Your Zone of Genius is about finding areas of responsibility that give you energy, and which ones take from it.- Justin Kan
It is easy to feel trapped by your ‘Zone of Competence’: things you are good at doing, but do not love. I spent 15 years doing that. To truly find meaning in your work, focus on your ‘Zone of Genius’ instead:
This idea was first introduced to me by @mattmochary, one of the most elite CEO coaches in Silicon Valley who helped me through some tough times. Even CEO’s can find themselves stuck in a position where they feel trapped.
Your Zone of Genius is about finding areas of responsibility that give you energy, and which ones take from it. Founders and CEOs have a much easier time finding meaning because they know exactly WHY they are doing something.
A useful exercise is to audit your entire calendar and areas of responsibility (AOR), and then figure out exactly what you are both good at, and love doing. List the tasks that you are terrible at & take too much energy/time from you in red.
Once you have figured this out for yourself, you should act as a primary facilitator to help everyone in your company live in their zone. This will have a trickle down effect to all your employees.
At Atrium, I sat down with all my executives, went through their AORs with them and worked out exactly what was in their Zone of Genius, and helped them go through the same process with their team. Culture is everything, and it all starts from the top.
Caveat: it is almost impossible to live 100% within your Zone of Genius. In the reality of business, everyone must take some responsibility for things just outside their scope of alignment. Fortunately, this can be an advantage.
This is a useful tool to teach you either how to find the right person to fill those responsibilities, or better yet, challenge yourself to acquire new skills and experience.
You may even find things in your zone that you were previously unaware of. Living 80% within your Zone of Genius is the key to continuous growth.
A company that lacks meaning and happiness is one doomed to fail. Set the right culture early on, and lead with example and care. Find your Zone of Genius, and then help everyone else in your organization find theirs.