Playing to our strengths?

I just read a short, to-the-point, fascinating book called Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath.  In short, this book is about focusing on what you do well rather than trying so hard to change your weaknesses.  As part of the book, you complete a strengths assessment to help you find your top five strengths.  Once you know these, you get a run-down of how you can work more effectively by trying to improve on your strengths.

The really intriguing concept is how this affects teams.  You get an in-depth analysis of how teams can improve by letting team members do what they do best.  It makes so much sense it almost makes me feel stupid.  I think of football.  We wouldn’t ask the center and the quarterback to switch places – ever.  Why, then, would we ask people in non-profits, businesses, or other organizations to routinely complete tasks that don’t necessarily play to their strengths.

Here is what I am really thinking, though.  Do we use a strengths-based model to provide community resources?  Do we have the strongest organizations actually covering the resources and services with which they would be most effective?  Instead, are we just filling in the blanks?  Think about this.  Are you happy with your answers?


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Brad Cavanagh
Brad is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa and a Partner at ResourcesUnite.
Brad Cavanagh

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