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Working Genius with the Team at Your Church with Patrick Lencioni

Thanks for tuning in to the unSeminary podcast. This week we’re talking with Patrick Lencioni, one of the founders of The Table Group and an expert in leadership, teamwork, and organizational health.

Pat’s also the author of 13 books which have sold millions of copies around the world, and today he’s talking with us about his latest book, The 6 Types of Working Genius: A Better Way to Understand Your Gifts, Your Frustrations, and Your Team. Listen in to learn how to help your team tap into their God-given gifts, identify the type of work that brings them joy and energy, and increase productivity while reducing judgement and burnout.

  • What is a working genius? // When it comes to getting work done, one task can give someone joy and energy while it feels draining to another person, even when they love their job. Pat identifies six types of working genius, spelling out the word WIDGET, which identify a person’s God-given gifts so they can work from a place of increased productivity while reducing frustration and burnout.
  • Understanding WIDGET. // Understanding the six types of working genius gives you a model for understanding yourself, your team members, and why you need all of the working geniuses to be present and working together on your staff. It will also help you to place people in the right roles so that they thrive while helping the church to thrive.
  • Wonder. // People who have the working genius of wonder are naturally fed by asking questions. They are concerned with possibilities and potential. Wonder is always the first step; without it our organizations will keep doing the same thing until they stagnate.
  • Invention. // People with the working genius of invention are attracted to developing a new and better way. They will partner with the person who has the working genius of wonder to turn questions into new solutions and systems.
  • Discernment. // The working genius of discernment is a God-given gift of using your judgement, intuition, instinct, pattern recognition, and integrative thinking. Give the person with this working genius a problem and they can naturally identify the right thing to do.
  • Galvanizing. // The galvanizing working genius belongs to people who wake up every morning and love to inspire other people to act. They exhort, encourage and rally people together to take action.
  • Enablement. // The positive form of enablement is the next working genius and it’s critical for a team. Being gifted with enablement is all about joyfully coming alongside people and helping them with whatever they need in the way they need it.
  • Tenacity. // The last working genius is tenacity and it’s about finishing things and plowing through obstacles. People with tenacity are focused and persistent; they won’t move on to the next thing until the current task is completed.
  • Take the quiz to know your gifts. // Without knowing what gifts God’s given you, you can’t fill in the gaps with the team around you. Take the Working Genius Assessment in about ten minutes to identify your working geniuses, your working competencies, and your working frustrations. Plus, complete the assessment with your team and receive a team map that will reveal any gaps in the organization.

Discover your gifts and transform your team at

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Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Leadership Pathway

If you are trying to find, develop and keep young leaders on your team look no further than Leadership Pathway. They have worked with hundreds of churches, and have interviewed thousands of candidates over the past several years. They are offering a new ebook about five of the core competencies that are at the heart of the leadership development process with every church that they partner with…just go to to pick up this free resource.

Episode Transcript

Rich Birch — Well hey, friends, welcome to the unSeminary podcast. So glad that you have decided to tune in. You know every week we try to bring you a leader who will both inspire and equip you and today’s no exception. It’s our honor, really our privilege, to have Patrick Lencioni with us. You probably have heard of him before – he’s one of the founders of The Table Group, which is really a pioneering organization around ah, organizational health. They really do a fantastic job – started in 1997. As the president of The Table Group, Pat spends his time speaking, writing about leadership, teamwork, and organizational health as well as consulting with executives and their team. He’s also the author of 13 books, which have sold a crazy number – 6,000,000 copies, translated in 30 languages. His latest book, which we’re going to talk about today, The Six Types of Working Genius. Pat, welcome to the show.

Patrick Lencioni — It’s great to be here. I’m so excited – when I saw this on my schedule a few weeks ago and woke up this morning I thought, this is the kind of podcast I love to do. I love to speak to your audience and so I’m a kid in a candy store today.

Rich Birch — So honored that you that you’d come on – really appreciate it. What what did I miss there? Kind of fill out your story. What parts of, you know, Patrick do we want to let people know in on.

Patrick Lencioni — You know I mean I I I always like when people go: Pat Lencioni – here he is. That’s it. You don’t need to tell. But I think the one thing that your audience might be interested in is 10 years, almost ten years ago, I started an organization with another gentleman called The Amazing Parish. And though I work with like I work with, I know a ton of megachurch pastors and pastors and different denominations and Christian Evangelical all that, I’m Catholic and we started an organization called The Amazing Parish ten years ago that really serves pastors in Catholic Churches…

Rich Birch — Love it.

Patrick Lencioni — …who went to seminary and didn’t learn how to lead didn’t learn how to develop teams. And and we help them with that in a very spiritual, prayerful way. So I love this audience. Not only from my Evangelical friends but I’m steeped in it in the Catholic Church as well. So this is fun.

Rich Birch — Yeah, love it. I I have to confess—I said this before we got on air—I have been following you for a while – did not know about The Amazing Parish until I was doing research for this and I checked it out. It looks amazing. So yeah, friends, you should go and check out that website. It’s really easy to find. if you want to check that out. It would be a great thing.

Patrick Lencioni — And you know what’s an interest. What I love is so many of my Evangelical friends have actually come to our annual conference…

Rich Birch — Love it.

Patrick Lencioni — …where we bring people there, and and we’re partners with Northpoint and Andy and the and the folks there who you’re friends with.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Patrick Lencioni — …and they’re serving churches and we’re helping them and they’ve come to our conference and so yes, yes, ladies and gentlemen, in this time of persecution and craziness in the world. Evangelicals, Protestants, Catholics are all realizing we’re all brothers in Christ so it’s wonderful.

