388: Patrick Lencioni - The Six Types Of Working Genius
53 min

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Episode #388: Patrick Lencioni - The 6 Types of Working Genius


  • What is a "Working Genius?” – There are six different types, and we all have two of them that are natural to us.  We are good at doing them, and we get energy and joy and satisfaction from them.
  • What about the other four areas? – Two of them are areas that we really struggle with.  They exhaust us and drain us of our energy and passion, and in many cases, we’re not very good at them.  We call these our areas of Working Frustration. We should doing those things as much as we possibly can, and we certainly shouldn’t do work that calls for us to do them frequently. That is a recipe for frustration, failure, depression. And then there are two other areas that are in between our geniuses and our frustrations, we call these Working Competencies, areas that we can do pretty well, maybe even really well, but that don’t necessarily give us energy or joy. It’s fine to have these things be part of your job, and even the primary part of your job sometimes, but it’s not as good as living and working in your areas of genius.
  • What is different about The Six Types of Working Genius and other personal assessments out there? -- This one is quicker to understand, easier to apply, and focused on the work of getting things done.
  • What are the six types of working genius?
    • Wonder - People with this genius can’t help but question whether things could be better in the world around them. They are troubled whenever they see unmet potential, and they are constantly curious and on the lookout for the need to change something.
    • Invention - This type of genius is all about creativity. People who have it love to generate new ideas and solutions to problems and are even comfortable coming up with something out of nothing.
    • Discernment - People with this type of genius have a natural ability when it comes to evaluating or assessing a given idea or situation and providing guidance. They have good instincts, gut feel and judgment about the subtleties of making decisions that integrate logic, common sense and human needs.
    • Galvanizing - This type of genius is about bringing energy and movement to an idea or decision. People who have it like to initiate activity by rallying people to act and inspiring them to get involved.
    • Enablement - People with this type of genius are quick to respond to the needs of others by offering their cooperation and assistance with a project, program or effort. They naturally provide the human assistance that is required in any endeavor, and not on their own terms.
    • Tenacity - This type is about ensuring that a given project, program or effort is taken to completion and achieves the desired result. People who have this genius push for required standards of excellence and live to see the impact of their work.
  • What are Pat's areas of working genius? "I am naturally good at and drawn to what we call Invention and Discernment, I like to come up with new, original ideas, even when it’s not what’s called for.  And I love to use my intuition to evaluate and assess ideas and plans to see what would be best.  My areas of frustration are Tenacity and Enablement, meaning I struggle to push projects through to completion after the initial excitement wears off, and I have a hard time providing assistance to others on their terms. That doesn’t mean I can’t do those things, because all of us have to do things we don’t like or aren’t good at sometimes. But if I’m in a situation where people are relying on me as their primary source of enablement and tenacity, that’s not good for me or for them in the long run."
  • What are my areas of working genius? Discernment and Tenacity. The assessment says: "You are good at and enjoy using your intuition and instincts to evaluate and assess ideas or plans, and pushing projects and tasks through to completion to ensure that the desired results are achieved."
    • Your likely areas of Working Competency are: Invention and Galvanizing. "You are capable of and don’t mind creating original and novel ideas and solutions, and rallying people and inspiring them to take action around a project, task or idea."
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