Nancy Hoffman Explains How She Discovered How to Be Proactive in Using Her Strengths
Nancy Hoffman was exhausted, but she did not know why. And there was no medical explanation.
She had flourished over the years in her roles as a management consultant … a mom … during her husband’s career change when he left corporate America to become a pastor. So why did she feel so depleted now, several years into their ministry together?
Then one day in 2004, Nancy picked up a copy of Leading From Your Strengths in her local bookstore. She read it cover to cover and then completed the LFYS profile assessment.
“The profile changed everything,” said Nancy.
Discover How You Are Having To Adapt
As she read her profile report, Nancy wasn’t surprised to see her strengths as an Aggressive problem solver – one that’s decisive and direct. But as a pastor’s wife she had no authority to fix things quickly, so she found herself adapting in order to be agreeable and unassuming. Her high score as a Realist reflected the time she needed to process information quietly, yet she routinely adapted as an outgoing, friendly relationship-builder to support her husband. And while she proofed the weekly church bulletin “because no one on the staff was detail-oriented,” her profile showed she was neutral in managing details – and she was adapting to take up the slack.
“All of the sudden, my exhaustion made sense,” said Nancy. “I enjoyed serving and wanted to help my husband, but I had been using all my energy to adapt my strengths to the situation.”
That’s when she and her husband Scott sat down with the profile data and set up specific steps so that Nancy could contribute to their ministry to use her strengths rather than adapt. The church found a different bulletin proofreader. The board gave her authority and a budget to fix practical problems without their approval. “Now I could do simple things like keep the clocks working without having to attend a formal meeting,” said Nancy.
Discover How You Can Use the Profiles Proactively
The transformation was so life-changing that Nancy wanted others to thrive sooner rather than later. She began leading various groups through the Leading From Your Strengths material: the church leadership, CEOs at a retreat center, the board of directors at a Christian college, and even with a preschool staff. “The material is applicable to anyone,” says Nancy. She became certified by Ministry Insights in Level 1 in 2012 and Level II in 2017.
Along the way she became familiar with two additional Ministry Insights products and processes: Position Insights (which helps leaders define a team position and the strengths needed to fill it successfully) and Marriage Insights (profile data that outlines spouses’ individual and relational strengths, specifically relating to the marriage relationship).
Position Insights was particularly useful during her tenure on staff at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Nancy was part of a team that needed to choose from hundreds of candidates, among them six current BGEA staff members, to fill two new positions. Who would be the best fit? How could they avoid staff conflict in the hiring aftermath? Nancy suggested that the hiring team complete the Position Insights process to get clarity about what was needed in the two roles.
“We discovered we had layered on extra requirements to a task-oriented job,” said Nancy. “If we’d pursued that course, the successful candidates would have spent a lot of energy to adapt to the position’s actual responsibilities.” The team redefined the positions and then asked the six internal candidates to complete the strengths profile. The end result allowed the team to hire two task-oriented candidates and then provide personal coaching for the other four, helping them to see how their strengths could be better used in different positions. Not long afterward, Nancy was able to direct one of those more relationally-oriented candidates to a media role where she is now flourishing.
Discover Different Ways to Use the Profiles
Scott and Nancy, now on staff at Trinity Church (Virginia Beach, VA) recently used Marriage Insights at Trinity’s newest campus in Stuttgart, Germany, which serves a large number of deployed American military families, ex-patriots, and English-speaking Germans. Couples completed the Marriage Insights profile on the first evening of the retreat and brought their copies the next morning for a debriefing. Nancy assigned simple exercises for couples to complete together during that session. Participants had private time to discuss their strengths with their spouses and what they value in each other.
The campus pastor was initially hesitant to include the profiles as part of the weekend but has become an enthusiastic fan since attending the retreat and working through the data with his wife. “One of this pastor’s strengths is validating information,” Nancy said with a smile. “Now that he has confirmed for himself the power of the profiles, he fully embraces the LFYS process.”
Nancy is quick to share the reasons she uses the Ministry Insights suite of products in an array of situations: they are versatile. They produce results in nearly any situation. Quite simply, they work.
“The profile changed my life,” said Nancy. “When you love something, you keep looking for opportunities to share it and use it with others.”