Rich Birch — Oh absolutely. Actually I was just in London…

Patrick Lencioni — And sisters.

Rich Birch — …and a couple couple weeks ago and spent a bunch of time with with an organization called Alpha.

Patrick Lencioni — Oh!

Rich Birch — And there’s a yeah lot of the huge Catholic component within that and I dinner with a guy across the table who spent a whole night talking, and it was it was fascinating, you know, sharing across the table about our ministries. How similar, you know, we really are for sure.

Patrick Lencioni — Well and let me tell you the evil one hates the idea that we’re talking, and I mean that but…

Rich Birch — Yeah, so that’s true. That is very true. Yeah.

Patrick Lencioni — …years ago I had the chance to go to London and go to speak at um, um the conference there and meet the Alpha folks, and and be be involved with the with the folks that do that on the Catholic side as well. It’s wonderful to see how we’re cooperating and working together.

Rich Birch — It is.

Patrick Lencioni — It’s great.

Rich Birch — It’s very good.

Patrick Lencioni — Nicky Gumbel. That’s what…

Rich Birch — Nicky Gumbel.

Patrick Lencioni — …Nicky Gumbel. Yup.

Rich Birch — Absolutely. Love it. Well I’m really looking forward to diving into your most recent work here Working Genius – The 6 Types of Working Genius. Talk to us about it. What is this model? You know, like give us a sense of what what we’re talking about here today.

Patrick Lencioni — Essentially this is this is two things. It’s a model for understanding yourself – the gifts God gives you when it comes to getting real work done. Like to the specifics of which kind of task, activities give you joy and energy and God intended you to do because it’s a gift. And which kind did he not give you, and it drains you of your joy and energy, and feeling guilty about not being good at that is not good. It’s not good. And and that’s how I developed it and I came about I came upon this by accident in trying to address my own frustration at work. I was finding myself grumpy at work…

Rich Birch — Right.

Patrick Lencioni — …for 20 years off and on even though I worked with wonderful people doing something I loved. But I would often drift into grumpiness and I couldn’t figure it out. And somebody finally said, hey why are you like that? And I and I said I don’t know. And by the grace of God I came up with this model just for myself. And then we found out people were were just were were saying, no this is universal; this helps me. And and so it went crazy. But what what this also is is not just an individual tool, but it is the fastest and most transformational tool for teams to better appreciate one another, readjust how they get things done in an organization…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Patrick Lencioni — …and certainly in a church…

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Patrick Lencioni — …so that they can lean into their geniuses more…

Rich Birch — Yep.

Patrick Lencioni — …and and call other people to work up into their geniuses. It is such a wonderful tool. As it turns out God made us to need one another. We don’t… none of us have everything.

Rich Birch — Right. Love it. The—and I want we’re gonna talk about the assessment I had a chance to take it and it was fantastic, but we’ll get a chance to talk to that—one of the things I loved was you’ve got these kind of six different types, and they spell out the word “widget” but Wonder, Invention, Discernment, Galvanizing, Enabling, Tenacity – widget. That seems kind of crazy to me that you use that as a, you know, as that the the word under it all.

Patrick Lencioni — Well let me tell you it was mostly by accident. So we got as we were. We were really coming up with like what’s the right word for each of these these geniuses…

Rich Birch — Yes, yeah.

Patrick Lencioni — …and we got it was W and I and D and G. And I was like okay, I’m not going to make it spell widget. I’m not going to do that. And then we were struggling with a word for the the fifth one, and we were like there’s only one word and it’s it’s enablement. It’s like in the in the good way…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Patrick Lencioni — …enabling others to. And when I got to that I said, now I’m going to find a darn T word because it’s not going to be widgel or widger. So we and we found a great T word. So we didn’t do it on purpose. In fact, we were kind of worried about doing it that way…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Patrick Lencioni — …because it sounded like, did you do that on purpose?

Rich Birch — Yes.

Patrick Lencioni — Most of it was by accident and then we said okay, we’re gonna we’re gonna finish it. So.

Rich Birch — Yeah, so why don’t you take us through that a little bit kind of unpack that a little bit. Give us a sense of the model; talk us through what that, you know, what those what those six are.

Patrick Lencioni — Great. So I’m going to do it in the order in which they generally occur in getting things done. Although nothing’s that neat and tidy and I’m going to start from the highest altitude – the first thing down to the lowest, like landing the plane. So the first thing, the first genius—which most people who have this don’t think it’s a genius because mostly they’ve been either criticized or kind of looked at funny when they do it, but it’s critical and it’s a first step in anything—is the genius of wonder. The genius of wonder – the W. And and people that have this genius and it’s completely God-given are naturally inclined to, and are fed by, asking questions and thinking about things at a high level – about possibilities and potential. And and and asking questions like, is there a better way? Is this enough? Should we be rethinking this? Why why are things like this? And why do we do it this way? And and it’s it’s it’s how this model came about.

Patrick Lencioni — My colleague Amy said to me one day, why are you like that? What goes on?

Rich Birch — Yes.

Patrick Lencioni — And and that question somebody says—and this is true in any kind of organization—is there a better way to do ministry?

Rich Birch — Right.

Patrick Lencioni — Is is the way we’re doing youth outreach, is it is this really working? They’re they’re not saying they have the answer…

Rich Birch — Right.

Patrick Lencioni — …but they’re the ones that look at and go, I’m going to ask the question.

