Does Your Institution Work Like an Airplane?

Shawn Temple
Does Your Institution Work Like an Airplane?

People see and do things in different ways. Maybe that’s obvious, but in many workplaces, it doesn’t seem obvious. What do I mean?

Well, you might have someone who loves coming up with new ideas doing grunt work all the time. Or maybe you always ask the head-in-the-clouds thinker to rally the staff around a new program. Maybe you notice these employees getting frustrated, losing focus or lacking energy.

If you’re seeing this scenario play out in real time, it’s because your credit union or community bank doesn’t work like an airplane.


Find Your Staff Members’ Roles


An airplane needs all sorts of people to function. It needs flight attendants, engineers, baggage handlers and pilots. Why does this apply to your institution?

Because you need employees working in their best roles if you’re going to reach your full potential.

Patrick Lencioni’s Working Genius model tells us different employees thrive performing different tasks. Specifically, there are six different tasks – “working geniuses” – people excel at. These working geniuses become “working frustrations” when they’re tasks not suited to the person.

The working geniuses are:

  • Wonder – thinking about large opportunities/problems
  • Invention – creating new ideas
  • Discernment – judging/critiquing new ideas
  • Galvanizing – rallying people behind an idea
  • Enablement – helping/encouraging team members
  • Tenacity – driving to complete a project

You wouldn’t make the engineer the baggage carrier, and you shouldn’t put the flight attendant in charge of flying the plane. So, don’t put your biggest thinker in a tenacity position. Or a nitty-gritty goal-achiever in charge of ideation.


Find Your Staff Members’ Altitudes


The working geniuses are also located at different parts of the workflow. For example, wonder is at the beginning and tenacity is at the end.

In other words, each working genius is at a different altitude:

  • Wonder = 30,000 ft
  • Invention = 20,000 ft
  • Discernment = 15,000 ft
  • Galvanizing = 10,000 ft
  • Enablement = 5,000 ft
  • Tenacity = 0 ft

This means each staff member sees your projects from a different viewpoint. These perspectives may change employee patience with different phases of the workflow. A tenacious employee might get impatient with the grand thinking of the wonder step and rush to get to the end as quickly as possible.

Make sure you avoid these blind spots by positioning the right people at crucial steps.


Fly Higher Than Ever Before


Of course, this is the real world. Your credit union or community bank can’t match someone with their best tasks all the time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it some of the time.

Begin using your staff’s working geniuses to your advantage when you can. You’ll notice a big difference in their engagement and productivity when they’re doing what they do best.

Maximize your employees’ working geniuses, and they’ll maximize your institution. So, are you ready to fly?

If you are, an On The Mark Strategies Working Genius facilitator can walk you through operationalizing these ideas and piercing the metaphorical clouds.

Book a free consultation to get started.

Shawn Temple
Strategy Director