As a psychology major, I’ve explored a number of personality tests. At this point, I’m not usually one to get excited about a new one. Recently one of my clients found Working Genius and was so excited about it she wanted to use it with her team. That meant that I, as the coach to her team, needed to learn Working Genius. What I learned has wowed me.
The premise is simple. There are six categories of abilities that are needed to get work done. Each of us have two that bring us joy and more energy (working geniuses); two that are energy neutral or slightly draining (working competencies) and two that drain our batteries to the point of crankiness (working frustrations). A well balanced team not only has a few people in each category but also has learned how to leverage different team members so that people spend most of their time working in the realm of things they enjoy doing.
The geniuses are:
Wonder – the person who contemplates how things could be different or better
Invention – the person who takes the wonderer’s musing and generates actionable ideas
Discernment – the person who sorts through all the inventor’s ideas and knows which ones are good to pursue
Galvanizing – the person who gets the whole team excited about doing the inventor’s idea
Enablement – the person who makes sure that no one and nothing gets left behind
Tenacity – the person who makes sure the project gets finished (usually on time).
If you are wondering which are your geniuses, you can take a test at www.workinggenius.com.
You know that one of the principles I live by is that we should each be doing more of what we love. What the Working Genius model does is help us identify the tasks we love to do. So instead of saying “I need a new job,” we can better understand what needs to change so we can potentially do more of what we love right where we are.
If you are an employer who wants to retain your people, this may be the way to go about determining if you have great people who would deliver better results if their work was organized differently.
There are two ways to learn more about Working Genius. One is to read the book – which does a great job of introducing the concept.
The book follows the story of a man who starts out in a job that he loves. He is successful. He loves going to work. Then he is promoted and he hates his job. He gets a new job with a new company and it happens again. This pattern repeats until he starts his own company. As the company grows, he finds himself right back in a job doing things he hates.
A big part of being a traditional boss is galvanizing people to do things. Galvanizing happens to be his working frustration. Figuring out that his geniuses are Invention and Discernment (and learning what each of his team members’ geniuses are) allows him to restructure his team so that he does more Invention and Discernment while someone else on the team does Galvanizing. He once again loves his job.
In fact, his team uses Working Genius so effectively that they bring in team members for certain parts of a project and excuse them from other parts of the same project. That way they use the skills that each has without requiring people to attend things that frustrate them.
The second is to listen to the podcast – The Working Genius Podcast with Pat Rick Lencioni. I actually listen to it on Spotify, so it is easily available. I recommend starting with the episode Six for Six.
Please let me know what jumps out at you and what your geniuses are!
Charlise Latour a business coach and owner of Accelerate Your Success. She works with each client to determine what their goals are and create a plan so they can achieve them. She is actively involved in Dancing & Singing With The King which raises money to promote dance education including working with local schools to offer dance classes during the school day. This is a natural fit as she is an avid ballroom dancer.