Rich Birch — Right.

Patrick Lencioni — And it’s critical, and there are certain people that are naturally inclined to doing that, and it’s a beautiful genius, and we need to realize that without it our organizations…

Rich Birch — Right we don’t move forward.

Patrick Lencioni — Yeah, or we keep doing the same thing.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Patrick Lencioni — I I had a group of of executives of a multibillion dollar tech company, who had been behind the curve in innovation for years. They had no new products, and they were just living off of their old products. And when they saw their their their team profile, they realized nobody on their on their leadership team had W. In fact, it was worse than that. Almost everyone had it as one of their working frustrations, their least happy thing.

Rich Birch — Oh gosh – they were repelling it. They were pushing it away. Absolutely.

Patrick Lencioni — Exactly.

Rich Birch — Wow.

Patrick Lencioni — And the CFO who certainly was not a Wonder said, if we don’t learn to wonder we’re never going to figure out this market. So…

Rich Birch — Wow, wow. That’s great.

Patrick Lencioni — So we need people to do that. But that’s not enough somebody has to ask the question, then somebody else says, oh please please. The next genius – the genius of Invention. Please let me try to come up with something new. That’s that person who goes, oh I can think of a better – let me think of a – give me give me a whiteboard with nothing on it and a pen, and I will come up with a new way to do youth outreach.

Rich Birch — Yes, yes.

Patrick Lencioni — You know, this is one of mine and your working geniuses – I’ve seen your results. And you and I are not intimidated by, in fact we’re attracted to the need for a new way.

Rich Birch — Yes, yes.

Patrick Lencioni — And you know what else? Rich, we do this even when it’s not necessary. And that’s how you know it’s a you know it’s a genius…

Rich Birch — Right.

Patrick Lencioni — …because like I would like to do this all the time.

Rich Birch — Right.

Patrick Lencioni — And it’s okay for people to say, hey Rich, I love your Invention, man. God gave you a great gift, but this is not the right medium for it. You know because you know…

Rich Birch — Right. Yes, let’s do that at a different spot.

Patrick Lencioni — Right. You’re about to roll something out and I’m in a meeting in my company and and I’m like, ooh I have an idea! And people go, wait a second, wait a second, wait a second! I think we’re done with the idea phase for now – we’re like two days from implementation. We’ve got the plan. We’re doing great. So sometimes, sometimes it’s a genius that we’re not supposed to use and that’s okay.

Rich Birch — Right. So I when I read when I read this, took this, you know, your assessment and and rolled through it this particular piece of it really stood out to me as true. For years, probably 20 years, when someone would ask me, hey, what is it that you actually do? Because they try to, you know, sometimes be an executive pastor who’s not on the stage all the time people wonder what is your job, like what do you do around here. And I would always say the shorthand I would say my job is I live at the intersection of vision and execution. I love taking the “where are we headed”—the Wonder in your language, the Wonder, what do we think that God’s calling our church to do—and then actually figuring out how we’re going to go and do that. Like let’s actually… so it is like a little bit of vision casting. It is I have to and I and I can live in that space. But then I love then saying ok, let’s figure out what that looks like let’s go make it happen.

Patrick Lencioni — Right. Well and we’re gonna get to let’s go make it happen. I love that that you said that. Um, so so there’s Wonder and Invention, and those two…

Rich Birch — Yep, yep.

Patrick Lencioni — …the first two—are what’s called idea ideation. That’s where new ideas come from.

Rich Birch — Ok, ok, love it.

Patrick Lencioni — Okay, by the way I’ve had I had we had a pastor right after this model came out. He took the assessment, and he wrote to us and he said, I thought I was a a fraud, and I should have never been a pastor. He’d been a pastor for over ten years and he goes, I thought I was a failure…

Rich Birch — Oh wow.

Patrick Lencioni — …and I I picked the wrong profession. And he said, I realize now I just don’t have W or I, and so writing a homily, writing a sermon, was really hard for him. And so I looked at his type and I said, do you like to counsel people? He goes oh I love to. Do you like to come alongside people where they’re at in their discipleship journey? Oh yeah I do. I love that. Yeah, see a pastor is not a pastor is not a pastor.

Rich Birch — Right, right. Search.

Patrick Lencioni — All you need to do is find somebody on your team or somebody that you know who’s good at W I, and spend a few hours with them every week and they’re going to help you. But don’t feel guilty.

Rich Birch — Right, right, right, right, right.

Patrick Lencioni — And it was he said it it changed his whole view of his pastorship.

Rich Birch — Love it. Love it.

Patrick Lencioni — Okay, so so those first two – Wonder, Invention. Then we get to the D – discernment. Discernment is a God-given gift of using your judgment, your intuition, your instincts, pattern recognition, and integrative thinking. It’s people that just kind of have a sense. You give them a problem and it’s not about data or expertise, but they have great… they look at things and they just see things and they go, this I think this is the right thing to do. And they’re usually right and they and it is an absolute gift. Some people just think that way.

Patrick Lencioni — I love to tell the story of Tracy, a woman in my office who has great discernment. When my wife and I are talking about just about anything, like should we refinance our house, or where should we go on vacation, or or how should we handle this, or does this look good, or what kind of car should we get? Here’s the…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Patrick Lencioni — Laura will say, ask Tracy.

Rich Birch — I I love it. Love it. So good.

Patrick Lencioni — I think the last three cars I bought I finally said, Tracy, I don’t know – what do you think? She was you need this. And I’m like then I probably should get that.

Rich Birch — Ah love it. Yes, Yes.

