“I wish I were better at…” Does that sound familiar? You’ve likely uttered or heard someone else say these words countless times. Whether it’s “I wish I were better at golf” (not a sentiment I share) or “I wish I were better at getting exercise” (a sentiment I express almost weekly), these wishes often remain just that—wishes. They highlight areas we’d like to improve, but competing priorities frequently vie for our time and resources. Occasionally, however, our wishes tap into deeper emotional currents. For example, the wish to be “better at relationships” might reveal lingering hurt or past trauma.

My own personal struggle? Details. Countless times, I’ve felt frustrated with myself for lacking focus on the finer points. I’m not alone in this. I recall reading an account by Patrick Lencioni, a renowned expert on business culture, discussing his own difficulties with attention to detail. It’s simply not in his DNA. It’s not that he undervalues details; rather, the process of getting tasks across the finish line often leaves him drained. His insights not only resonate with me but also provide valuable language for a widespread issue: many of us excel at a variety of tasks, but not all of them energize us or seem like a natural fit. Perhaps you can relate.

As a professional deeply engaged in the realm of business coaching, with a focus on team building and culture development, I’ve encountered numerous frameworks aimed at enhancing workplace efficiency. Whether it’s facilitating better mutual understanding among team members through True Colors or helping individuals explore their CliftonStrengths in depth, my passion for these methods remains unwavering. However, I’ve discovered that the Working Genius Model is equally insightful and actionable for improving work performance. In my quest to inspire teams to reach their full potential, this model serves as an invaluable tool for both individual and collective growth.

What is the Working Genius Model?

The Working Genius Model identifies six areas—termed ‘geniuses’—where people naturally excel. The idea is that each person has two areas of ‘working genius,’ two areas of ‘working competency,’ and two areas of ‘working frustration.’ By understanding where you and your team members shine, you can delegate tasks effectively, reduce friction, and build toward a more harmonious and productive workplace.  Here’s a quick summary of the Genius’s:


Individuals with a genius for wonder are excellent at questioning the status quo. They’re the ‘big idea’ people, always asking “what if?” and “why not?”


The genius of invention involves creating original and novel solutions. These individuals are adept at thinking outside the box and finding new ways to address challenges.


People with a gift for discernment are keenly insightful and possess an intuitive sense of what feels right or wrong in a particular situation. They are the ones you want to consult before making a significant decision.


Galvanizers have a knack for rallying the troops and getting others excited about an idea or project. They create momentum and are excellent at getting initiatives off the ground.


The genius of enablement involves providing active and constructive support to others. These individuals are particularly adept at facilitating collaboration and bringing out the best in their team.


Those with a tenacity genius are the finishers, committed to bringing tasks and projects to completion. They derive satisfaction from crossing the finish line and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.

The Impact on Workplace Effectiveness

By applying the Working Genius Model in your workplace, you not only gain a clearer understanding of individual strengths but also create an environment that harnesses these unique capabilities for the collective good. Team members who are deployed in areas where they are naturally genius are more engaged, more productive, and quite simply, happier.

For me, the Working Genius Model has helped alleviate my own “I wish I were better at” syndrome. It has not entirely eliminated my frustrations, but it has enabled me to allocate more time to tasks that energize me and at which I excel. The model serves as a transformative tool for any team aiming to elevate both performance and morale. Through this framework, one can uncover hidden talents and cultivate a workplace culture that both values and harnesses the unique genius inherent in each individual.

Until next time,