Patrick Lencioni Session Notes—GLS: Special Edition 2021 

Published February 25, 2021
On February 25, 2021, the Global Leadership Network debuted its first half-day Global Leadership Summit: Special Edition event featuring an incredible faculty, including 11-time best-selling author and leadership consultant, Patrick Lencioni.

During his talk, Patrick helped us unlock our natural genius and the genius of our teams, showing us how his simple model can guide our teams to thrive.


  • I’ve spoken at The Global Leadership Summit more than ten times now. I’ve never been more excited than I am today.

Life is a team sport. We need each other to be successful.

  • Last summer, I discovered accidently that there are six different activities, skills, geniuses that are needed to get anything done. We need one another. Life is a team sport. We need each other to be successful.
  • Two of those six things really rob us of our joy. When we understand these things, it takes away unnecessary guilt for what we are not and unnecessary judgement of others.


Wonder (W): Why are things that way?
  • One of my colleagues looked at me and said, “Why are you the way you are?”
  • The genius of wonder likes to sit and ponder. Is there something better? Is there something we’re missing? Is this enough?


Invention (I): Let me figure it out
  • People with this genius love to come up with an idea from nothing.
  • In society, we tend to look at them as a genius. But all of these are geniuses.


Discernment (D): Natural ability to discern/judge things
  • They see patterns and have great judgement.
  • We ask Tracy her opinion about everything. She’s my editor and she wasn’t an editor. Tracy just knows if you should do something.
  • The I and the D work together.

One of my colleagues looked at me and said, “Why are you the way you are?”

Galvanizing (G): I’ll get everyone in a room
  • They love to inspire, motivate, provoke, move people around what they’re doing.


Enablement (E): Naturally support others
  • They sometimes think they are just nice. They have a genius that many people do not have.
  • When my wife says, “I need your help with cleaning the garage this weekend.” I say, “Why are we cleaning the garage? How are we going to do it?”
  • It’s not the way that I am wired. Some have the God-given ability to come alongside and say I’ll get this off the ground.


Tenacity (T): Finishing
  • They love to get things across the finish line. They want to get it done.


Understanding Working Genius
  • It’s like a coffee cup, or thermos. It gives you energy all day long.
  • If you can work in your areas of genius, you’ll love your job forever.
  • There’s another cup that holds heat for a little while. This is your working competency. You can do it. You’re competent. But it’s not life-giving.
  • The final cup has a hole in the bottom and leaks out. This is your working frustration.

If you can work in your areas of genius, you’ll love your job forever.

Missing a Genius
  • I was working with a high-tech team in California. They looked at their results and nobody had the genius of wonder. In fact, for most of them, it was a working frustration. The CFO said, “This is why we are behind with what’s going on in the market. If we don’t learn to wonder, we’ll be out of business.” Nobody was asking why. They created meetings where they just wondered aloud.
  • I worked with another company that only had one person that had the genius of invention. It was a lawyer. They changed his job to New Product Development.
  • Another company was looking for a new strategy. They kept asking a person with the genius of E & T. She couldn’t land the strategy and they were about to fire her. They went and found another on the team with an I. She was able to make the new strategy work.
  • For years in my organization, I was the only G. It’s a working competency for me but it doesn’t feed me. Everyone else had galvanizing as a working frustration. After 20 years, I figured out that we had someone else in the organization who was better. We made him the Chief Galvanizing Officer. My job satisfaction went up. His job satisfaction went up.

We need to honor one another’s strengths so that we can produce more and be joyful in producing it.

  • I have an organization that works with churches/parishes. They had no one that had an E. You’d think churches would all have it, but not necessarily.
  • If you have an organization without a T, it is not going to work.
  • Ideation: W & I, Activation: D & G, Implementation: E & T


The Genius on a Team
  • Team map: Map your team by the genius and the frustration.
  • My team didn’t have any galvanizing. We hired someone out of college to do it. I told Liam who is just 22 that he would have to galvanize Karen (who is in her 40s). He was afraid. We told him it was his role.
  • Often people think they have to grind harder on the things we don’t like to do. Work is a gift. It’s a chance to understand how we need one another.
  • We need to honor one another’s strengths so that we can produce more and be joyful in producing it.


Q&A with Trey & Paula

Paula: We’re only meant to have two geniuses. We’re not meant to be a WIDGET. You don’t have to have all the different geniuses.

Paula: What’s the best genius for a leader?

Patrick: Self-awareness. It’s nice to have D. It doesn’t have to be a genius, but it should at least be a competency. There is no one type though.

Trey: What if we have a gap on our team?

Patrick: First look to see if they have a competency. Do not regularly ask someone to work in a frustration because it will burn them out.

Patrick: Jim Collins says to get the right people on the bus then get them in the right seat. That’s what this is about.

Patrick: This assessment is super practical. It’s about the art of getting things done. It’s about how you like to get things done. Running a family is work. My wife will say “I’m just wondering.” My wife will come to me and say, “I need your I.”

Are there particular pairings that are helpful or harmful?

Humility is not denying your genius.

Patrick: Any pair works. When they are next to each other, it can be helpful. If they’re far apart, it can get disconnected. You need to be aware. W happens at 50,000 feet. T happens at 5 feet off the ground.

Corrine is a pastor of a small church. She’s expected to do all the geniuses.

Patrick: When I was in college, people thought I was a T because I went to every class, took every note. It was draining me but I was just acting as an achiever. Find a volunteer. Hire to fill the gaps.

Can you have more than two geniuses?

More than likely there is one that is a learned behavior but not a natural genius. It’s not that someone doesn’t have three, just most people have two.

These geniuses operate at different levels of work. W&I seems brainstorming. E&T is more operations.

The Nike guy was so interesting. We dream it up and then we throw it over to the people who made it, skipping the D&G. The D&G ask is it an idea worth galvanizing.

Trey: How do you have the conversation well when we have to communicate what you’re really good at, we don’t need now?

Patrick: The letters have allowed us to have better, difficult conversations. “Your W is really going right now. We don’t need your W right now.”

Patrick: We hired this Gen Z person to galvanize a Gen X.

What if two different people with D have different discernment?

Patrick: That’s where the leaders need to break ties. If they weigh in on a decision, they’ll often buy in.

Patrick: Humility is not denying your genius. I want this to be such a standard that no one takes a job out of college that makes them miserable. I’m writing the book right now. 72,000 people have already taken the test.


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Patrick Lencioni The 6 Types of Working Genius

Experience more great leadership insight like Patrick’s at our premier leadership event of the year–The Global Leadership Summit, taking place August 5-6, 2021. Get your tickets today at
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