Patrick Lencioni — And you know what’s funny. She said when she was a kid her friends would ask her for advice because she always had…

Rich Birch — Ah, oh that’s amazing.

Patrick Lencioni — Yeah.

Rich Birch — Yeah, and we all know people like that, right? We all know those people.

Patrick Lencioni — Right.

Rich Birch — That it’s like they they’re just in our orbit and and we just want to listen to what they have to say, and they’re yeah they’re very discerning. I love that. That’s so good.

Patrick Lencioni — Right? And it’s a God given talent.

Rich Birch — Yeah, cool, cool.

Patrick Lencioni — And it’s real and when you say to them, prove it with data. They’re like oh yeah, yeah, that’s not my thing.

Rich Birch — Right.

Patrick Lencioni — I I don’t know. That’s not how I make decisions.

Rich Birch — Yes, love it yet.

Patrick Lencioni — So so discernment is great because when people invent something, like you’re an inventor having somebody that can come along and discern it and go, Hey, three of your ideas are pretty good. This one’s fantastic. This one here would never work. This one needs a little bit more work.

Rich Birch — Okay.

Patrick Lencioni — So we had a guy write to us and say that for years he thought he kind of thought his wife didn’t like him. She was against him. And he said for their anniversary they took the Working Genius Assessment. He goes he goes I’m an inventor and I come up with new ideas all the time. And every time I come up with a new idea, she tells me what the flaws are.

Rich Birch — Oh wow.

Patrick Lencioni — And he goes I thought she was like trying to crush my enthusiasm. And they took the assessment and her lead genius was discernment.

Rich Birch — Okay.

Patrick Lencioni — So he would give her new idea and she’d say, the way I love you is to try to give you feedback because I want it to work for you because I love you. And it changed their marriage.

Rich Birch — Interesting. Love it.

Patrick Lencioni — So it’s one of those things we we often judge people like you’re criticizing me because you don’t like me. And it’s like oh no I’m a discerner and that’s how I love on people is I give them advice.

Rich Birch — Love it. Love it. So good. Yes.

Patrick Lencioni — So Discernment is the third one.

Rich Birch — Okay, great.

Patrick Lencioni — And and the next one comes to one of yours, Rich.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Patrick Lencioni — And that is Galvanizing.

Rich Birch — Galvanizing. Yeah.

Patrick Lencioni — And that’s the G. And that is people that wake up every morning and love to inspire people to act. They love to remind people to exhort people.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Patrick Lencioni — Exhort exhortation is a great word.

Rich Birch — Yep.

Patrick Lencioni — You know they’re like come on! You can do this! We can do this!

Rich Birch — Right, right, right.

Patrick Lencioni — So your your two geniuses are Invention and Galvanizing. The word we use for that pairing is the evangelizing innovator. They come up with new ideas.

Rich Birch — Yeah when I read that…

Patrick Lencioni — Yeah.

Rich Birch — Yeah when I read that again that did that did resonate. I was um and I posted on social I was like okay so I took took the Working Genius. For those folks that know me, what do you think? And you know it’s that little thing on Instagram where they can pull the bar. And it was 100% of the people said 100% of it. Like they were like, yes, that was that’s very much you.

Patrick Lencioni — Yeah.

Rich Birch — This idea of somebody who is out you know, evangelizing saying, hey let’s let’s let’s pull this thing together. Let’s make this thing happen. We can do this, you know, whether it’s in lots of different areas of my life. So that’s kind of fun.

Patrick Lencioni — Yeah, by the way, a little a little personal feedback I I know a lot of I-Gs, G-Is like you. And one of the things I found about all of them I love them. They’re some of my favorite people. But when I first meet them I always suspect that they’re not authentic because I can’t believe anybody could be so excited so often.

Rich Birch — Okay.

Patrick Lencioni — And then my third interaction…

Rich Birch — So now you’re reading my… but Pat this is the first time we’ve met.

Patrick Lencioni — Yeah.

Rich Birch — I’ve had that feedback from people in my life in the past where people have said they’re like are you…? Like yeah like they would say like after we’re friends for a little bit, they were like when I first met you I was like, is this guy real? Like you see is he really honest in that way? Which is so funny so that’s great. Love it. So fun.

Patrick Lencioni — Yeah, um, and praise God that this actually works. You know I don’t think I invented it. I think I discovered it. I really do believe…

Rich Birch — That’s great.

Patrick Lencioni — …God like anointed me with like, hey Pat, here’s an insight that can help other people…

Rich Birch — Right.

Patrick Lencioni — …who are feeling guilty about themselves, or are judging others, without understanding it. St Francis of Assisi said, you know, seek to understand more than to be understood. And the more we can understand other people then the more they can understand us too.

Rich Birch — Love it. Love it.

Patrick Lencioni — So anyway, so you’re a Galvanizer. Now here’s the thing about me, I’m not.

Rich Birch — Okay.

Patrick Lencioni — But I’ve learned how to do it and I I can do it well. But I don’t like it.

Rich Birch — Oh interesting. Okay.

Patrick Lencioni — And so that’s how this whole model came about, Rich. I would come to work every day, ready to invent and discern, and people would go well, you’re the best galvanizer we got so galvanize us. Galvanize us. Galvanize us.

Rich Birch — Okay, okay, okay.

Patrick Lencioni — And it was burning me out. And and…

Rich Birch — Interesting.

