6 steps to make genius happen

Ian Lurie

This post is written by Todd Clarke. Todd’s… it’s hard to explain, but he believes IT departments can add tons of value and do brilliant stuff. And he helps them do just that. He writes the blog Fire Under Every Butt and generally dispenses great wisdom to anyone in a company that relies on technology.

What if you were doing just the activities that energized you?

Imagine operating as the Energizer Bunny, performing only the tasks that increase your energy, and thus, delivering remarkable results for your business or organization. You would excitingly read the books, register for the classes, do the research, spend the hours, solve the problems, and commit to results by accomplishing your most rad, butt-burning aspirations, without having to be reminded, prodded, pushed and poked to get stuff done. Wow.

Now, imagine the possibilities of your whole team working according to just their genius skills- operating with heightened clarity, conviction and commitment.

Double, triple, quadruple wow!

Here’s how.

Determine your Unique Ability Snapshot

Say you bought into the idea of creating the Genius Sub-Culture (one of many sub-cultures making up the Well LIT culture) because it’s easy to picture the possibilities. What next?

1. Generate your skills inventory. For a week, on a sheet of paper, keep an inventory of all the activities you perform. Several times a day, jot down bullets of what you are doing. Examples include: attend meetings, perform performance review for direct report, mentor a developer, setup automated build system, pitch new sales idea to boss, interview candidates. You get the idea. Do the same for at home, ’cause it’s all your life.

You can also get assistance by asking a friend or co-worker:  “what do you see as my ‘Unique Ability?’, this includes my talents and abilities, characteristics that describe me, what I’m good at, how I do things, what you can count on me for, and any other distinguishing features you see about who I am.

2. Categorize your skills. After a week, rate each of the items on your list via the following:

  • U for unique. Activities that increase your energy. Things you love to do, even if you had all the money in the world.
  • E for excellent. Skills you are excellent at though not something you totally love to do.
  • C for competent. Others can rely on you for these but you feel ‘eh’ when you do ‘em.
  • I for incompetent. Straight-up. You suck at and/or really hate doing these activities.

The idea is to stop doing and/or delegate everything except your Unique abilities to deliver remarkable results by operating within your Faith, Fire and Focus. They are Unique because you are unique and when doing something when you are so LIT makes this a unique skill.

3. View your skills by category. Next, on another sheet of paper, make a quadrant of your skills by isolating your Unique, Excellent, Competent and Incompetent skills.

4. Snapshot your Unique Ability. Finally, on another sheet of paper abstract your Unique Ability skills to create your Unique Ability snapshot. For instance, based on my Unique skills, I derived my Unique Ability snapshot:

  • Mentor, coach, teach, encourage & inspire
  • Organize, model and present useful data and concepts
  • Connect immediately with new people
  • Engage in meaningful and honest conversations
  • Learn and apply new ideas
  • Facilitate and share ideas in group setting
  • Create clarity and order out of chaos
  • Apply technology in innovative ways to produce effective results
  • Make things look pretty

5. Snapshot the team skills. Now that you have determined your genius, have the team do the same to generate a map of team skills.

6. Map it out. With these snapshots, you can use this new map of your team’s genius skills in a number of ways:

  • Trade activities for a better skills fit among team members
  • Modify performance reviews by changing ‘areas for improvement’ to ‘areas of genius’
  • Give team members their own focus time, and have them present their findings to the team
  • Reward special solutions with training, free-time, or other bonuses
  • Use your genius to derive more ways to develop the Genius Culture

Oh, sure…

Now…you might be thinking… ”Ok, ok. Simmer down little tech-LIT-genius-hood-day-dreamer. What about all of the stuff that needs to get done that won’t if we all just start operating in our genius zone? Well?”

I hear ya.

While I answer that please hold onto this thought…that of all the new and improved and only useful activities you and the whole cool-in-the-gang will perform by operating, collectively, at such a creative and effective strata.

Too often, folk are just doing as told or as instructed with no Faith, Fire or Focus behind their actions. As well, too often the ideas are being generated by the few… execs and managers. Well gosh-for darn-math-sakes, that is just plain lamo. A few higher-ups coming up with a few good ideas, maybe? How about multiplying the possibilities by having creativity abound in the workplace with everyone operating in ‘the zone’ with many of the great ideas coming from the trenches?

Your work world will look very different. Loads of higher-level activities will present themselves based on this heightened work-life-force. Much of what you thought had to be done won’t even matter anymore because new goals, new products, new services will develop with your ‘new workforce’.  Dan Sullivan, of the successful Strategic Coach program, refers to this as the Unique Ability team, linking peoples’ genius together to deliver higher value.

New relationships will be formed. New skills will be voluntarily developed. Clarity will increase as people operate with a new faith (the belief that you can), fire (operating with energy and passion), and focus (removing interference with the focus of operating better with your current knowledge and according to your faith and fire).

And for those (fewer) remaining activities that are deemed necessary, find and/or hire more geniuses. Most importantly, treat your team as investments versus costs to ensure the benefits of the Faith, Fire and Focus in all of us.

Imagine the possibilities. Even better, go make ‘genius’ happen in your company.

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Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at www.ianlurie.com

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