The 6 Types of Working Genius by Patrick Lencioni is a thought-provoking and insightful guide to unlocking the potential of individuals and teams in the workplace. Lencioni, also known for books such as The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and Death by Meeting, identifies six types of working geniuses that can contribute to exceptional results when harnessed effectively: Wonder, Invention, Discernment, Galvanizing, Enablement, and Tenacity. While the book primarily focuses on team dynamics and organizational leadership, its ideas can also be applied to problem-solving and strategic thinking.
One of the key insights from the book is the idea that everyone has natural talents that can be harnessed to work, including complex challenges such as problem-solving. This idea is also emphasized in People Solve Problems, where I write that individuals possess the potential to become effective problem solvers when they are equipped with the right mindset and capabilities. If valid, then this suggests that leveraging the working genius perspectives can help enable improvement in problem-solving.
Each of the geniuses has its own way of contributing to problem-solving. In an oversimplified view, Wonder can help you initiate the very idea of “is this a problem to solve?” or ask about reframing the problem itself. Invention can help in a very direct way of generating solutions to the problem, but may also help find unique ways to test to learn. Discernment can help validate the prospective success and risks of different ideas. Galvanizing can help keep a team moving, as problem-solving requires initiative and persistence. Enablement allows people to step in and do whatever is needed to help the team move forward. Tenacity ensures we prioritize getting finished, and push through tough moments. This is, of course, a very simple view. In reality, every phase of problem-solving can leverage every one of these geniuses in different ways.
In People Solve Problems, I articulate the best problem-solving as a contact team sport. The point is that bringing out the best of a group of people through a problem is more powerful than a single person’s effort. This is true for many reasons, including bringing together different “working geniuses” but also different knowledge, history, perspectives, and other skills.
Overall, the Working Genius framework is a valuable resource for anyone seeking to unlock their potential for problem-solving and team dynamics. By understanding and harnessing the unique strengths of each team member, building a culture of trust and collaboration, and adopting a discerning mindset, individuals and teams can achieve exceptional results.
I took their online assessment, which gives you feedback on your geniuses (2), your competencies (2), and your frustrations (2) of the different types. The image included is my outcome from that assessment.