Patrick Lencioni — And so sometimes just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean that’s actually what you’re called to do. You know I love that I love that idea that when you make a decision go where you’re where you find peace. And and and if you don’t have peace and when you’re doing something but people say you’re great at it, maybe there’s that there’s probably something a little bit wrong there. You know when Barry Sanders the football player, if you follow football, retired—like the best running back ever—retired when he was like 28. And…

Rich Birch — Yeah, it’s crazy.

Patrick Lencioni — …and you know why? I don’t think he loved it. He was just good at it.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Patrick Lencioni — And God really does call us to spend as much time as possible in the things he gave us that give us joy and energy.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Patrick Lencioni — So this isn’t just about talent. It’s about joy and energy…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Patrick Lencioni — …where we and that’s where usually our talents lie.

Rich Birch — Yes I love that.

Patrick Lencioni — So you’re a galvanizer; you love doing that.

Rich Birch — I do. Actually I’ve I’ve seen that many times. So what what’s that what are your two? You said Wonder is your first – are you W I? Is that what you said?

Patrick Lencioni — No – I’m I and D.

Rich Birch — Oh okay.

Patrick Lencioni — So I’m an inventor and a discerner. And that’s called a discriminating um ideator.

Rich Birch — Okay.

Patrick Lencioni — Which means like when I come up with new ideas – this is going to sound very immodest but but humility is not being falsely modest. Humility is actually acknowledging what is true. And and since we know we’re not God and it’s a gift, um acknowledging your gifts is not a violation of humility. In fact, to deny your gifts is.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Patrick Lencioni — Because they’re a gift. How can I brag about my gifts?

Rich Birch — Yes, yes, yeah.

Patrick Lencioni — So when I come up with new ideas a a disproportionately high number of them turn out to work…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Patrick Lencioni — …because because I I have this loop of invention and discernment, invention and discernment. So by the time I I put it out there, I’ve already kind of evaluated it.

Rich Birch — Okay, okay, that makes sense.

Patrick Lencioni — And so it’s just kind of how it works.

Rich Birch — Yeah, yeah.

Patrick Lencioni — Now I suck at a bunch of other things. That’s also humble.

Rich Birch — Nice. Now these last two. Enablement and Tenacity – those are the last two. Talk us through what those are.

Patrick Lencioni — Those are both your and my working frustrations. By the way, Rich, do you know what a working frustration is? A working frustration to compare it… Your Working Genius is like pouring coffee into a Yeti mug and putting a lid on it.

Rich Birch — Okay, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Patrick Lencioni — You know it holds the it holds the heat for hours and hours. You’re Working Genius – you could spend ah an entire day in your Working Genius and feel like I’m not really tired. You know?

Rich Birch — Right. Yes, yes.

Patrick Lencioni — The the next two areas are what we call your working competency. That’s like pouring coffee into a cup and putting a lid on it – a regular plastic coffee cup. It’ll hold it for a while. You can do that. Your working frustration is the coffee cup you pour into and it’s got a hole in the bottom of it. It’s going to drain you of joy and energy. And it’s hard to spend much time certainly over a period of time. We really aren’t designed to spend a lot of time in our areas of working frustration.

Patrick Lencioni — And so the next area which is both your and I working frustration. It’s hard to admit this as followers of Jesus, but the next genius is called Enablement.

Rich Birch — Okay, yep.

Patrick Lencioni — And it’s a beautiful thing. It’s not enabling an alcoholic or a drug addict. It’s enabling people by coming alongside them and helping them with whatever they need.

Rich Birch — Okay, yep.

Patrick Lencioni — And there are people who have a God-given gift, and you all know it because you see it in your organizations, when somebody says I need help. Their energy, they’re like, oh please I want to help you. What do you need?

Rich Birch — Pick me, pick me. Yeah yeah.

Patrick Lencioni — Right. Because they love to help on your terms. Now you and I love to help people too. But when somebody asks me for help, I want to invent and discern for them.

Rich Birch — Hmm, okay.

Patrick Lencioni — I don’t necessarily want to give them what they’re asking for. Um the best explanation I have of this one is when my wife says to me, Pat, I need your help this weekend. Before she even tells me what it is I start to feel a little bit drained.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Patrick Lencioni — And then I said oh okay, what do you need help with? She says I need help cleaning the garage. So now I’m even a little lower. So what I immediately go to my my strengths and I say, are you sure we need to clean the garage? Tell me why you think we need to clean it. That’s my discernment.

Rich Birch — Love it. Yes.

Patrick Lencioni — And she’ll say, I don’t want your discernment.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Patrick Lencioni — Trust me, we’re gonna I need to clean the garage. Then I go, Okay so what’s your system? Maybe we can come up with a new way to do this. And she says, I don’t want your invention.

Rich Birch — Yeah, just…

Patrick Lencioni — I just want you to stand in the corner. And when I hand you a box, I want you to put it where I tell you to.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Patrick Lencioni — That is paralyzing to me.

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Patrick Lencioni — And there are other people that are like no, no, no, no, no. I will get joy out of just watching this person get what they need.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Patrick Lencioni — And that is a God-given genius. Now, I still have to do it sometimes, Rich.

Rich Birch — Right. Yes.

Patrick Lencioni — But there are certain jobs that would require me to do that every day that would send me into the looney bin.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Patrick Lencioni —And that’s why one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. And God didn’t give anyone everything. And I would be a really bad nurse.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Patrick Lencioni — But I’d be a really good diagnostic doctor. I like…

Rich Birch — Right.

Patrick Lencioni — I would be the one in the emergency room where people come in and I would like have to use my discernment to quickly evaluate all the variables

Rich Birch — Figure out what’s going on. Yeah, I love it. Love it.

