Ever since I read The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni, I’ve been a big fan of his work. Lencioni is a consultant who focuses on improving workplaces and organizational culture. He’s lucid, easy to read, and always makes intuitive sense to me as a leadership practitioner. Almost all of his books are structured as ‘fables,’ with an explanation of the model he’s addressing (teams; meetings; hiring; etc.) at the end. This makes his books enjoyable, engaging, and quick to get through.
His most recent book is The 6 Types of Working Genius, which, like his other books, I found incredibly helpful and insightful. Before I dive in, an important note: Lencioni is a consultant and practitioner, not a researcher. I’m generally skeptical of books written by consultants, and even here, cannot attest to the model he presents as having validity (i.e. accuracy). However, like his other work, it resonates powerfully with my lived work experience, and I find it useful to help me think about my personal leadership work, and leadership team dynamic.
Now – the book. A ‘genius’ in Lecinoni’s definition is an area of work that comes naturally to me, that gives me energy, and which I love to do. The flip side of a ‘genius’ is a ‘frustration,’ or an activity that drains me, even if I’m capable of doing it. The middle category is ‘competencies,’ or areas that I can do well, but which I don’t particularly like and which drain me if I do too much of. Now, we can’t only work in our ‘genius’ (yes, I keep putting it in quotation marks because the word itself makes my skin crawl, but in the end, it’s his word, and it works well enough). Often we have to do things we’re competent at, and even work in areas of frustration. The key is to make sure the overall balance is such that I have a net positive energy at work, rather than a net negative which leads to frustration and burnout.
There are 6 areas of genius: Wonder (thinking outside the given), Invention (coming up with new ideas and solutions), Discernment (the ability to evaluate new ideas and give advice), Galvanizing (inspiring others to take action), Enablement (assisting others in their project), Tenacity (pushing a project to completion). Beyond identifying where one’s strengths lie as an individual (I couldn’t keep using ‘genius’ in quotation marks – sorry Patrick), is the way it works to look at strengths across a team. This can help a group to see where they have a lot of talent, where they are missing, and where frustration is being built up. And yes, the Netivot leadership team is reading and learning this together!
If you work on, or especially if you lead a team, the book is worth your while – and it’s a very quick read.
Just Because I Liked It:
- I’m both a big fan of Tim Ferris and Jonathan Haidt, and even though I’d heard Haidt interviewed before (and read a couple of his books), I found quite a bit either new, or worth reviewing. Take a listen.
- There’s been a lot made of Rabbi Avi Ciment’s series of articles about the challenges of Modern Orthodoxy, which you can find here. I’ll have more to say about this on my blog, but in the meantime, the articles are worth reading and thinking about!