What's in Your Working Genius?
Another way of looking at how people and teams make choices.
Strolling through a park on a sunny day. Nobody’s around. You come upon a lost wallet with the usual wallet stuff; a driver’s license, a couple of credit cards, and $83 in cash. What will you do?
We can look at this scenario like an economist, think about costs and utility, and predict behavior based on incentives. Or, we could see it through a moral or religious lens; are you a believer? Politics is another way of thinking about who returns wallets and who doesn’t. Red or Blue?
Let’s take a peek through the lens of Working Genius® and speculate on what combination of Working Genius might be more or less likely to return the wallet or keep the money.
I predict that someone with the genius of Enablement will always return the wallet. Enablers are energized by helping others. A lost wallet is an obvious problem for the owner and the Enabler will want to help. It’s an excellent opportunity for an Enabler to do what gives them energy.
Someone whose working frustrations are Enablement and Tenacity might be less inclined to return the wallet. For these folks, finding the owner and coordinating the logistics is burdensome; they derive less internal satisfaction from doing good deeds but suffer the costs of tedious tasks more. If this person also happens to have the genius of Invention, they might be pretty good at coming up with satisfactory reasons to justify keeping the money.
I predict that most people who keep the money have Invention as a working genius or a working competency. However, I don't believe that having Invention predisposes one to keep the money.
A Galvanizer might want to enlist others to return the wallet. A Discerner will weigh the options. Someone with the genius of Wonder will be interested in who this person is. Where are they? How did they lose their wallet? What will happen if the wallet isn’t returned?
If a whole team containing each of the six working geniuses finds the wallet, it might go something like this:
Someone with Wonder says, “Look. There’s a wallet. I wonder who lost it? I wonder if they’re still in the park? I wonder if anyone saw them? I wonder if this is going to interfere with lunch?”
The Inventor picks up the wallet, looks inside, and says, “We could call the owner or take the wallet to their house. Or we could take the cash to buy lunch, or take the credit card and go to Hawaii. What if we keep the cash but return the wallet? What if we forget the whole thing and let someone else deal with it?”
“We need to return the wallet…and the money,” says the Enabler.
The Discerner, reviewing the ideas, suggests calling the owner, “If nobody answers, we can let them know we have the wallet, and they can call back.”
The Galvanizer volunteers to make the call. The Enabler agrees to keep the wallet at her desk since she’s always in the office.
Tenacity follows up to ensure the wallet is returned.
The Working Genius model is a handy tool to better understand how you and your coworkers behave and decide.
What’s your in your Working Genius?