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The library of essays of Proakatemia

Learnings from the 2023 Nordic Business Forum

Kirjoittanut: Valter Szűcs - tiimistä Satku.

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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
The 6 Types of Working Genius
Patrick Lencioni
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 8 minuuttia.

Nordic Business Forum 2023


Patrick Lencioni

The first ever business speech I watched. I was really interested in the Nordic Business Forum, when the coaches told us about it and it’s a big thing in the Nordic countries, I couldn’t wait for this event. I was really looking forward to hear some smart people’s speeches and work. I never heard of Patrick’s name before, but after the presentation I checked out his resume and found out that he is a really successful entrepreneur who is dedicated in helping people at finding their joy, energy and peace at work. He is a multiple time best-seller author. He wrote over a dozen books and sold over 7 million copies of his work.

For me style that he spoke with, was really easy to understand and whenever my attention wondered somewhere else, he always found a way to go back and follow his speech. He has a truly American, over explaining side, but I guess that’s why a lot of people likes him, because he makes himself clear and understood. He started to lead the audience to the topic with a metaphor about a gift. A gift that you may not know about, but it’s on the shelf. The gift was your own genius. It’s different for everyone, but that’s why it’s special to every individual. At first I thought he was going to speak about his life and his experiences, but he just explained and reflected on the way he found out these geniuses.

Working Genius

The first part of the speech was about, at the time his insight for his newest book: The 6 type of working genius. I never heard of anything like this before so of course it grabbed my attention. I didn’t know what it meant so I was really looking forward the explanation of them. So first he told us about the 3 categories we can list our geniuses in. There is the working genius category, which is basically the 2 things you are “gifted”/good at. The things you can perform in and not get tired of it. The type of work you and your work can benefit from. Then there is the working competency. The things that you are okay with. Basically the things, which you are able to do, but don’t perform the best in. Last but not least, there is the working frustration, the 2 things you like the least. Those working models, which are the furthest from your own genius.

After that, he stared to dig deeper into the topic. The first genius was the genius of Wonder. People like this are the “thinkers” in my eye. The always wonder about the why. Why things are the way they are, why people are like that, why this and that happened, and for example; why are you like that. These type of people are like the starting points of important conversations. I think they start to roll the snowball. Like the first step of doing something basically. The second one was the genius of Invention. These kind of people want to create something from nothing. They are the people who come up with solutions to ideas. The genius of Wonder and Invention can be listed in a different category called: Ideation.

The topic got more interesting. He continued with the third genius, the genius of Discernment which was a word I never heard before. So I was really looking forward the explanation. The word itself means, the ability to judge something. That’s what he basically explained. These kind of people are good at evaluating things. Giving a “good” judgement, a right answer for questions/problems. I think I belong in this genius, this really stands close to me and it’s good to know, that is my gift. Before this speech I thought I might be to judging or something, until Patrick explained that this can be easily used in business life and it’s actually very much needed in life. Then there comes a new genius, the genius of Galvanizing. Here I was lost again, and I thought I have no chance of getting his point, but he proved me wrong again. His style of speech is so crystal clear that I had no struggle in understanding his point. Galvanizing means basically that, you shock someone into taking action. Technically encouraging people, and making people start their work. Helping them gain motivation. The Galvanizing and Discernment geniuses form the category of Activation.

Lastly, he started talking about the remaining 2 geniuses. The first of those, is the genius of Enablement. The one I am jealous of because I don’t have it. These people are the ones who always help. It’s so simple yet a lot of people are not equipped with this genius. They are the ones who loves helping people at work or anything. They will always say yes for a “cry” of help, and it’s not just because they are nice. It’s because their personality is like that. The last genius, the 6th is, the genius of Tenacity. I wasn’t that lost with the meaning of tenacity at first. In my opinion tenacity in a person was like, that these people are able to withhold their energy so they can do something for longer. I wasn’t too far off the explanation. Lencioni explained that these people are the ones who see an obstacle and will try to beat it, no matter what. They solve things and finish things. The most important part about this genius is that they can focus their energy and joy on a thing for a long time. After all these explanations, I found my second genius. Tenacity. The last two also form another category; Implementation.

I wanted to write an essay on this topic for a long time now, because he showed me new things I never even thought about before. After this now I can finally recognize my own, and also someone else’s genius, so I can understand myself and other’s better. It also opens up a new way of thinking in my opinion. That we should have less guilt about some things that other geniuses can do, or have and also less judgment for people who are suited with totally different geniuses. They simply work differently than us, but this is how great teams can be built. Pairing up different geniuses to work for a shared goal. I also learnt that for example burning out happens when you work a lot in a sector where you aren’t using your own strength, because you don’t work with your genius. I also learnt another thing. You can and probably still have to do things that you are not good at, or your genius is not made for that, but know after knowing all this new information, I know you are not meant to like it, but you can still do things that are not your genius. Everybody can have different combinations of these 6 genius, so you might be able to find similarities between some people and they could still be totally different since only 1 of their genius is matching. This speech really motivated me to read this book at some point during my studies.

