have a solution to refine.
- Galvanizing needs a clear, discerned solution to rally people around. Etc.
A Case for the Need to Regulate Your Genius
I want you to picture a brainstorming session which occurs in the Ideation stage of work incorporating the activities of Wonder & Invention.
People are asking questions trying to understand where improvement and relevance meet. Ideas are being tossed like spaghetti against a wall. Some are sitting quietly pondering, looking like they’re disengaged. But they’re actually deep in thought, enjoying the process like a kid in a candy shop. Others are at a whiteboard, writing, drawing, diagramming, erasing…it’s fun.
At least or especially for those who have Wonder or Invention. But because brainstorming requires creativity, anything that hinders a free-flow of thinking should be avoided…at least for now.
So imagine what happens when a well-meaning individual latches onto a solution that’s taking shape (though incomplete nor has decision been made) and naturally…even innocently rides their enthusiasm and begins to Galvanize people.
Or think of someone who begins to focus on the finer details of strategy and implementation and how this can prematurely bring the conversation down several thousand feet to Enablement or Tenacity.
In either case, the team has to struggle to bring the conversation back up to the 25,000 – 30,000 ft elevation again after experiencing a drop that has managed to create some major turbulence in brainstorming process.
Turbulence is Created Despite Good Intentions
More often than not, turbulence is unintentionally created by a person who is genuinely trying to be helpful.
This is natural.
Because our Geniuses come easy to us, we’re going to be prone to participate at the elevation that brings us the most joy (path of least resistance). However, when we are not aware of our need to Regulate Our Genius, we’ll continue in our innocent but disruptive pattern.
Though unintentional, this kind of turbulence will likely create some frustration on your team for three reasons:
1. No one enjoys a meeting that easily derails and lacks focus/objectivity. People will feel their time is being wasted and become disinterested.
2. People with the Geniuses that correspond to the required elevation will become wearisome by the need to exert more energy to bring the conversation back. Plus, their contribution is being short-circuited – which is frustrating to anyone.
3. When the conversation skips multiple activities, those with the corresponding Geniuses being skipped are left out – with a contribution they feel they didn’t get a chance to give. This can inadvertently cause them to feel overlooked.
Turbulence in Conversations? – ‘Regulate Your Genius’?
Simply put, Regulating Your Genius means you have an awareness of:
- what your Geniuses are (self-awareness)
- the stage of work the project &/or conversation is at (conextual awareness)
- when to employ your genius & when to hold it back (timing awareness)
- how to still engage & participate even when work is at a different elevation than your Geniuses (awareness of need)
- knowing who on your team has the Genius that corresponds with the stage of work you’re in & leaning into their gifts (team awareness)
At the end of the day, Regulating your Genius is about maturing and developing a team mindset.
Your team is on a journey of growth and no one is expected to be perfect. Working Genius will equip you with language and a framework for the process of work that puts your team on the same page.
And when these elements are applied by your team, you will experience improved communication and collaboration…and a greater measure of grace.
So let me ask if you want to…
- avoid team turbulence & the frustration it creates?
- see your team collaborate better & increase effectiveness?
- redeem future time from being wasted in meetings?
- take your team to the next level?
- experience less guilt & judgment on your team?
Then take Working Genius for a Test Drive!
I’m convinced that the Working Genius will help you to adjust and improve your team’s productivity and morale at work. If you lead a team, it’s worth seeing firsthand how this model can change the game for your team.
I can’t convince you BUT that’s what the test drive is for. I’ll give you a custom link to a WG Assessment and follow-up with a 45 min debrief of a team workshop. If it resonates, we’ll set it up for your entire team to experience The Working Genius.