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Getting More Done as a Team
First I want to say thank you for your interest in our last episode about the banking failures we saw a few weeks ago. We had a tremendous amount of interest, so we appreciate your role in sharing the episode with those that wanted a layman’s summary of what happened and what decisions should be made in light of it. A layman’s summary is exactly what we seek to provide in this podcast. Financial news can be full of jargon that you don’t understand and concepts that writers often assume are understood. We want to take financial happenings and concepts and distill them into a readily understandable form. We hope and trust we did that, based on the interest in our last episode. If you still have friends who have not listened to it, we invite you to share it with them.
Today’s Podcast is going to be a little different. I want to talk today about a tool that I came across that may be really helpful for you in getting things done. I confess that, personally, I have a long way to go in leading others well from the creation of an idea all the way through to its execution. Today I’m going to talk about a tool that can help me get things done more efficiently and effectively, and I trust it may be of benefit to you as well. It’s called the Working Genius by Patrick Lencioni. Now let me say at the outset that it’s going to sound like I’m promoting this model, and I am. But let me be clear that I’m not receiving any referral fee or incentive. I simply want to share a tool that could be a huge benefit to you in getting more things done and getting them done in a better way. I first came across Patrick Lencioni when a friend of mine at church recommended his book, The Five Disfunctions of a Team. I listened to the book and found it helpful and particularly insightful. It’s hard to bring new things to the crowded leadership content realm, but I believe Lencioni did that through this book. I believe he has done the same with Working Genius. I was exposed to The Working Genius when another friend of mine told me I should check it out – and I’m so glad I did. The Working Genius model is more than a personality profile. It’s a gifts assessment – or to use Lencioni’s terminology, a genius assessment. He divides the way we get things done into 6 different phases, and Lencioni’s thesis is that every individual is naturally gifted at working within 2 of those phases, naturally competent working in 2 of those phases, and easily frustrated working in the last two of those phases.
So let me share those six phases of work and a brief description of what people do in those phases: the first phase is what Lencioni calls Wonder. This phase is at the very beginning because it involves asking the right questions about making something better. It involves identifying a problem that should be solved. People who have the gift of wonder often don’t know the answers, but they know the right questions and can further identify the questions that are worth asking. The second phase is called Invention. An Inventor considers the question the Wonderer asks and says, “I think I may have a solution for that. Check out my idea.” As a matter of fact, Inventors are idea factories, they love proposing solutions to problems. The reality is that some of those ideas are good, and some of those ideas aren’t. So this is where the next phase comes – the phase of discernment. People with the gift of discernment are able to evaluate the ideas that came from the inventor and decide which ones are good, which ones are bad, and which ones just need tweaking. They are able to sharpen the focus of solutions and refine them. At this point we move into phase four – the phase of Galvanizing. Someone with the gift of galvanizing takes this good idea that has been vetted and improved upon and rallies the troops to get to work on it. Galvanizers are inspiring and are able to motivate people to get to work on implementing the idea. That leads us to the fifth phase, called the enablement phase. People who have the gift of enablement raise their hands and say, “How can I help get this off the ground? What do you need from me?” Enablers are helpers by nature, and they move the idea along through toward implementation. We have now arrived at the sixth and final phase – the tenacity phase. You could also call this the finishing phase, since people with the gift of tenacity are great at getting these projects across the finish line. People who are gifted in this phase are generally good at details and they will not rest until a project is marked as complete. So there’s a brief overview of the 6 phases of getting work done. Now here’s what I think is unique about this model.
The Working Genius Model recognizes and embraces natural giftedness. Lencioni says we all have certain God-given gifts, and we are called to put them to use. I couldn’t agree more. Each of us is made uniquely and we have something to offer the various organizations that we serve. So, The Working Genius is an assessment tool that helps identify what phases of work you are good at, and what phases you are not good at.
The Working Genius identifies what kind of work brings you joy. It doesn’t just identify what comes naturally, but it identifies what fills up your tank. This allows you to try and participate in the part of the work cycle that brings you fulfillment in your current job, or to make sure your next job consists of those areas.
The Working Genius Model helps create a greater sense of self-awareness. Sometimes we are clueless that we are really good at one thing, and maybe not good at all at another. Understanding your natural wiring can help you more effectively play to your strengths and depend on others in your weaknesses.
The Working Genius model helps you know and celebrate the gifts of others. This is a model that recognizes our incredible need to rely on the strengths of others. In a team setting, if you understand the gifts of the team, you can do a better job of everyone playing their role on the field.
The Working Genius model is relatively simple. Strengths Finder and Myers Briggs are really helpful tools, but they can get complicated and hard to remember. I believe this model is more simple and should be fairly easy to implement.
The Working Genius Model helps fight against unnecessary guilt, as it’s foundational premise is that we can’t be good at everything. It’s easy to see the gifts of another and envy those gifts or beat yourself up because you don’t have them. This model calls each person to embrace their own giftedness and celebrate the gifts of others.
The Working Genius helps explain why some teams sit in the idea phase and never get things off the ground, or why other teams get bogged down in the details and don’t have anyone to keep the team focused on the big picture. Bottom line: It can identify roadblocks and ruts that teams get stuck in.
So, how has this been helpful for me so far? We’ll I’m just getting started. I’ve learned about the model by listening to the Working Genius podcast. There are almost 50 episodes, and I’ve listened to two thirds of them and I’m still going. After listening to enough episodes to believe the model was legitimate and brought something new to the table, I took the assessment, and have had two of the teammates I work most closely with to take it as well. I’m seriously considering rolling it out to all 98 of our teammates here at the bank. Is this model perfect? Certainly not. No model is. Does it help give us some terms and understanding to help us work together better as a team? I really believe it does. At some point in the future, I’ll give you an update to let you know how it’s going and how helpful it has been to our organization.
The Working Genius is consistent with the leadership framework I shared in previous podcasts – one of the primary activities of leaders being “Understanding Your Team.” I believe this model helps me better understand my team and will lead me to better direct what role they need to play on the field.
Speaking of understanding your team, at MBC/Foundation Bank we do our best to understand our customers. You are not merely a number at our bank – you are a member of our financial community. If you are a small business owner, we want to understand what you are trying to accomplish and to suggest tools and resources to help get you there. If you are a home buyer, we want to understand your goals and suggest strategies to help you accomplish them. If you are trying think ahead for the future, we want to help chart a path to get you where you want to go. Start your financial conversation with us today by visiting our website or contacting your local branch. If you’ve found this podcast helpful, we hope you’ll subscribe to it in your favorite podcast app and share it on social media. Until our next episode, God bless you.
-President Chad P. Wilson, CFP
Today’s episode of “Money Matters” was written and recorded by President Chad P. Wilson of McKenzie Banking Company / Foundation Bank on April 4, 2023. This episode does not constitute financial advice. Please consult a financial professional to discuss your specific needs. MBC/Foundation Bank is an Equal Housing Lender, Member FDIC.