what we do

Start with what is right with you…


About 40 years ago, a psychologist with the name of Donald Clifton started to study people’s behavior, actions and thinking with one key principle as his foundation:  “What would happen if people actually put most of their focus, energy and attention on what is right about themselves, instead of trying to fix what is wrong with themselves…?”


The Strengths Movement was born.  Donald Clifton devoted the rest of his life to this study of human psychology and behavior.  Obviously, his research led him through other critical questions like “Can you actually know – even assess – what it is that is right about you?”  “Is natural talent innate, developed, or both?” And, probably the most important part of his research legacy: “Can most of human natural talent be defined and described?”


Today, nearly two decades after Donald Clifton’s death, the Strengths Movement is one of the fastest growing fields within human behavior and performance studies on earth.  


Your uniqueness is not a cliché!


We all want to be seen and appreciated as being unique.  Some of us do our utmost to express this uniqueness openly and positively. Other might be more reserved but cherish their uniqueness within their privacy.


No matter what your personality might be, being unique is absolutely human.  In fact, in is natural - as nature intended - because nature never clones anything. Be it in a leaf on a tree, a stone in the field, a seashell on the beach, a snowflake or any animal or bird, in some specific way everything that is part of nature is also unique - even if it might look exactly the same on first observation.


Research has shown that the best performers, the most creative people, and those who are most happy and fulfilled in their work and personal life, are those who are most confident in your own skin. The never try to fake or be who they are not…. But in contrast they always do try to better who they uniquely are meant to be. Keep growing. Keep challenging yourself. Keep on embracing your own uniqueness. And in doing so, they earn the respect of others, and also realize how natural it becomes to respect those around them for who they are.


Strong individuals - strong teams - strong companies: all built on talent


A basic definition of talent is the following: talent is an inherent drive, energy or longing that fuels and energizes your body, mind or soul to achieve, excel, accomplish or master any specific skill or ability within an area of passion or interest that you identify with.


To express it very simply – talent is energy and need.  What you consistently need, and what energizes you, originates in your unique mix of talent.


Understanding the power of working, living and thinking from your natural strengths, is a lot more that simple theory – especially in the workplace. The real test for an individual, company or an organization of any kind, functioning out of their strengths, will be found within their corporate language.


Applying the strengths-based approach to teams and organizations is where its true power lies.  There is no such thing as a well-rounded individual – someone who has a “perfect rounded” combination of natural talent. Actually, to show this from a Strengths-based perspective, just consider the fact that the statistical chances of someone sharing exactly the same Top 5 out of the 34 talent themes that you have, is a staggering 1 in 33.3 million!!!  This means that there are maybe 200 people on earth who has exactly the same top 5 StrengthsFinder™   talent themes in sequence just like you. 


Now, think teams.  Teams, unlike individuals, could be well rounded exactly because we as individuals are not.  Teams made up of people with different patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving, and understanding and respecting those patterns are strong teams!  Someone else will cover for your natural blind spot. And you make up for theirs.  

The unfortunate reality is that we will naturally first project through our own strengths, and then label and judge others as being too slow, to fast, too soft, too in their heads, too relational, talking too much, talking too little, being too precise, being too reactive….and so the list of projection goes on. Thus, understanding the specific talent-based needs, contributions and language of others, is what makes a team strong, just like a top performing sports team is made up of members who understand the specific moves and abilities of their teammates.


When you think "strengths", you speak "strengths". You will have certain ways that would just seem normal within your interaction and conversation with others. The first, and probably foremost, of these, will be that you will naturally seek to identify and celebrate someone’s uniqueness and natural talents.  Celebrating others is something that comes natural to the "strengths-based-mind". As soon as you see someone living out their strengths, you will want to applaud them. You become such an advocate for the idea that one size does NOT fit all, that you just love it to see and experience a perfect fit!


A "strengths-based-attitude" will also naturally encourage others to do better, and to do more of what they find energizing. Natural talent is a beautiful thing to see in action!


The science behind Strengths


As far as assessments goes, the Clifton StrengthsFinder™ online assessment is backed by more than 40 years of scientific research and studies done by the Gallup Organization. In researching patterns of natural talent, an initial pool of more than 5,000 items was constructed.  Given the breadth of talent assessed, the pool of items was considered very large and diverse. A smaller pool was derived subsequent to quantitative review of item functioning and a content review of the representativeness of themes and items within themes.  In a follow-up study of 601,049 respondents, a 35-theme version of the Clifton StrengthsFinder was launched. After several months of data were collected, researchers revisited the instrument and,
based on analyses of theme uniqueness and redundancy, decided on the 180 item pairs (360 items, 256 of which are scored) and the 34-theme version that currently is available. Since 1999, some theme names have changed, but the theme descriptions and 180 item pairs have not changed. 


Today, the CliftonStrengths™ is available in more than 20 languages and modifiable for individuals with disabilities. It is appropriate for administration to adolescents and adults with a reading level of 10th grade or higher. Given that CliftonStrengths feedback is provided to foster intrapersonal development, comparisons across profiles of individuals is also discouraged – thus, it is not about comparing your talents in sequence value to those of others….it is about understanding your own and understanding the talents of others around you. Furthermore, the CliftonStrengths assessment is not sensitive to change; thus, it should not be used a pre-post measure of growth.  Your talents are recurring patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving, and in broad essence, it will not change much over time.  The way you use it, obviously, will change.  In other words, redoing this assessment over time or place will not alter the outcome significantly.  The exact sequence may change but within the clustering of your Top 10, mid-section and Bottom 5, the results will stay very consistent.


Building Strengths-based companies


At Strength Synergy International we specialize in guiding and supporting companies to nurture their culture into becoming “Strengths-based”.  We are experienced in various industries and multiple cultures, spanning the globe.


We know that we cannot treat two clients the same.  Every company or team, just like every individual, calls for a unique approach.  And you provide uniqueness only from uniqueness!  Thus, we do not only practice the Strengths-based approach as a theory, but we take all the principles to our clients, in effect asking the client “let’s focus at what is actually right with you and build more on it.”


Our approach is clear: identify exactly who your company is (or aspire to become), focus on making it better – start with leadership, filtering through the whole structure – every individual, every team.


Our results are proven:  ask us for references on individual, corporate or managerial & leadership level.  We make an immediate impact.


Dries Lombaard

Founder and Owner:  Strength Synergy International.

+27 82 652 7350
+27 79 471 5036
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