Patrick Lencioni — Right?

Rich Birch — Yeah, totally.

Patrick Lencioni — Yeah, but then if somebody said okay just give these people whatever they need, would be really hard for me. Not because I’m a bad person. I thought for for the last fifty five years that meant I was a bad person. It’s like oh that’s just not a gift.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Patrick Lencioni — So it’s not an excuse but it’s an explanation.

Rich Birch — Yep makes sense. And then Tenacity.

Patrick Lencioni — The last one is Tenacity. This is the genius of finishing things, and plowing through obstacles, and crossing things off the list, and meeting the numbers, and and fulfilling the the standards. And there are people who wake up if in the morning—I call them freaks, no I love them, but I’m not one of them—who say give me something to do that I can finish…

Rich Birch — Yep.

Patrick Lencioni — …and see the results of it, and that gives me joy and energy.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Patrick Lencioni — Rich, I’m the opposite. I get halfway through a project and I think it’s largely solved, and I want to move on to the next thing.

Rich Birch — Yeah, what is the next thing?

Patrick Lencioni — Yeah, I don’t have angst when things aren’t yet finished…

Rich Birch — Right.

Patrick Lencioni — …which is why I need people around me. And if I’m a pastor of a church—executive pastor, whatever—one executive pastor is not the same as another one, and another one.

Rich Birch — Right, right, right.

Patrick Lencioni — So you have to know what gifts God gave you, and then invite people to work with you that fill in your gaps. And so if you’re the pastor, an executive pastor, and the pastor of your church is is really like the the preacher, the preaching pastor, is really strong in certain areas, you’re probably going to have to fill in some gaps.

Rich Birch — Yes, yes, yeah.

Patrick Lencioni — And and but more importantly than even the two of you can’t do it all.

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Patrick Lencioni — And then you’re going to build a team around you and say, hey let’s look at our team map.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Patrick Lencioni — Because when a team fills this out they get a map with everyone’s type on it. And they look at it and they go, oh we’re totally exposed over here. We don’t have anybody doing enabling. I was I was in a church organization that had no enablers which is rare.

Rich Birch — Right. Well and you know… yeah that is interesting… So that’s actually very quickly as when I did the assessment I could see very quickly how this could work so well in a team environment. I like how you’ve laid out even just the widgets. You know it makes sense how kind of ideas flow from just ah, you know an idea all the way through to execution, or tenacity. You know how do we move the the thing all the way through? I love that. Talk me through what it looks like in a team environment. Go a little bit deeper on that because I think there are people who listen in around these assessments and it’s like it’s like they’re just cynical. They’re like oh gosh another one of these you know personality assessments. I don’t blah blah blah. I don’t want to do this. Tell me how this works and how could I roll this out well.

Patrick Lencioni — Okay I love this. First of all I like people that are skeptical because that means they’re not going to just take anything. And when you convince them that it has value then they’re on, they’re on board even more. So I like that.

Rich Birch — Yep, yep.

Patrick Lencioni — And I did not think the world needed another assessment. I like them all. I like Myers Briggs. I like um DISC. I’ve done them all.

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Patrick Lencioni — But what what I didn’t have is one that translated quickly to how to put people in roles…

Rich Birch — Right. Yes, yes.

Patrick Lencioni — …that brought them alive. This this assessment takes 10 minutes to fill out. And you look at your results, and like you said and the the face validity is super high, like people like this is me. And then when you look at on a team 15 minutes later everybody in the room is going, oh crap. Yeah now I know why we do that really well, and why when we have to do something like this it doesn’t work well. Now I know why Mary is burning out because she’s the only Tenacity person on the team and she’s landing the plane every day.

Rich Birch — Yes, yes.

Patrick Lencioni — And not why… and you know and it explains so much. So I think the the the immediacy of benefit of this is like nothing we’ve ever experienced. I know my Myers Briggs type.

Rich Birch — What does that mean?

Patrick Lencioni — I just don’t know what does that mean I should do every day.

Rich Birch — Yes, yes. Or who I should interact with, or what is you know, when we think about projects and we think about doing things – that was the thing that that struck me as I was like okay I could see how this could work within our organization…

Patrick Lencioni — Yeah.

Rich Birch — …which I just think is that’s a gift to people for sure.

Patrick Lencioni — Here’s another thing. I think, by the way, churches are more important than any other organization in the world. You know, there’s family—the home church—and then there’s churches.

Rich Birch — Yep.

Patrick Lencioni — And the sophomore company down the street or the restaurant or whatever else, the church is more important. It’s people’s souls. So I think that we should have higher standards. Well I think it’s beautiful when a church becomes a source of wisdom for people in their life. And I think that churches should be introducing this not only to their staff and volunteers, but to their congregation.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Patrick Lencioni — And saying let us, as your as your church, let us help you understand what God gifted you with so that you can bring that into your home, and into your workplace, because church is relevant everywhere. So you know I love that Dave Ramsey, who’s a friend of mine, Financial Peace University has brought so many people to Jesus because they’re like…

Rich Birch — Yes, yes.

Patrick Lencioni — …I’m I’m struggling with my finances. Well here’s a biblical way to understand your finances. Well I think that this is a very God centered way to help people understand what they what they’re meant to do.

Rich Birch — Oh I love that.

Patrick Lencioni — And it doesn’t only apply to to work like when you’re at work at your church or in your job.

Rich Birch — Right.

