Brandon Schaefer enjoyed success during his working years in the corporate world, yet he struggled to understand how to apply biblical principles to his professional priorities.
“As leaders and individuals, we know our weaknesses,” he says. “But we sabotage ourselves – either we are way too hard on ourselves or not hard enough.” Rather than give in to frustration, Brandon dug into the Word. He learned that Jesus is a great businessman and leader – one who built a 2,000-year-old business that is staffed by employees and partners who volunteer their time and finance the enterprise.
Brandon examined five kinds of capital resources that Jesus used, along with their order of priority: spiritual capital, relational capital, physical capital, intellectual capital, and financial capital (see Matthew 25 and Luke 16.)
“I find that many people, including Christ-followers, are frustrated for one simple reason,” says Brandon. “Each of us has capital resources in these five areas. But we get them out of order.”
Since then, Brandon has worked to make the best use of his own five capitals and has coached hundreds of other leaders to do the same. Today, he leverages his experience through Five Capitals, a coaching and consulting firm that helps leaders maximize their potential.
“Understanding how you manage those five priorities and putting them in order sets you up for success,” says Brandon.
Leaders Want Facts
Years of coaching with hundreds of leaders and teams showed Brandon that leaders need concrete information over subjective insights to make lasting changes in their lives. They ask questions like, “What is the standard for priorities ….how can I know which of my priorities are off-kilter and by how much … and how can I get back on track?”
Those key questions from leaders, Brandon learned, are best answered with objective data.
How could he provide that much-needed information for clients?
The answer came at a leadership conference. “I watched Rodney Cox use the Leading From Your Strengths process to help participants know how to identify and use their strengths,” says Brandon. “I saw light bulbs go on all over the room as these leaders looked at their reports.” When Brandon took the stage immediately after Rodney, the contrast was stark. Brandon spoke about setting priorities yet could not give individuals their own personalized data or individualized roadmap for change.
That encounter drove Brandon and his team to develop The Prioritized Life Assessment so that coaching clients and leaders can have an honest snapshot of their priorities and a personalized plan to set those priorities in biblical order. The assessment is now a standard tool used by Five Capitals and its coaches.
Leaders Want to Use the Facts
The assessment has been a powerful way to help leaders to identify unhealthy patterns. Brandon used the assessment with Matt, a business leader whose cyclic service-oriented business meant increased stress during tourist season. Together they reviewed the data and discovered that Matt’s relational and physical capital were particularly low in the spring and summer. Long hours, overeating, and no exercise only increased Matt’s stress, compounding other issues. He became abrupt with his employees and his family. Productivity at work and tension at home increased.
Brandon and Matt addressed ways to reverse that trend with healthier behaviors. Matt set about to purposefully take better care of himself. When he needed to speak with employees, he took a breath and took a bit more time. He shared the struggle with his wife, who became more willing to pick up the parenting load at home during Matt’s busy season when he kept family obligations like driving the children to soccer practice and attending their Saturday games. “I had a clear plan,” said Matt. “Putting my priorities in line made the stressful season a lot more bearable.”
In some instances, the assessment data reveals an easy solution. Jennifer and Jarod discovered they both ranked low in spiritual capital – a surprise for a couple of deep faith. Yet their reports showed that although they went to church each week, neither wanted to do so. Jennifer and Jarod pushed through the layers of guilt to uncover their real hesitation on Sunday mornings: they were both simply exhausted from Saturday’s busyness. Meaningful discussions led them to adjust their weekend schedule so they were rested and prepared to make Sunday worship a priority.
Leaders Can Avoid Guesswork with the Facts
Since the assessment’s release, Brandon and his team of 38 certified coaches have used the assessment one-on-one with coaching clients like Matt and in small group settings of 4-6 participants who meet by video conference with a certified Five Capitals coach. Users complete the Prioritized Life Assessment every six months to celebrate their successes and highlight the next steps to take to order their priorities after Jesus’s model.
“Coaches look for obvious pain points in their clients – and then work to alleviate those pain points,” says Brandon. “The Prioritized Life Assessment takes a lot of the guesswork for us. It sets up the leader for success.”
Success that can be measured with the facts.