Discovering Your Working Geniuses

by LESLIE SPEAS

The Working Genius is a model and assessment that helps individuals identify their talents and frustrations in the context of how any work gets done – and easily apply this information to be more productive and engaged. In the same way, it helps teams to be more productive and engaged by better understanding one another and leveraging the strengths and talents on the team. 

The Working Genius was created by Patrick Lencioni and his team at The Table Group. If you aren’t familiar with Patrick, he is probably best known for the book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. However, he has written many other books about teamwork and leadership and is well known in leadership circles. 

I am a bit of an assessment nerd as I love learning more about myself and others. But this is one of my favorites, so much in fact that I made the investment to become a Certified Facilitator. It is different from other assessments because it is:

  • Easy to translate to the day-to-day experience of doing real work. 
  • Helps you quickly identify your unique talents within the context of how any type of work gets done. 
  • As much of a productivity tool as a personality model.

Before we delve into the six types, let’s review a few definitions:

  • Working Geniuses are activities that bring us joy, energy, and passion. And we are usually very good at them. 
  • Working Competencies are activities that we find neither completely miserable nor completely joyful. We can do them fairly well and manage to operate in them for a while.
  • Working Frustrations involve work that drains us of joy and energy. We usually struggle in these areas and will likely be miserable if we spend too much time doing them. 

Two of our geniuses fall into each of these categories.

Below are the Six Types:

WONDER 

People with the Genius of Wonder love to speculate and question. They ask questions like, “Why are things the way they are? Is there a better way?” They love to sit in the ambiguity and imagine the possibilities. People with the Genius of Wonder help create the conditions for Invention. 

INVENTION 

People with the Genius of Invention get joy from taking challenges and generating solutions. They enjoy innovating from scratch and love a blank whiteboard or piece of paper on which they can brainstorm. 

DISCERNMENT 

People with the Genius of Discernment have a natural ability to evaluate the workability of ideas. They are good curators of what’s going on around them and can recognize patterns. They know how to connect the dots and give people good feedback across a broad range of topics. 

GALVANIZING 

People with the Genius of Galvanizing love to get things moving. They are great at pushing people out of their comfort zone and inspiring them to get started. They enjoy rallying people around an idea and getting them moving in the right direction.

ENABLEMENT 

People with the Genius of Enablement make things happen. They know how to help, when to help, and can flex to whatever the situation calls for. People with the Genius of Enablement are people-oriented and want to help realize a vision. This genius provides the support needed to move solutions into the first stages of Implementation. 

TENACITY 

People with the Genius of Tenacity are task-oriented and love to take things across the finish line. They ensure a project is going to have the impact it’s supposed to have and lives up to agreed-upon standards. They don’t respond to the emotional appeal of the galvanizer but to the need to see the work completed.

All of the types are necessary to get work done with no genius being better than another. And if you notice the order looking at the first letter of each type, they spell WIDGET, so thinking of widgets like Legos, they build on one another.

So, what do you think are your Working Geniuses, Working Competencies and Working Frustrations? You can find out for sure by taking the assessment at www.workinggenius.com. You won’t regret it as it will provide you with great insight into the work that will be most fulfilling for you, as well as what will drain you and potentially result in burnout. 

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