Dysfunctions of a Team

After these I thought the presentation would end, but he continued to explain another one of his books, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. I was really looking forward to hear this, because I thought maybe he tells us something new that we can apply in our Proakatemia Journey. He gave is a visual explanation about the 5 steps in this topic. It was already easy to imagine, because it was a pyramid. So obviously a pyramid needs to have a strong foundation to hold the other things together.

So the first layer is trust. After he was talking about it, I finally got a new look on trust. He literally predicted my thoughts, because he started with the Predictive Trust. It basically means that you trust someone else’s ability to do their job, arrive on time etc. I thought this is the trust what he would talk about, but no. He explained that trust should be a different type of trust, Vulnerable Trust is the thing teams should be looking for. You have to be able to open up to your teammates, you have to open up both your mind and heart to be able to create a good team. You have to hear other people’s side of the story, and you have to be heard equally. Opening up and telling what you think is a step that everyone should take to this direction. By building around this comfort, this vulnerable trust, you can really create a good foundation for your own team. This is what is happening now, by the time I’m writing this essay a few months later. Our team company is trying to build the trust, but it’s a lot harder than it sounds, because for a lot of people this is a totally new thing. Way different from their own culture or things that they experienced before. It’s hard to get people to open up and tell their opinion, and not just letting the usual people speak. That is not how you can make yourself heard in a team, in my opinion it’s neglecting the team’s need, a good foundation. It’s hard to tell people that in order to trust they have to show up, but for them to show up they need to trust. I hope to see the end of this cycle soon, and I’m really hopeful I can write an essay in the future reflecting on how we built up our team’s trust.

The second layer is The Fear of Conflict. Like I mentioned earlier, everything in this pyramid goes hand in hand with each other, so I can easily connect this with trust. Without trust in a team, there is the lack of conflicts. Conflicts are needed to build more trust, but without opening up about our opinion there will be no conflict, so therefore there is no moving forward or no movement into a good direction. Bad decisions are going to pile up and there will be no results in the team. This is what’s happening in our team company right now. Basically people are afraid of passionate debates and discussions about their opinion. They are afraid to give the team members what they think, or what they want. Living with Patrick Lencioni’s quote: “Conflict means, caring enough to solve problems together”. I hope in the future we can jump over this hurdle and have unfiltered conversations about everything with my team.

Yet again, the next step is connected to the ones before and after it. The Lack of Commitment. Without the lack of conflicts, there will be no commitment to the team or the decisions that the team makes. It’s so simple, the team doesn’t have a direction to move forward to. Some team members feel mad, the other ones feel left out from the group, which creates more tension in people. I’m currently spectating and wondering what’s going on because, to be honest, I’m not sure how to move forward with the entire team. Half of the team is not present, the other half is just mad at them for being not present. I’ll come back and reflect on this topic too, on how we managed to get out of this hole as a team.

Because of the Lack of Commitment, the next step comes up. Accountability. Since there is no commitment in the team, there is no clear plan of action. There is no direction, and again everything points back to the previous points. This cycle seems deadly and we really need to do something about it before we create more damage in the foundation of the team. Individuals, are just trying to overcompensate towards the team instead of the missing people showing up in my opinion. Accountability for me could be created. You can just pressure into people I think. For example making the perpetrator understand what and how he made a mistake in, and showing him as a whole group that he is in the wrong and not the other way around. In my eyes someone who is accountable for their actions and honest about them, just creates more trust in the team. But accountability and the intention to say that you are in the wrong is not enough on its own, you have to be able to show that you learnt from it and you are willing to change that in the future.

The top of the pyramid is the Inattention to Results. It basically means that some team member could put their own needs, like projects, ego, or recognition above anything else, as an individual other than putting these things to the side and putting the effort in the shared goals of the team.

The reward comes after this, the final stage which every team wants to be in. A cohesive, team-working, hard-working team. I think if we worked as functional team we would spend less time thinking about the small, reoccurring or even useless things and we could move on to making money and having fun together. Functional teams could make better business decisions, with less distractions in our way. Lencioni said that creating a team is rather easy, we just have to acknowledge the imperfections of humanity. We just have to be human.


Lencioni, P. 2023. Teamwork Simplified. Key-note presentation. Nordic Business Forum on 27.-28.9.2023. Seminar. Helsinki

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