Realise2: Next Generation Strengths Assessment

The first in a profile of three Strengths-based psychometric profiling/ assessment approaches which will conclude with a for-and-against discussion of Strengths within Positive Psychology. Next issue: VIA


At Capp, we have defined strengths as something you do well (Performance); something you feel good doing (Energy); and something you do a lot (Use) (Linley, Willars, and Biswas-Diener, 2010). It is only when these three are used together can we truly be confident to call it a strength.

The research shows us that those who use their strengths:

  • are happier
  • are more confident
  • have higher self-esteem
  • have more energy and vitality
  • experience less stress
  • are more resilient
  • achieve their goals better

(Garcea, Linley and Harrington 2009)

We also know that those using strengths in organisations benefit from:

  • increased productivity and goal attainment
  • effective talent management
  • improved relationships and communication
  • increased engagement and well-being
  • improved delegation
  • increased creativity
  • enhanced role clarity

(Richardson and West, 2009)
(Losada & Heaphy, 2004)


As the most current strengths research suggests, an individual’s greatest area of growth and potential converge on their strengths – particularly in the domain of their Unrealised Strengths. This fact alone has shifted the scales on people development to place a greater emphasis on strengths per se. For us, this does not necessitate a simple swing of the pendulum from weaknesses towards strengths. It signifies, however, that people development should be viewed differently.


The innovative strengths assessment tool, Realise2, was launched in 2009 by Capp. To date, it has been used by more than 50,000 people in over 100 countries. There are 60 strengths featured in Realise2 and they are all measured against the three criteria mentioned above – performance, energy and use.

Realise2’s uniqueness derives from its organisation of data into four distinct categories: Realised Strengths, Unrealised Strengths, Learned Behaviours, and Weaknesses.  Realise2 is a dynamic assessment tool and unlike more conventional personality assessment tools, where personality is expected to be constant over a period of time, strengths are different. The strengths we use are directly influenced by the situations we are in. How often we do something can determine how we feel about it. How we focus on developing something, and whether it comes naturally or not, will have an impact on how we perform. All of these dynamic elements are captured by the Realise2 4M Model.


Realised Strengths…

…Are those strengths that you recognise and employ habitually – but there can still be surprises insofar as there may be many things we exhibit as strengths, but which we don’t automatically recognise and accept as such (Kaplan, 1999).

4M Model: Marshal

Marshal your realised strengths and align them specifically to your goals and objectives. You are more likely to achieve your goals and objectives by using your strengths (Linley et al, 2010). When you are using your strengths, you feel a sense of energy, engagement, and intrinsic motivation, and you deliver better performance as a result. There is consistent and persuasive evidence for this. Watch out for realised strengths that have been pursued excessively and are currently being overplayed, as this tendency could result in these identified strengths becoming Learned Behaviours if not correctly marshalled.

Example: To achieve my objective of implementing a new global strategy of maximising Practitioner Realise2 sales, I need to dial up my strengths in Mission and Drive. I also need to be mindful of not overplaying my strength in Counterpoint so I can deliver the best results for our clients.


Unrealised Strengths…

…Are those strengths that may be lying dormant in us; they may be waiting for an apposite moment to be called into service when faced with the right kind of situation (Lyons & Linley, 2008). This dynamic model facilitates a valuable appreciation of the various areas of energy and performance yet to be exploited.

4M Model: Maximise

Pinpoint opportunities to Maximise your Unrealised Strengths and use them more in achieving what you want. Your Unrealised Strengths are a goldmine of untapped potential.

Example: How can I maximise my Unrealised Strength in Order to achieve my goal? I could learn from a role model or practise using it in a distinctly different manner to when I would traditionally lead with, say, my Realised Strength of Action.


Learned Behaviours…

…Provide us with a timely alert to the possibility of future burnout should we continue to over-exploit specific strengths at the expense of equilibrium. Alternatively, if we rely on those things that we have learned to do well, but perhaps would happily scrub off the to-do list!

4M Model: Moderate

Ensure that you Moderate your Learned Behaviours, using them as appropriately as possible but not too much – if you do, you might risk feeling de-energised, drained, and disengaged. Learned Behaviours are there to be called on when needed – but not over-used. As mentioned above, be mindful of those Learned Behaviours that have previously been deemed Realised Strengths but perhaps has been over-used. How can you experience a sense of energy and purpose in this context?

Example: I have a Learned Behaviour in Strategic Awareness which is partly due to my Realised Strength in Action. I need to identify ways to motivate the strategic tendencies within me by aligning myself with the strength of Mission. Alternatively asking someone else to help me with certain projects or rely on less will help to moderate this.



…Are still a significant element of the whole profile, adding to the overall development focus of the individual. It is fundamental that organisations understand and engage overtly with weaknesses. They have an obligation to discuss them honestly rather than dressing them up as the ubiquitous “areas for development” scenario.

