Note: this is the fifth in a new series of weekly tips to build a functional, collaborative, aligned team.
I love to ask questions and wonder why things are the way they are. A few months ago, my wife and I were sitting in a CarMax dealership to sell my Father-in-law’s car. It was a remarkably easy process, even though his car was over 10 years old. While sitting in an uncomfortable chair in the hallway, waiting for our transaction to be completed, and watching people pass back and forth, I started to ask questions. How do they make this so easy? Is this one of their strategic anchors that make them successful? Do they continuously work to improve their process of buying used cars? Of course, I was driving my wife crazy with all my questions. After all, we were just there to sell a car! Not to analyze their organizational alignment and focus.
This also happens in many teams. We all have natural working geniuses but when we use them at the wrong time, we create unnecessary turbulence on the team. Especially when we are the leader.
This tip doesn’t come from me, it comes from Patrick Lencioni’s new Six Types of Working Genius model. When I am facilitating a strategic offsite to build a functional, collaborative, aligned leadership team, a pre-requisite for an aligned organization, Working Genius is one of the tools I use. It almost always produces eye-opening insights for the team.
Here is a very quick summary followed by the tip.
There are six types of working genius. These are fundamental activities that are required for any type of work to get done successfully. We each have two geniuses that give us joy and fulfillment – our natural gifts, if you will.
These six types of genius fit into three phases of work: ideation, activation, and implementation.
Here’s the problem: we leverage our genius for the wrong phase of work. This creates unnecessary turbulence on the team. When we do this as leaders, it has double the effect.
For example, a new initiative is proposed, and we use our natural working genius to get right to the detail and implementation, skipping over the ideation and activation work that must be done for the initiative to be successful. This greatly frustrates your ideation team members.
Or, an initiative is about ready to be rolled out, and we use our natural working genius to ideate by asking lots of questions. Should we change this? Is there a better way to do that? Should we consider…? This greatly frustrates our more detail-oriented implementation team members.
Here’s the tip: identify the phase of work and regulate your genius.
That means to not use your genius if the phase of work doesn’t call for it. If you naturally get joy and fulfillment from ideating, don’t ideate when the work is in the implementation phase. If you naturally get joy and fulfillment from implementing, don’t implement when the work is in the ideation phase.
Making this one commitment will eliminate a major source of unnecessary turbulence on the team.
Go build a functional, collaborative, aligned team!