A friend of mine asked me buy the Strength’s Finder and I ignored him. For two years. If I remember right someone even gave me a copy of the book with the code for taking online assessment and it sat on a book shelf. For at least a year. The book was still on my bookshelf when I finally decided to take a look at it. Unfortunately, I was in Houston, Texas and my bookshelf was in Montana so I bought the Kindle version, read it and then took the assessment.
Why the Strengths Finder?
Yes, it’s a tool for assessing your top five areas of strength, but why is it necessary? Tom Rath answers this question at the beginning of the book so I won’t say much. Here’s what is important to understand though. A lot of us fail to manage our time well. Ministry leaders often struggle with balance. We juggle the tyranny of the urgent with administrative needs and daily tasks. We often feel like we have to do everything even if we don’t feel equipped.
Gallup asked people if they agreed with the statement: “At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best.” Only one-third agreed. Further studies indicated that when people do have the opportunity to focus on what they do best they are six times more likely to be engaged in their job and three times more likely to indicate a better quality of life in general.
If you’re involved in ministry this should be important to you. Most of us go into ministry because of a deep desire to respond to God’s call on our lives. We pray, encourage, teach and care for others day in and day out, all of which can be demanding not to mention disheartening if we’re not careful. Because we care it’s often hard to focus and yet focus is what we need to do. But what we focus on is as important as the act of focusing. And a lot of us focus on our weaknesses.
This is where the Strength’s Finder comes in. Rath argues (and I agree) that we should focus on our strengths. Focusing on our strengths makes a dramatic difference and leads to greater engagement. I can’t think of anything more important in our line of work. Before I continue on though, let me tell you how this has helped me.
Last year the church I pastor gave me a three month sabbatical. Years of abusing myself finally caught up with me. I was exhausted. In ten years of ministry the church had doubled in size, finished a number of major initiatives, hired staff, and completed a building project. Three months of prayer, reading, and seeking God were amazing!
It was also a time of evaluating what wasn’t working. One of the biggest realizations was the amount of time I spent working on things that I don’t necessarily enjoy, things that suck the life out of me. I knew I needed to make some adjustments. The Strength Finder helped. In the next blog post I will tell you more about my assessment and how I am using it.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Also let me know if you’ve already read the book and taken the assessment. If you haven’t, consider buying the book here. Disclaimer: I don’t recommend anything that I haven’t personally used or interacted with. If I am writing about it, I believe in it.
For Deeper Engagement
Christ LoCurto recently interviewed Tom Rath on Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership Podcast. You can find the interview on iTunes.