4M Model: Minimise

Learn how to Minimise your weaknesses so they do not exert a negative impact on your performance. You might do this by finding ways to use your strengths to compensate – working with other people, working in partnership or in teams, or even learning how to develop the weakness so that it is “good enough”.

Example: How can I minimise my weakness in Planful to be able to work more meticulously through the stages of my projects? Perhaps I could encourage my strengths in Order and Judgement to work together in order to address any negative impact?


Realise2 Team

Our Realise2 Team Profile includes the entire team’s data compiled concisely into a single report. This allows you to quickly identify the dominant patterns of Strengths, Weaknesses, and Learned Behaviours that exist across the team. In addition to giving you the Team Profile in overview, the Realise2 Team Profile simultaneously provides you with a deep-dive analysis of the data across all 60 attributes of the team, together with the Strengths Families. There are five Strengths Families overall, relating to strengths of Being, Communicating, Motivating, Relating and Thinking.

The Team Profile is widely used by Capp and our Accredited Realise2 Team Practitioners to deliver team building, engagement, motivation, and strategies for implementing current goals and challenges. The Realise2 4M model is used when one is in the process of evaluating the data with the team in order to identify potential for performance and untapped energy, alongside any risks and burnout areas that may need to be addressed.


Realise2 is used internationally in many organisations, including Aviva, Ernst and Young, Google, HSBC, Thomson Reuters and Unilever. These clients value its innovation and development with regard to all areas of the employee life cycle: Performance Management, Development, Re-organisation and Coaching. Alongside Realise2, Capp exploits strengths for the purposes of Recruitment and Selection; in this context, strengths-based interviews and the Situational Strengths Test have been developed.

At Capp we consider Realise2 to be instrumental in the process of creating positive organisations that empower employees to work to their respective strengths. Adoption of strengths-based approaches throughout an organisation encourages management practices that deliver positive outcomes for both organisations and the individuals within them – and so we should be pursuing strengths-based approaches all the more vigorously.

Research conducted by Govindji and Linley (2007) revealed that participants who used their strengths more effectively experienced higher levels of authenticity. It is for this reason that we believe that identification of strengths can enhance the development of authentic leadership.

In addition to the consultancy services we offer with the application of Realise2, we run Realise2 Accreditation Programmes, and now boast over 500 Practitioners. These Practitioners are habitually involved in a wide array of positive psychology and strengths interventions, including executive and leadership coaching, counselling, and team development. They include public delegates where we train individual coaches to apply the Realise2 4M Model with the people with whom they work through their practices. We also offer this training to in-house groups of employees (for example, Boehringer Ingelheim, Citigroup and Unilever) who champion Realise2 in their respective organisations, and who implement it for the purpose of coaching and performance conversations. We have also been working closely with Warwick Careers Services, who have been early adopters of the tool in order to assist their career guidance and to host internal workshops at the University of Warwick.

With my own experience, and having lead many of these programmes to date, it never ceases to amaze me how varied the contexts can be for successful exploitation of Realise2. These highly contrasting settings nevertheless provide opportunity for an array of enduring benefits to individuals and teams alike. From Head Teachers in Thailand, Judges in America, to Australian marriage guidance counsellors, I know that these Practitioners are not only effecting a tangible difference to people’s lives, but they are fundamentally passionate about what they do. I encounter a good deal of positive feedback relaying how satisfied and motivated coaches feel as they combine their existing assessment tools with Realise2.

Today, by way of illustration, I engaged with someone from Asia who is about to take Realise2 to one of China’s senior leaders in education, whilst yesterday with a Practitioner who is guiding someone through a career transition and achieving the most positive outcome.

As a Capp Consultant I thoroughly enjoy a role that brings much variety, outcomes, challenges, as well as occasional life-changing moments that I am privileged to witness. Thus far, I have used Realise2 amongst underprivileged teenagers who are struggling to find their path, and a strengths session with 9 year olds in order to instill confidence. In contrast, I have worked closely and productively with Google, with whom I have conducted Accreditation Programmes for their HR Business Partners who now use Realise2 Team globally to build relationships and keep the creativity and innovation flowing. I have also worked closely with the public sector, running team-building workshops where we saw perceptible transformations in self-awareness and courage amongst the participants. In all of these scenarios, teams progress closer to establishing trust and resilience. I derive much pleasure from seeing a great tool bring about practical and measurable benefits to individuals, teams and organisations.

The power of a Realise2 debrief

As a strengths-based organisation ourselves, I find that as long as my hand goes up high enough, and my eagerness and performance match, I can create my own professional path and role. That said, there is nothing to engage and energise me more than a successful Realise2 debrief conversation.

I recall a particularly powerful Realise2 debrief with someone who led a team of 600 people in a very senior position. My initial thought was ‘How should I advise them? Surely they haven’t got to where they are without knowing about some of this?’ How wrong I was not to have recognised that self-awareness is frequently an overlooked quality when one occupies a senior position with many demands on their time.

