Friday, February 04, 2011

Strengths Finder 1

Two weekends ago our church brought in Mike Dauphinee for a Strengths Finder workshop, which is based on this book by Tom Rath. All of us took the online inventory before the workshop. The idea is that as each of us on the team understands our strengths, it will make the entire team work better.

In this first post I want to give a reflection on how this has impacted me personally. Then, in future posts I'll reflect on how this impacts my marriage and my church.

I took this inventory about nine years ago, but I knew it had probably changed some. Below are my five themes, along with the "balcony" (potential) and "basement" (extreme) for each.

1. Self-Assurance - People who are especially talented in the Self-Assurance theme feel confident in their ability to manage their own lives. They possess an inner compass that gives them confidence that their decisions are right.
Balcony: self-confident, strong inner compass, risk-taker
Basement: arrogant, self-righteous, over confident, stubborn

2. Activator - People who are especially talented in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They are often impatient.
Balcony: self-starter, fire-starter, energy source, fearless
Basement: ready-fire-aim, loose cannon, speak before you think, in left field (because others haven't caught up)

3. Arranger - People who are especially talented in the Arranger theme can organize, but they also have a flexibility that complements this ability. They like to figure out how all of the pieces and resources can be arranged for maximum productivity.
Balcony: flexible, organizer, juggler, aligning and realigning tasks to find the most productive configuration possible, efficient, conductor
Basement: lack of structure, too flexible, don't follow the existing rules or procedures, constantly changing priorities, lack of vision

4. Adaptability - People who are especially talented in the Adaptability theme prefer to "go with the flow." They tend to be "now" people who take things as they come and discover the future one day at a time.
Balcony: flexible, comfortable in times of change, easy to get along with, go with the flow
Basement: directionless, indecisive, sheep, inconclusive, whimsical

5. Command - People who are especially talented in the Command theme have presence. They can take control of a situation and make decisions.
Balcony - charisma, direct, driven, inspirational, easy to follow, clear, concise
Basement - bossy, know-it-all, domineering, rude, abrupt, short, strong-willed, inflexible, stubborn

It's funny that what sticks out more than anything are the extremes of the theme, or what we continued to come back to as the "dark side" of the gifts. I have seen this in my life so many times. But this study has more than anything helped me to be confident in the way that God has wired/gifted me.

Mike defined a strength as any task we perform that makes us feel strong. Therefore, a weakness is any task we perform that makes us feel weak. This is key. In most of our jobs we all have to at times work out of our weaknesses, but the problem comes when this becomes the primary way we work. Some people have no idea what makes them feel strong. Others know but have not been in environments where they've been given this freedom.

This makes so much sense to me, and though I feel like I have been somewhat operating in these strengths, I believe that I will do so even more from now on.

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