Patrick Lencioni — It applies to work at home.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Patrick Lencioni — My wife and I – our marriage changed because we realized the combination of our working geniuses left us exposed into areas that caused a lot of arguments over the years. And now we have grace for one another. And we are outsourcing things that we thought we felt guilty about before, but we’re just bad at.

Rich Birch — Okay, makes sense.

Patrick Lencioni — So it’s really changed our our marriage and our home life as well as our work life. And our and the parishes that use this. in the Catholic world and the churches that use it in the Evangelical and Protestant world are just finding it to be really um, it allows them to reduce guilt and judgment and increase morale and fulfillment.

Rich Birch — Yeah I can see that, I was I was going to ask you if there’s any examples from a church, Catholic or otherwise, who have used this on kind of a wide, you know, kind of a wide margin like you’re saying there a wide part of their church. Because I could see that as a a real gift to a church. Do you have an example of that?

Patrick Lencioni — Oh goodness. I mean yeah, I mean the the pastors some pastors are like I know pastors who are W-I’s, right? So which means is they’re they’re the that’s called a creative dreamer.

Rich Birch — Yep.

Patrick Lencioni — And they can just go for a walk in a park and come up with threes homilies or sermons…

Rich Birch — Yes, yes.

Patrick Lencioni — …and and and they preach. And then they go, and like in the Catholic world—so it’s ah particularly challenging because we don’t have executive pastors.

Rich Birch — Right, right, right.

Patrick Lencioni — We’re trying to teach them to do that more. Like no, we need to have a team and you need to to give some responsibility to others. But there’s pastors that don’t really like counseling.

Rich Birch — Right, right. Yeah.

Patrick Lencioni — Like E and D, let’s say are there frustrations, and they feel really guilty. Like I know Catholic pastors who don’t like to do the sacrament of confession. Now they don’t have a… they have to do it. But that’s not the thing that gives them the most energy and joy because that’s a very pastoral role.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Patrick Lencioni — It’s a counseling and and…

Rich Birch — Traditionally pastoral. Yeah yeah, yeah, yeah.

Patrick Lencioni — Exactly. And they’re like oh my gosh. I’m a preacher and I love coming up with new ideas. And I like looking at what’s going on and what people need to hear. And it’s like yeah, you’re not a bad person. That’s a beauty. Now find, build up a counseling ministry. And when you go do your confessions, offer that up to God and say, God I’m going to go do something that’s hard for me, but rather than feel guilty about that I’m going to lean into that and say, I’m going in there to do something that’s hard, and I can do it for two hours a week.

Rich Birch — Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Patrick Lencioni — And say, that’s okay. We have a guy in our office named Matt, who you met. He um he does not like tenacity that much. So when he has to do tenacity work, he goes into one of our offices and he goes, I’m going into the T cave. I’m coming out in 2 hours. And and he comes out and he’s like yes! I finished all those things!

Rich Birch — Yeah, I did it all! Check the list!

Patrick Lencioni — Right.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Patrick Lencioni — Whereas we… you know I’ll tell you a really really quick story is when I was a kid my dad used to try to get me to mow the lawn with him. And I did it out of duty, but I hated it.

Rich Birch — Sure, sure.

Patrick Lencioni — And I felt like a bad son.

Rich Birch — Okay, yeah, yeah.

Patrick Lencioni — And and I carried that forever. And I realized he wanted me to do it. He wanted me to be an enablement and tenacity person, follow him around, he’ll tell me what to do. I’ll do it and I have to do it perfectly. And it was exactly my working frustrations.

Birch — Right, right. Love it.

Patrick Lencioni — And so here I am fifty years later going, oh I wasn’t a bad son.

Rich Birch — That’s funny.

Patrick Lencioni — Whereas if it he if he had said, hey Pat, I want you to look at the the yard and I want you to envision how you think it should look.

Rich Birch — Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Patrick Lencioni — And come up with a way to do it. I’m not saying he should have done that, but I would have been like YES! Invention, discernment.

Rich Birch — Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, love it. Love it.

Patrick Lencioni — But he needed T work.

Rich Birch — Well, this seems to me like, yeah I love this. And isn’t that true. That feels like a very true statement. I’m a little bit younger than you – not that many years younger, and I do feel like in this this age is is about figuring out our childhood. It’s like looking back and being like, oh right. That’s what was going on fifty years ago forty years ago.

Rich Birch — Um so to be honest, Pat, I don’t know if other people said this you when I read this and looked at this, this feels like in a different category than your other writing. This feels like wow this has got huge—and yeah, and obviously you’ve had huge influence, you’ve helped so many people so many organizations, your writing is is so helpful and you know catalytic in so many ways—but this feels like it’s in a different category. What’s your thought for the future of Working Genius? What are you thinking about? What’s your kind of dream for this? What’s your hope for this as it kind of continues to ripple out?

Patrick Lencioni — Well as I’ve gone through my own healing in my life, which is really the essence of our spiritual life is healing, you know, it’s be healed. I’ve come to hold things a little more lightly and realize it’s all a gift. And so when somebody first saw this—one of the guys in our office who has who has discernment and galvanizing, which is called a intuitive activator—he looked at this and he said, right away, this is going to be bigger than The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, which is the the most popular book.

Rich Birch — Wow. Yeah, yeah, that’s saying a lot. Yeah.

Patrick Lencioni — We’re convinced that that’s true. I’m also convinced that this is a gift, and that we just want to steward it well.

Rich Birch — Oh love it.

