Leverage Strengths to Win the Breakthrough You Want

What situation in your business or personal life has you dismayed,terrified, and running with fear? What breakthrough do you want? The Israelites and Philistines were lined up for battle across from each other in the Valley of Elah as described in I Samuel 17.

A giant champion warrior named Goliath taunted Saul and the armies of the living God for 40 days.

Saul and his army were dismayed, terrified, and ran with great fear. V.11,24

This is the exact place God wants to show you how to win the breakthrough you want leveraging your God given strengths.

How did David leverage his strengths to win the battle against Goliath?

I Samuel 17:40 states David chose five smooth stones from the stream with his sling as he approached Goliath.

David’s five stones are like our top 5 strengths that can be leveraged to win against our Goliath.

What top five strengths from StrengthsFinder could we spot in David?

  1. Responsibility – 15, 17 David was found faithful taking care of his father’s sheep as well as delivering food for his brothers on the battle line.People with the responsibility talent take psychological ownership to get the daily grind done. They are servant leaders.
  2. Belief –26, 37, 45 reveal the strong value in God as the victorious champion and his passion to stand up for what he believes. David is not just confident in himself but in the character of who God is!
  3. Positivity –32-34 show how David saw the upside rather than the downside of danger in the battle. He encouraged his brothers and the armies of the living God with his success stories of killing the lion and the bear.

(Notice how Eliab, David’s oldest brother burned with anger and thought David was conceited and just wanted front row entertainment on the battle line. V.28)

Beware of thinking that people of positivity are just naive.

  1. Command – 29 shows how David is not afraid to speak up against his brother’s negative attitude or the crisis that confronts the Israelites. Though he was youthful and undersized he had a sense of strong presence in the face of conflict.Notice v.38-40 how Saul and others will many times try to force us to wear their armor; as a leader this is a fatal mistake to force others into an exact replica of ourselves. David said, “I cannot go in these, because I’m not used to them.”

Being authentic in his own strengths, David chose his tools that he was acquainted and experienced with – the Shepherds staff, pouch for his 5 smooth stones, and his sling.

  1. Strategic – 48-51 David quickly assesses his options and knows he cannot defeat Goliath in hand to hand combat. He chooses one stone, places it into his sling, running toward Goliath  increasing his leverage (likely up to speeds of 60-90 MPH), aiming his stone into the one place that Goliath is vulnerable.Intentionally David stuns Goliath enough that he falls forward and finishes the job cutting off Goliath’s head with Goliath’s sword.

    David maximized his strategic strength with knowledge, skill, and practice in the field as a Shepherd, killing the lion and bear.

Like David, God has designed us uniquely with talent for kingdom purpose.

It is our responsibility to multiply those talents into strengths that are leveraged intentionally for individual and community breakthroughs.

Bring GALLUP Certified Strengths Coach and Convene Resource Specialist Brent O’Bannon to your Forum Day or organization. Learn more at

Avoid America’s Favorite Pastime

What is America’s favorite pastime? Some people would have you think it is baseball. Afterall, it is called the “National Pastime.” True, a lot of people attend all types of baseball games…from little league to major league games. Some people think baseball is a bit slow. Someone once said that baseball is 15 minutes of action packed into 3 hours! Some people believe golf is the national pastime. It certainly has continued to gain popularity and participants over the years. Personally, I don’t like to play golf because I stand too close to the ball … after I hit it!!

However, there is another pastime that Americans are crazy about. Despite its popularity, this pastime should be avoided at all times!

It is called “transference of blame.” It is easy to blame others for our condition, our problems, our state in life. We do it all the time:

“Mom, it isn’t my fault I failed that test. You see, the teachers asked questions from the book! I thought they’d be from his lectures!”

“Boss, it’s not my fault the customer didn’t buy. I showed up at 1:45 … for the 1:00 appointment!”

Of course it’s not our fault that we do this. The blame goes to Adam and Eve. They started it all! God asked Adam if he’d eaten the fruit. Adam said, “Lord, let me tell you about that woman you gave me.” Eve said it was the serpent’s fault … and we all know that the snake didn’t have a leg to stand on!

We are responsible for our thoughts and our actions. We are responsible for our hits and our misses. We are responsible for our success and our mistakes. If others are responsible for our success, then we need to invest in those people! We need to send them to schools and to seminars and to educate them. Once they are better, we will get better. Once they are great, our lives will be great! No, I don’t think so.

You know that it doesn’t work that way. We must stop blaming others. We must stand on our own and make our own way in this world. We all need to avoid the pastime of “transference of blame!”


Four Agreements

One of my Perfect Year intentions is to reread a handful of books that were (and still are) very meaningful and significant to me. The one I just finished reading is The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. The lessons from this book are amazingly insightful and powerful. The following is an overview of the meaning of each of The Four Agreements based on the book. File under “how to live unfettered.”

Be Impeccable with Your Word

Speak with integrity.  Say only what you mean.  Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.  Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Impeccable means not speaking against yourself, to yourself or to others.  It means not rejecting yourself.  To be impeccable means to take responsibility for yourself, to not participate in “the blame game.” What you put out energetically in your word will return to you.

Don’t Take Anything Personally

Nothing others do is because of you.  What others say and do is a projection of their own thoughts.  When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

We take things personally when we agree with what others have said.  If we didn’t agree, the things that others say would not affect us emotionally.  If we did not care about what others think about us, their words or behavior could not affect us. Remember — it is not about you!  Others’ actions and words are based on what they believe and their belief system.

