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Jake Lundberg
Jake Lundberg

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What Are Your Geniuses?

I've always found personal assessments to be very helpful and interesting. Every time I've taken one I've not only learned more about myself, but also about those around me. From what kinds of things motivate us, to how we communicate best, to what frustrates and/or annoys us, having a better understanding of yourself and the people around you can lead to some pretty amazing results.

There are a bunch of personal assessments out there. Maybe you've heard of (or even taken) the Meyers Briggs Type Indicator or DiSC. Well recently, I discovered another assessment that was a bit different, and it lead me down a very interesting path that I wanted to share...and that's what this post is about.

Before I get into any details, let me start by stating that I am in no way affiliated with The Table Group. Other than reading some of their books, taking an assessment, and listening to a podcast, I have no connection to them whatsoever. What I'm sharing here are my own experiences and observations, and am only writing this post because I found them incredibly helpful and enlightening and hope that by sharing them, you might as well. With that out of the way, let's continue.


Recently at work, I was recommended a book called The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team. It's a fantastic book about team building that's been around for decades, and I would highly recommend checking it out...but that's not what this post is about. I bring up the book because in it, Patrick Lencioni mentions an assessment called "The 6 Working Geniuses". I was curious, so I decided to go on a little side quest and look into it.

The basic idea made sense to me right away. "When people are able to better understand the types of work that bring them more energy and fulfillment and avoid work that leads to frustration and failure, they can be more self-aware, more productive and more successful." (Group, The Table. Home | The Six Types of Working Genius, n.d.). Being a very productivity focussed person, I was intrigued.

They go on to explain that all work, both professional and personal, is made up of 6 fundamental activities. Of these 6 activities, each of us have 2 that are our "Working Geniuses", which are activities we're naturally gifted in and get lots of fulfillment and joy out of. There are also 2 that are our "Working Frustrations", or activities that (even if we're good at them) drain us of our energy, joy, and fulfillment. The remaining 2 activities are what they call our "Working Competencies", which are activities that don't really fulfill or drain us.

The 6 Types of Genius

So what are these 6 types of activities, or "geniuses", you might be wondering? Let's have a brief look at each one.


The first genius is called Wonder and is generally the first thing that happens for any kind of work. It's the activity of pondering things and asking the "big" questions. People with this genius find lots of joy in wondering why things are the way they are, or if there might be opportunity or better ways of doing things in the world.


Once a good question is asked, or an area of opportunity is identified, then we move to the next activity, "Invention". People with the genius of invention find fulfillment in coming up with new ideas and solutions.


Once an idea or solution is thought up, the next thing to do is to think it through. Is it a good idea? Is it the right idea? Does it answer the question or address the opportunity in all the important ways? The activity of thinking through an idea is called "Discernment", and people with this genius get joy from thinking through ideas and situations. More than that, these people seem to have a natural instinct, or intuition about the idea, even if they don't possess immense knowledge on the subject.


Once we have the right idea, we need people to work on it. And someone has to organize those people. This is where the act of "Galvanizing" comes in. People with this genius get lots of joy and energy from rallying and inspiring people to take action around an idea.


It's not enough to inspire and rally people to take action. To move an idea into reality, it takes support and encouragement...or "Enablement". People with this genius are naturally good at, and get joy from offering assistance and encouragement for an idea.


Lastly, someone has to drive the idea or solution to the finish line and complete it to achieve the desired result. This is the genius of "Tenacity". People with this genius find fulfillment from completing things and seeing the result come to fruition.

Now, these are just brief explanations for what each genius is, and as I found out later, there's a LOT that goes into each one. For example, Wonderers and Enablers often don't think of this gift as a genius (even though it totally is!). And people with Tenacity tend to like being able to check things off a todo list, but struggle with ambiguity. But we don't have enough time in this post to get into all of that...perhaps I'll write more on this subject later.

The Assessment

At this point, the whole model made sense to me, and I was pretty curious, so I decided to go ahead and take the assessment. It only cost $25 (USD), which I felt was a pretty good price considered the cost of some of the other assessments. The whole thing only took me about 10 minutes to complete, I got my results right away, and Yowza!, they hit the nail on the head!

It turns out I'm a TIDWEG, meaning that Tenacity and Invention are my Working Geniuses, Discernment and Wonder are my Working Competencies, and Enablement and Galvanizing are my Working Frustrations. And while each of the individual types is important on it's own, the pairing of your geniuses turns out to be pretty important as well. So much so, they actually have names for each of the different possible pairings. Mine is "The Methodical Architect"...I like it. 😊

I was amazed at how accurate these results were!

As a software engineer, one of my favorite things is coming up with new ideas for projects. I actually keep a list of random ideas I come up with in the hopes that one day I'll get around to building them. And not only do I enjoy coming up with the ideas, but I really like working on and finishing them! It actually bothers me when I'm unable to finish tasks. Like if I'm in the middle of project, but run out of time to work on it, I will actively think about it for the rest of the night until I can get back to working on it the next day. So in my opinion, my Working Genius results were 100% accurate.

On the other side, they were also spot on for my Working Frustrations. While I do try to help others as much as I can, when I've done that kind of work for a majority of the day, I'm pretty exhausted afterward. I've also never been particularly good at inspiring others, or rallying people around things...but when I've had to do that sort of work, I'm definitely wiped out afterward. My wife and I like to say that "my social battery is running on empty". I would watch other members of my team rally people around their ideas with such ease, and I would often view myself as lacking. I'd often ask myself, "Why can't I do that?"...It was hard...but after learning more about the geniuses of enablement and galvanizing I realized why I had always had such a hard time in these areas.

I was so impressed with the outcome of these results that I asked my wife and son to both take the assessment that same week! And their results were even more enlightening. They opened our eyes to some of the problems we've been having as a family, and have given us new tools to start addressing them.

There's been so much more that's came from these results, but that could be a post on it's own, so here seems like a good stopping point.

Beyond the Results

By now my interest was peaked, so I dove in head first to learn as much as I could. As luck would have it, I found out they have a podcast, a book, and a certification! I went back to the beginning and listened to every episode of their podcast (as of this writing, there are 70 episodes), which includes an incredible wealth of information on the subject, and I would highly recommend it. Then I read the book, and am now looking into getting certified in hopes of bringing The 6 Working Geniuses to my current workplace, but it's a bit pricey, so we'll see...

Not only has all of this taught me more about myself, but it's helped me to look at others differently as well. I'm better able to recognize more of what my team members contribute to our work. I notice (and feel less guilty) when I see someone Galvanizing the team around the work that needs to be done. I recognize when one team member is Enabling another. It's allowed me to view things in a much more positive and productive way.

The Path Forward

My goal is to have everyone on my team take the assessment and share their results with all of us. My hope is that we can all then make a little effort to help each other work more in our geniuses, and less in our frustrations. From what I've seen, being able to do this boosts moral, increases productivity, and helps to build a better culture.

But in addition to that, I would love to help more people find the parts of their work that make them happiest and understand those parts that make them less so. Even just an understanding of your geniuses can really help give you a different perspective on what brings you joy in your work.

So I would like to end with a recommendation that you go take the assessment. It's well worth the $25 (USD), and could honestly give you insight into yourself and those around you that could change so much for the better. And if you do go take it, please come back here and share your results! I would love to talk to you about them!

Well that's all for now 😊 I'm gonna go put my headphones on and do some Tenaciy work now. Until next time, Happy Hacking!


Group, The Table. Home | The Six Types of Working Genius. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

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