At one of our in-person team workshops, we were on a break and I ran into a woman coming out of the bathroom. She had tears in her eyes. I paused and said, “Hey, how’s it going for you?” The group had just uncovered their Native Geniuses. Sometimes people are flying high, sometimes they’re befuddled, and most times it’s a bit of both.
She said, “I’m realizing some things. A few of my Native Geniuses are about being slow and methodical, going step-by-step in our planning and customer processes, and working through intricacies.” She went on, “But we move at lightning speed on this team, so now I understand why this role has been so hard. It’s not how I’m wired.” I said, “I promise, you’re not the only one who’s feeling these things. This afternoon, we’ll be working with exactly this.
After lunch, the team formed breakouts to do an exercise about their uncertainties and vulnerabilities. When she came out of the breakout group, she looked relieved. She had just shared with her teammates that she thought her Native Geniuses weren't useful, because the team worked in the opposite way. However, her teammates told her it was BECAUSE she worked in opposite ways that she was valuable to them. They told her that not only did they not like to do those things, they often had blindspots so they needed her.
These are some of the most pivotal moments on the journey with Native Genius. It’s these kindred interactions that make all the difference.