Identifying Your Genius

Identifying your genius is about understanding what makes you different or special. It is your personal and professional unique value proposition. It fits quite nicely with defining your purpose (there are numerous articles in HBR and various Journals on the topic of purpose). Purpose is about being really clear what drives you. Genius is about knowing your key strengths.

This is the point to say that there are alternatives to the Genius model. CliftonStrengths created by Don Clifton (and sold by Gallup) is based on decades of research. It is often referred to as StrengthFinder which was the name of his very successful book. It breaks down into 4 domains and 34 dominant themes:

  • Strategic Thinking – Analytical, Context, Futuristic, Ideation, Input, Intellection, Learner, Strategic
  • Relationship Building – Adaptability, Connectedness, Developer, Empathy, Harmony, Included, Individualisation, Positivity, Relator
  • Influencing – Activator, Command, Communication, Competition, Maximiser, Self-Assurance, Significance, Woo (winning others over)
  • Executing – Achiever, Arranger, Belief, Consistency, Deliberative, Discipline, Focus, Responsibility, Restorative
Image Source: Gallup

You can take the CliftonStrengths assessment for A$82 here.

“What leaders have in common is that each really knows their strengths, has developed their strengths, and can call on the right strength at the right time.”

Donald O. Clifton

Identifying Your Genius

Back to the Garnett Genius model which is all about understanding your uniqueness and helping you to consider how you optimise it. When most people consider what they are good at they consider their successes. Which leads them to quote an achievement rather than what capability helped them achieve that. How is really important, it is what makes you different and special.

Garnett suggests the best way to identify your Genius is to think about the last time you were really “In The Zone”.

  • In The Zone – That means fully engaged, intellectually challenged and totally immersed in your work.
  • Analyse That Moment – Think about what you were doing when you were in the zone.
  • Track Patterns – Look at other times you were in the zone are the patterns the same.
  • Name Your Genius – connect with a genius title and OWN IT

It is really important that you end up with the phrase that really reflects what makes you special and demonstrates your genius. Do not try to make it sound good for others, this has to be an authentic representation of you.

If you are finding the process hard this quick tool might help with identifying your genius

The Garnett Genius model has six domains and 24 themes or titles. They are listed below

Process Creation: Making Everything Work Better 

  • Chaos-to-Order Problem-Solver: You thrive by bringing order to chaotic situations.
  • Ideal Process Developer: You can easily create processes that bring order to disorganized situations.
  • Improvement Strategist: You’re constantly looking for ways to improve processes, people, and work by streamlining the way things operate.
  • Good-to-Great Strategist: You’re challenged by transforming an existing process or business function from good to great.

Visionary: Redefining the World

  • Barrier-Breaking Visionary: You’re challenged when you can think outside the box and see beyond conventional wisdom.
  • Opportunity Excavator: You start with a visionary idea and begin to refine it by unearthing opportunities in creative places.
  • Possibility Architect: You’re intellectually fired up by the act of tackling seemingly impossible problems and finding and building rare solutions.
  • Vision Strategist: You bring people together to form a vision or a big movement, and then help create a clear path as to how it is manifested.

Strategist: Creating the Path

  • Efficiency Strategist: You’re challenged and engaged by reviewing problems from every angle and creating better, more efficient ways to reach the end result.
  • People Strategist: You have an innate ability to connect with people, get their buy-in, and deliver what they need by providing the right human-related solutions. 
  • Possibility Strategist: You’re challenged by thinking big and creating something beautiful from something basic, and by creating something new that’s never been thought of before.
  • Results Strategist: You’re challenged when presented with a goal to achieve and thrive in creating the process that will ensure good results are attained consistently.

Synthesizing: Bringing People and Ideas Together 

  • Collaboration Strategist: You’re challenged and engaged by bringing people together in order to solve a problem.
  • Diagnostic Problem-Solver: You ask questions to understand the entire problem or scenario, and you zero in on a clear and actionable solution.
  • Discerning Ideator: You’re most challenged when you’re dissecting or breaking down problems and then generating lots of creative solutions on how they can be improved upon or moved forward.
  • Synthesis Expert: You’re challenged by the process of bringing multiple concepts together to form one hypothesis or solution. 

Catalyzing: Igniting Opportunity 

  • Connection Catalyst: You’re challenged by approaching problems via the connections that you can create in order for things to get done.
  • Holistic Crisis Problem-Solver: You’re challenged by solving problems that occur in a crisis–your balanced ability to see all angles is even more appreciated and needed when times get tough.
  • Social Advocate: You’re challenged by thinking through decisions and always considering the people side of things. You innately think in terms of how everything will impact people.
  • Team Maximizer: You’re exceptional at solving team efficiency problems that don’t have an obvious solution.

Builders: Ideas and Structures

  • Creative Results Architect: You’re totally engaged when you’re able to dive into a challenge and engineer an unconventional result to solve a problem.
  • Experience Producer: You’re engaged by the process of creating a sensory experience, such as an event (versus a tangible product).
  • Innovative Rebuilder: You’re challenged by the process of taking something apart and rebuilding it into something that works better.
  • Language and Idea Architect: You’re in the zone when you’re coming up with a new idea that no one has thought of before or putting words together that make something compelling.

Key Takeaways

  • These are two methods to help you frame your strengths and be clear about what makes you special and help you with identifying your genius.
  • I love the language the Genius finder uses, it is emotive and the most important thing is that it resonates deeply and aligns with your purpose.
  • No matter which approach you take being clear about your purpose (what) and your genius (how) can help you achieve your goals.
DIGEST of an article from INC.
Everyone Has a Hidden Genius. This List Will Help You Name Yours Now - From here on out, know what you're best at
By Laura Garnett
Published: 4th November 2019

and an article from Forbes
How To Uncover Your Hidden Genius—The One Thing You Do Better Than Anything Else
By Laura Garnett
Published: 18th February 2020

and from Delivering Happiness
How to Find Your Zone of Genius When in Crisis of Purpose
By Laura Garnett

and Garnett Consulting

and Gallup

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