Don’t Make Assumptions

Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.  Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama.  With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

When we make assumptions it is because we believe we know what others are thinking and feeling.  We believe we know their point of view, their story.  We forget that our beliefs are just our point of view based on our belief system and personal experiences and have nothing to do with what others think and feel. Stop expecting the people around you to know what is in your head.

Always Do Your Best

Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick.  Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret. 

Doing your best means enjoying the action without expecting a reward.  Enjoy the path traveled and the destination will take care of itself. Live in the moment, be fully alive right now. If you do your best always, transformation will happen as a natural outcome.

Why Self-Managed Teams Are the Future of Business

ould you build a business around teams of people who have no manager and who report to no one up a “food chain”? If you want your business to thrive going forward, you just might want to. Self-Managed Teams Are Already A Proven Success

A recent Harvard Business Journal article was titled, “Are We Ready for Self-Management?” as if this is a new, experimental thing. In fact, self-managed teams are time-tested, proven and here to stay, and a tidal wave of companies are moving in that direction, because the data on why you should do it is irrefutable.

It’s Not The Team, It’s Ownership

The magic isn’t in the concept, but in ownership– stemming from the power to make decisions. When people are encouraged to bring the whole, creative, messy person to work, and make important decisions, they take ownership in ways they never would before. And ownership is the most powerful motivator in business.

Responsibility, Not Tasks

The archaic Industrial Age system employed by most companies today would have you believe that a single manager is better at making decisions than the ten people who work under them. But in the emerging work world of the Participation Age, a company believes that the ten people most affected by the decision will be better at making it.

The result of both mindsets are revealing. The Industrial Age manager takes the responsibility to make the decisions, and then doles out tasks for the team to complete. But the Participation Age company delegates responsibility to the team, for them to make those decisions. When you assign tasks, people feel used, but when you delegate decision-making responsibility, people take ownership.

Of course this only works if you believe that one manager is not smarter than ten people who are closer to the problem. As Janice Klein of MIT found, a few companies attempted a form of this in the 1980s, but didn’t dismantle the management structure that would have reduced their command and control. It’s not a management tactic as they discovered, but a culture shift. If you’re not totally convinced, don’t attempt self-managed teams. You’ll just get hives and make a mess of the whole thing.

More of Everything

Many companies have benefited for decades from giving people back their brains. These companies grow faster, are more productive and more profitable, have lower turnover, and have increased longevity. As more and more business leaders see the numbers, they will demand that their companies move in this direction.

It’s Simple, Just Not Easy

Are you motivated to engage self-managed teams? It won’t happen overnight. A century of “bosses” have taught people they are not quite as smart and motivated as managers. You have to reverse that notion, and it will take time for people to trust you really are doing it.

Here’s how:

1) Form a team around an objective (i.e. 4-12 people)

2) have them FIRST clearly define the desired result,

3) then the process(es) needed to get that result.

4) Then THEY set metrics for steps in the process and

5) for pay based on the result desired (quality, quantity, speed, etc.,)

6) finally THEY decide what happens if the metrics aren’t met and how to move team members along if they are not contributing appropriately.

7) Leadership approves.

8) Run it.

Safeguarding Your Future

In the Participation Age, people don’t want a JOB, they want work that allows them to be fully human, make decisions and own their stuff. Giving people their brains back is becoming a necessity for keeping them. Self-managed teams is one great way to do that.

Far Exceeds

“God’s plan for your life, far exceeds the circumstances of your day.” As the end of the year is here, it is customary to review our performance with our manager / employer. The first step often is a “self-appraisal” that we prepare and present to our boss for consideration. This process typically entails a review of our goals and objectives for the year, an assessment of how well we did in terms of our job responsibilities, an evaluation of our work effort, and ends with our perspective concerning our strengths and “opportunities for improvement.” And many times we are asked to rate ourselves on the company’s rating scale – e.g., far exceeds, exceeds many, meets all, meets some, fails to meet.

What would it look like if you did a self-appraisal with your Creator / God?

We would start with our job responsibilities, which could be summed up in a few words … Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. And, Love your neighbor as yourself.

From there we could move on to the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, the “Whatever You Did to the Least of My Brothers” responsibilities. How would you and I rate ourselves? Outstanding? Very Good? Satisfactory? Needs Improvement? What specific examples do we have to support our rating?

We then would move on to the section on how we get the work done … things like problem-solving, organizing people and resources to accomplish tasks, handling pressure, following through, meeting deadlines, achieving balance between work quality and quantity, taking responsibility for actions, cooperating with others, having a positive attitude, listening to feedback well, striving to do the best job possible, and so forth. How would we evaluate our prayer life, loving one another in our relationships, extending forgiveness, honoring the Sabbath, serving the poor, multiplying our talents, being humble, giving thanks?

Finally, we come to the last page – the identification of strengths and those darn “opportunities for improvement.” And the bottom line – our overall rating / grade / score.

This process feels quite daunting and intimidating to me. Yet very valuable and meaningful if I truly want to serve God with all my heart, soul, mind, and body. And the amazing news is that we always get the maximum reward! No matter what our performance! Because God gave us His Son to redeem us. His Love is not conditional on your or my performance. God “far exceeds” all the time.