Danielle Smith – Get a Discerner on board!

It’s hard to look at a political or business news story without thinking of Patrick Lencioni’s new book, The Six Types of Working Genius, and how mishaps can be mitigated by ensuring all six geniuses are represented on a team. Take CBC contributor Jason Markusoff and his analysis of Premier Danielle Smith’s political missteps in the article, “From well cleanups to Sovereignty Act, Danielle Smith’s big ideas keep deflating”, as an example. Maruksoff writes, “…when stress-tested in reality, and pulled through the machinery of government, nothing seemed quite as easy, certain or even workable.”[1]

According to Lencioni, we all have two working geniuses (areas of work that give us energy), two working competencies (we can perform these functions, but they’ll tire us out after a while), and two working frustrations (work that totally drains us). The geniuses are:

Wonder: The ability to think of the big picture and wonder how something could be different or better.

Invention: The ability to come up with ideas and problem solve.

Discernment: The ability to intuitively know if something is a good idea or not.

Galvanizing: The ability to rally or inspire people around an idea or initiative.

Enabling: The ability to do the work necessary to bring the idea and support the project.

Tenacity: The ability to finish or push an idea or initiative across the finish line.

Big ideas come from people who have Wonder as a genius. My guess is Premier Smith may have Wonder as one of her geniuses. Wonder gives space for teams to dream, brainstorm and create. People with Wonder as a genius are comfortable with ambiguity and blue-sky thinking, but someone on the team needs to say, “Wait a minute? Have you thought about the impact of this policy on A, B, and C? How does this align with our strategic plan?” Questioning can be tough when your boss is the person coming up with the ideas, but it’s critical all six geniuses are represented to increase the likelihood of the initiative’s success.

Lencioni describes three phases of work: Ideation, Activation, and Implementation. It’s common for teams to jump from ideation (Wonder and Invention) to implementation (Enablement and Tenacity) and leave out activation (Discernment and Galvanizing). Teams that are underrepresented in Discernment are likely to experience high rates of failure because they don’t anticipate problems and issues before launching a new initiative. Furthermore, resentment and blame arise between the people coming up with the big ideas and those who are expected to implement the ideas. Ever wonder why tension exists between politicians and the public service?

The Six Types of Working Genius is a game-changer in terms of how your teams show up at work, the geniuses they bring to the table and the frustrations that might be burning them out. Brave Birds Studio is one of only a few companies in western Canada certified to work with teams on The Six Types of Working Genius. Contact us for more information on how the 6G’s can improve your team’s productivity, morale, and success.

[1] https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/danielle-smith-rstar-well-cleanup-kris-kinnear-advisers-1.6760181. February 26, 2023

Photo by Ludovic Migneault