Patrick Lencioni — And so my hope is that nobody ever, you know, I mean that so many so many fewer people feel any sense of guilt or frustration in work because they think that there’s something wrong with them.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Patrick Lencioni — But more that they realize, oh no I’m just meant to do something else.

Patrick Lencioni — And that’s true if they’re 16 years old, or 20 years old getting out of college, or if they’re in the midst of their career and they’re and they feel like they’re failing. Or if they’re retiring and they’re saying, God what else do you want me to do? I think it’s like well I’ve given I’ve imprinted this on your heart. Do things like this.

Rich Birch — Yeah, yeah.

Patrick Lencioni — So I want the world to be that much more fulfilled in their doing, because they’re aligning that with what God has intended for them.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Patrick Lencioni — So that would be that’s my that’s my dream…

Rich Birch — Love it.

Patrick Lencioni — …but I’m I’m holding it lightly and letting God take it where it goes.

Rich Birch — Yeah, I would echo that. I do it does feel like to me it has that kind of like, oh this has like long burn potential in a lot of different organizations and a lot of places. And I’m hoping frankly the churches that are listening in today that they’ll take steps to do the assessment, pull their team together, have the conversations.

Rich Birch — Where where do we want to send them if they’re thinking, yeah I would I want to do that. I want to take some steps. I want to want to learn more. I want to jump in and and kind of get a better sense of this.

Patrick Lencioni — You know, and it’s so funny because I I have a company we serve the corporate world. And in the corporate world, we price this very low, because we wanted we don’t want it to just be in the corporate world. But then when I talk to a church like oh but it’s $25 to take this assessment, right? And um. And but if ah if if somebody had a volume, like we want this to go throughout our church, we we do discounts and stuff like that.

Rich Birch — Yeah, yeah, sure.

Patrick Lencioni — But take the assessment…

Rich Birch — Yep, yep.

Patrick Lencioni — …and the report that comes back is usually like super helpful. And and you look at a team map, or you share this with your friends, or your spouse, or your boss.

Patrick Lencioni — Um, we had a guy in a church that—here’s a great way to look at this – a story. A guy who worked in a church who was getting ready to do his performance review, and he knew it was going to be bad. He was he was struggling.

Rich Birch — Okay.

Patrick Lencioni — And he took the Working Genius Assessment. He brought it to his manager. And said I want to go over this with you before, and and the guy looked at it and said well it’s no wonder you’re struggling, we have you in the wrong job.

Rich Birch — Oh wow.

Patrick Lencioni — And and he he literally said, I got promoted because I because they figured out what to do with me.

Rich Birch — Right. Wow.

Patrick Lencioni — And so the first thing people can do is go to It’s a it’s our website working genius – two Gs in the middle. And and you can take the assessment. It takes 12 minutes to take or 10 minutes. The results are very powerful. This is a better gift to give somebody than a tie, you know.

Rich Birch — Yeah, totally. Totally.

Patrick Lencioni — And it’s like it’s like what do I give somebody that can change their life? Um so sometimes I think that’s ah, that’s a great thing to do. One day I’ll be glad when we just give it to everybody for free, but we’ve had to put a lot of time and energy into it, and we’re selling it in the corporate world.

Rich Birch — Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s great.

Patrick Lencioni — But in a church this can be a great tool.

Rich Birch — Now, and again friends, I would encourage you to do that – Go. I think as a bare minimum that’s a great idea even this time of year. Maybe this is what you do instead of Christmas gifts for your staff. This could be a great, you know, conversation starter. A great discussion piece. Listen particularly, you know, I’m thinking particularly on the staff side. You know, you can. You’ll get more than $25 value. It even sounds stupid to say that because of course it’s more than $25 value.

Patrick Lencioni — Right.

Rich Birch — Repositioning people into their, you know, asking the question of, hey what what is the kind of your seat on the bus, ah, you know, what does that look like? Love it. So I think it could be great.

Patrick Lencioni — You know you know, Rich. We just did a podcast that came out yesterday um about Working Genius and the holidays. And we’re we’re encouraging people to actually do this at Thanksgiving…

Rich Birch — Oh love it.

Patrick Lencioni — …and and or and or just just take a one page sheet of the six Working Geniuses. And say to instead of arguing about politics, or or or playing doing charades, it’s like just say, hey can any be what which of these do, you guys, feeds you?

Rich Birch — Yeah, yeah.

Patrick Lencioni — Which of these gives you joy and energy? Which doesn’t?

Rich Birch — Love it. Love it. Love it.

Patrick Lencioni — And it’s like families are like, oh my gosh, I I never realized that about you. That’s so true! When you were a kid you always were drawn to this.

Rich Birch — Right. Love it.

Patrick Lencioni — And and and it’s a really wonderful way for a family to celebrate one another’s geniuses.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Patrick Lencioni — And so anyway.

Rich Birch — Well, Patrick, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for this. Thank you for Working Genius. Thank you for your your work. I got to be honest, just such an honor to get a chance to talk with you a little bit. When your team reached out I was like I’m like, you have the right person? You must have asked the wrong person. You must be looking for someone else. But really, super honored to have you on. And your work has made an impact—I know you know this—has made an impact on lots of leaders lives, and so the fact that you would come on here just really does ah it honors me. And I’m just thankful that you were here today. So thanks for that. Thanks for being on the show today.

Patrick Lencioni — As the people at Chick-Fil-A say, it is totally my pleasure.

Rich Birch — Yeah thank you so much, sir. Have a great day, and like again, friends, – pick one of those up. Thanks so much for being with us today, Patrick.

Patrick Lencioni — God bless.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.