Discover more from Len Wilson
Discarded Genius: The Formula for Influence, Part 4
2023-08-03 Champions Weekly
1. Discarded Genius: How to Find and Maximize People’s Gifts
You have genius around you. But be careful. It is easy to miss.
The formula for influence includes other people—but people aren’t just a task to manage. Recognizing and releasing each and every person’s unique genius may be the most important thing you can do to serve your vision.
In Think Like a Five Year Old, I write that everyone is a genius. Each of us is born with what NASA scientifically documented as genius level ability in at least one specific attribute or area of life: creativity. (Think of creativity as the art of finding original ideas with value.) Creativity is the backbone for innovation—innovation being creativity that “ships” or results in solutions to what others think of as intractable problems. This creativity leads to other areas of genius, including organizational strengths, relational strengths, and so on.
At Invite, we are biased toward innovation. This means by necessity, we value creativity.
Rich Kriegbaum, author of Invite Press’ upcoming Heads and Tails, a book on kingdom-formed organizations, paid the Invite team a great compliment the other day. He said that everyone is very good at their job. Rich would know. He is former President of Fresno Pacific University, an expert on Christian leadership, and author of Leadership Prayers, which has sold over 100,000 copies.
I have heard similar feedback from other authors, as well. If you have had a great experience with an Invite team member, write a comment below or send a reply to this email and let us know. Let’s celebrate the Invite team.
To be clear, we at Invite are no different than any other group of colleagues and friends on a common mission. We have our share of screw ups and let downs, with me at the head of the line. But if there is any credit or strategic plan to which we might attribute the team, it is the desire is to discover, activate, and release each person’s genius.
This week’s bottom line: As a leader, I am not necessarily looking for the top pick in the draft. Sometimes, the best employees are people who have been ignored or discarded by others.
Billy Oppenheimer tells the story of Bengals QB Virgil Carter, the most important NFL quarterback you’ve never heard of. It’s amazing Virgil was ever even on an NFL roster, because he could only throw the football about 15 yards downfield.
It was 1968. His young offensive coordinator, Bill Walsh, designed a new playbook to hide Virgil’s weaknesses and maximize his strengths. Oppenheimer writes, “Walsh developed what is now known as The West Coast Offense: an offensive playbook full of passes thrown to wide-receivers who ran precise routes to exacting spots within 12 yards of Virgil Carter.”
Walsh won a division with Virgil Carter at quarterback. Later, he became head coach of the sad sack 49ers. In his first draft as boss, with his third round pick, he chose a quarterback that everyone said was too small and weak to play in the NFL: Joe Montana. The rest is history.
Everyone on your team is an off-the-charts genius at something. They’ve also got a weakness which would probably prevent them from becoming a first round draft pick in life. If you’ve worked with others for some time, it is likely you know what that weakness is. But do you know their genius? Are they living it out with you and your organization? Don’t let a person’s history of being ignored and discarded distract you.
Instead, do two things as this week’s takeaway:
Discover the unique genius of each person in your care.
When you find it, match them up with the right job. Find the right seat on the bus. It may take you months or even years, but when you align passion, potential, and power to problems, there’s no telling what you can do.
2. Championing Invite: Maximizing the Team
As a leader, perhaps the most important thing you can do to serve your mission is to find, nurture, and maximize the people in your care.
With the launch of our new fiscal year in July 1, 2023, we have repositioned several Invite staff to hopefully maximize their genius. Note this list, which is growing. Many people have new jobs. The person you worked with before may have a different focus. Feel free to contact anyone here! Reach them with their first initial last name at inviteresources dot com.
(You better not try to steal them!)
Here is a current list of everyone and their role:
Tonnie Clack is our operations manager. She is the glue that holds the office together. She handles finances and manages some of the team. She also manages projects. She’s an adaptable problem solver with incredible EQ and is a great point person for general questions or if you need a quick response.
Stephen Graham-Ching is our production lead. He oversees book production from manuscript to publication, and with decades of industry experience is also our wise voice for technical questions. He’s got a unique and powerful mix of empathy, harmony and developmental skills, which means he can build systems while keeping all the people and pieces running together well.
Lori Wagner is our content editor. You may know her as our book whisperer. She is a positive, maximizing strategic thinker. In addition to her ongoing work as our primary manuscript structural voice, she is taking an increasing role over Invite Press acquisitions.
Michael Buckingham is our creative lead. He designs covers, interiors, and offers counsel on marketing and branding. He is a power player in the world of church communications and has an amazing mix of ideation, persuasion, and activation.
Michelle Summers covers inventory and fulfillment. She handles sales, customer services, sends books out from our fulfillment center, and is the person behind all the bulk orders. With her sharp eye to detail and organizational skills, this new employee is going to make our operations much more efficient!
Gabrielle Kent is our tech-savvy digital specialist. She handles the site, store, social, email newsletter, and everything digital. Gabrielle is a positive developer with great people skills, which is perfect for our start up environment.
Josiah Simons is now over all website content. He previously oversaw our marketing and has already provided valuable leadership to our young startup. He is great at activating ideas. If you want to publish an article about the success of DP, talk to him!
Jeff Moore is our lead designer among many, and is the artist behind a lot of Invite Press projects. He is good and fast and has zero prima donna, which makes him a rare bird indeed when it comes to the world of graphic design!
Jen Rogers is new in her role as our lead copy editor. She manages the pool of copy editors and ensures consistency among all of our titles. We are excited to have her expertise!
Katie Martin also recently began as our marketing team lead. She handles FB groups, book launches, and digital advertising and is the main marketing contact for Invite Press authors. She is knowledgable and responsive and a joy to work with!
Kristin Cole is an industry vet who oversees our book publicity, and along with her friend Katie brings a world of knowledge and connections from her experience at a prominent Christian publishing agency. They worked together there, and now bring a world of knowledge to Invite.
Invite is blessed by this powerhouse team, and I pray you are as well!