Playing to Strengths, Part 7: Creative Solutions

13 Apr
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This is the final segment of our series on playing to strengths!  I hope you’re up and running with a quality team by this point, but sometimes you just can’t find that last piece you need to complete the puzzle.

Since I work in the non-profit church world, I experience this often.  We need a skilled person, but there isn’t enough money to hire them.

So what does one do?  Pack up your bags and say you gave it the ‘ole college try?

Or do you take a stab at these creative solutions?

Part-Time Pay

Perhaps you can’t afford to pay someone full time, but what about part-time?

If you take this route, you may find other hidden savings in terms of benefits, etc.  An organization with integrity needs to be up front about this with potential hires, but if it really comes to part time or no time, that choice may be the best option for all.

If you do go the route of part-time, it’s even more critical to hone the job description and expectations of this individual.  If you’re hiring for a specific expertise and you have less hours, you must to have a laser focus on getting that expertise applied.

What does that look like?

No, your highly specialized accountant will not make a run to the post office or office supply store.  No, your part time communications director will not be organizing the bake sale to raise money for missions.  I’ll bet you can think of other good examples!

They can certainly do this as volunteers (as well as many other things).  But if you’re paying for expertise, be sure to get your money’s worth.

Another option famously touted by Michael Hyatt is the virtual assistant.  While this may not be a good option for an established church (which absolutely must be a physical presence in the community), it might be a good option for many non-profit organizations with high travel demands or high project loads and low overhead (e.g., no office space).

But what if money is so scarce that not even part-time is a possibility?

Barter and Trade!

This is not something modern Americans do well.  But in many parts of the world, bartering is the way business gets done!  In essence, we trade something we have for something we need.

For example, let’s say I enjoy cutting grass.  But I’m terrible at working on cars… and I’m broke.  My neighbor is a top-notch mechanic.  What if I agreed to mow my neighbor’s lawn for a month in return for them fixing my car?

Or more on point, let’s say I’m still looking for that budget person, because I’m terrible with numbers.  However,  I can tell stories and write… in fact, I like to do so!  What if they agreed to do my budget for a year in return for me writing their company newsletter articles for a year?

The only limits are our creativity.  Everybody wins… and no money passes hands!

Finally, there’s the counter-intuitive option.

Go Bigger!

In my experience, when people can’t find that right team member, the tendency of the team is to shrink back.  Since we’re short of people, perhaps we should scale down and settle for less.

But try this on for size (pun intended!): What if you cast a vision that is so large it impacts more people?  And what if that vision is something that impacts many more lives?  If more people see a need and see a compelling vision attached to it, you just increased your chances that someone out there with the skills you’re looking for will want to be part of the vision!

I think we tend to go too small in the non-profit world.  We serve big causes and a big God.  We should dream big, too!


As we wrap up this series on playing to strengths, I’m curious:

  • What questions are still out there?
  • What else would you add?
  • What has worked for you and your organization?
  • What advice would you give to others attempting to perform at their peak?

Feel free to sound off in the comments below!

In case you want to review the series, here are links to the other six parts:

  1. Why You Should Start Playing to Strengths (Introduction)
  2. What’s Stopping You from Playing to Strengths?
  3. So You’ve Decided to Play to Strengths… Now What?
  4. Playing to Strengths, Part 3: Define Your Weaknesses
  5. Playing to Strengths, Part 4: Doing Your Homework
  6. Playing to Strengths, Part 5: Recruiting Your Weakness(es)
  7. Playing to Strengths, Part 6: Living Fully Into Strengths
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