When I entered college, my initial thought was to become a psychology major. I was soon dissuaded from this pursuit when bitten by a lab rat that didn’t coddle to my Pavlovian training style. Soon afterward, I pivoted to the study of the aggregates of fear and greed — economics.
Not until my senior year did I return to that which I had originally thought I was signing up for by taking my original psychology course. For it was in the philosophy department that I found a course on Carl Jung and the most famous and commonly used personality test that has become an outgrowth of his ideas — the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test.
In the quarter century since this introduction, I have discovered many additional tests of personality, aptitudes or both. They include Strength Finder 2.0; Johnson O’Conner; Kolbe; and Risc, to name some of the other most common. Recently, however, I have discovered what appears to be a revolutionary reworking of this most common of personality tests — GeniusU.
GeniusU — quite obviously a double entendre to signify both “you” and “university” — is the brain child of Roger James Hamilton. Hamilton, who was raised in Hong Kong and educated in London, combines Jungian philosophy, which primarily seeks to explore individual preferences of introversion or extroversion as well as proclivities toward intuition versus tangible sensing, and employs the five elements of Chinese philosophy.
These are: wood, fire, wind, steel and water. Hamilton’s goal is not only to help people identify, i.e., name, their personality type. No, that is like giving people the message “with that and a cup of coffee you’ll be able to stay awake for a while.” In other words, most of the other tests essentially lead people to more questions and fewer answers. Hamilton’s test is different because he then goes on to indicate that with one’s “unique genius” he or she will be most successful in organizing their activities, and in doing so take specific paths to success along with colleagues whose own “unique genius” is different, but complementary.
In all honesty, I have been seeking to find this comprehensive understanding all my life. What is perhaps even more painfully clear is that I’ve been “looking for love in all the wrong places.” How so? Well, let’s just start unpacking some of these ideas to find out what there is to see.
First, Hamilton creates a box of the first four elements: wood, fire, wind and steel. Along the top, he places the wood element and suggests this signifies Spring and the Dynamo Genius; along the right leg of the box he places the fire element and suggest this signifies Summer and the Blaze Genius; he places wind along the bottom and suggests this signifies Autumn and the Tempo Genius; and, finally, steel along the left leg, signifying Winter and the Steel Genius.
Again rotating around the clock, a Dynamo Genius is “Idea Smart.” These are the people who “start and move things forward.” They are innovators. They are not keen on follow through with operational details. An extraordinary list of the geniuses at this level includes: Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Jackson, Beethoven, Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein.1
Blaze Geniuses are “People Smart.” They are all great communicators and excel at putting people first. “They learn through talking and telling and hearing stories.” Yet, they are weakest with analysis and detailed calculation. A list of people with this temperament includes: Bill Clinton, Jack Welch, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and Larry King.2
Tempo Geniuses are “Senses Smart.” These are the most grounded of leaders who make sure the trains run on schedule. They contend with lots of activity and are hands-on. These people do not like to grandstand nor are they good at strategic planning and seeing the bigger picture. Well-known examples include: Warren Buffett, George Soros, Woodrow Wilson, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and Michael Phelps.3
Finally, Steel Geniuses are “Detail Smart.” They “love handbooks, manuals, and reading through small print to understand and clarify all the information.” Notably too, Steel Geniuses “will take their time and get things right.” And what do they do wrong? Answer: “Steels often suck the energy out of a Dynamo (their metal axes chop down a Dynamo’s wood), and too much contact with a Blaze can dull their sharp minds (fire can melt a metal).” Does this at all sound familiar to law land? That said, extraordinary Steel Geniuses include: John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Ray Kroc, Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Mark Zuckerberg.4
Well folks, I went to the GeniusU website and found out that I am only slightly more of a Blaze than a Dynamo, located at the northeast corner of this psychographic map. Yet, my esteemed father, wife, college major and industry of choice are located at the complete opposite location of my genius, in the southwest corner where hands-on, detailed execution is prioritized.
To compensate, consider revamping the structure of your organization so that you have at least all these four bases covered. Instead of starting with the legal fundamentals, realize that law is a business and that in all business the sale is the pinnacle event. Just remember that nothing happens without the anticipation or consummation of the sale.
So, create a “General Legal Counselor” for those attorneys with Blaze Genius and have them go out and communicate your legal offering to people. To make sure that these folks have the support they need to execute, get them a “General Legal Assistant,” who with their Tempo Genius will be able to stay astride all the activity that the “General Legal Counselor” generates.
Then rotate clockwise back again to where we find the majority of legal activity performed by lawyers with the Steel Genius — “Specific Legal Counselors.” These folks too should and generally do have assistants whom we can call “Specific Legal Assistants.” Yet, instead of having them serve people in the more traditional role in which we find paralegals with Tempo Genius, consider instead having “Specific Legal Assistants” — Dynamo Geniuses who can help create systems so that work throughput becomes increasingly fluid.
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