Equally, the guidance one can provide to individuals who have relatively recently discovered that they are merely coping – as opposed to thriving – in the work environment, relying predominantly on Learned Behaviours throughout their experience, is truly captivating. Ask yourself: have you ever stopped to reflect about those things you do well, but on the other hand, those things you do well with energy?


From the various evaluations we have carried out on our strengths applications, we know that our work with these clients has resulted in:

Aviva – Strengths-based recruitment (using strengths-based interviews)

  • Cost per hire reduced from £950 to £577 – a 39% cost reduction
  • Attrition over 12 months reduced by 50%
  • Customer satisfaction up by 14.5%
  • Quality up by 14.5%
  • Call average answer delay down by 54%
  • Sickness absence reduced by 4.1%
  • Faster induction
  • Improved candidate experience and perception of both employer and consumer brand

(Stefanyszyn, K. 2007).

Pilot tests suggest that attrition has been reduced by 45% in India at Aviva using strengths-based interviews..  See the Aviva report here:

We have also run Outplacement Workshops with Aviva, enabling positive change in difficult circumstances.  Our data showed that 62% of delegates said that the workshop helped them to think more positively about their future and 23% of delegates said it had changed their perception positively due to individual recognition. This is another important aspect of these workshops, i.e. continuing the reputation and brand of the company, and this was evident by 54% of delegates saying the workshop had positively changed their perception of Aviva.

HSBC – Team intervention

  •  Increased understanding of individual strengths and weaknesses
  •  Increased clarity of strengths use
  •  Increased confidence in goal attainment
  •  Increased positive developmental changes as a result of the Realise2 debrief

Imago – Performance Management

  • Improved business performance
  • Better performance management conversations between managers and employees
  • Increased clarity of strengths language and strengths use
  • Improved engagement and performance against individual objectives
  • Clearer progression and promotion criteria for staff to progress with Imago

Public Sector Client – Re-organisation

  • Greater engagement and acceptance of key stakeholders with the process
  • A consistent selection and assessment process that meets best practice requirements
  • Appointment of top performing individuals into key roles that are mapped against the future business requirements
  • Speed, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of transformation and re-organisation delivery, using a combination of external consultancy resource through Capp and internal delivery


Capp has also worked on Award-winning projects delivered for our clients at Aviva, Birmingham City Council, and Ernst & Young. Research and case study publications in the International Coaching Psychology Review, Strategic HR Review, Human Capital Review, The Recruiter, and HR Director, amongst many others, are also evidence of Realise2 and strengths in practice.




Garcea, N., Harrington, S. & Linley, P.A. (2009). Building positive organisations. In P. A. Linley, S. Harrington & N. Garcea (Eds.), Handbook of Positive Psychology and Work (pp. 323-334). New York: Oxford University Press.

Govindji, R. & Linley, P. A. (2007). Strengths use, self-concordance and well-being: Implications for strengths coaching and coaching psychologists. International Coaching Psychology Review, 2, 143-153.

Kaplan, R. E. (1999). Internalising strengths: An overlooked way of overcoming weaknesses in managers. Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership.

Alex Linley, A. P., Nielsen, K. M., Wood, A. M., Gillett, R., & Biswas-Diener, R. (2010). Using signature strengths in pursuit of goals: Effects on goal progress, need satisfaction, well-being, and implications for coaching psychologists. International Coaching Psychology Review, 5, 8-17.

Linley A., Willars, J. & Biswas-Diener R. (2010). The Strengths Book: Be Confident, Be Successful, and Enjoy Better Relationships by Realising the Best of You. London: CAPP Press.

Losada, M. and Heaphy, E. (2004). The role of positivity and connectivity in the performance of business teams: A nonlinear dynamics model. American Behavioural Scientist, 47, 740-765.

Lyons, L. S., & Linley, P. A. (2008). Situational strengths: A strategic approach linking personal capability to corporate success. Organisations and People, 15, 4-11.

Richardson, J ; West, Michael (2010). In Handbook of Employee Engagement: Perspectives, Issues, Research and Practice. Simon Albrecht Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 323-340.

Stefanyszyn, K. (2007). Norwich Union changes focus from competencies to strengths. Strategic HR Review, 7, 10-11.


Capp is a leading people management consultancy specialising in strengths-based approaches. We work in the areas of strengths-based recruitment and graduate recruitment, female leadership development and performance management. Our leading product is Realise2, the leading edge online strengths assessment tool, which has been taken by more than 50,000 people in over 100 countries.

Trudy bio
Trudy is Programmes Consultant at Capp, where she is responsible for the successful management and implementation of all of Capp’s Programmes.  Her passion for, and expertise in, Realise2 enables her adeptly to facilitate team development interventions for clients globally, such as Thomson Reuters and Google. She provides key insights that are designed to make a real difference to performance and well-being of teams. She also leads and facilitates the flagship Realise2 Accreditation, Realise2 Team Accreditation, and Female Leaders Programmes. In all of these contexts she works globally to strengthen coaches, teams and leaders.


Trudy Bailey,
Programmes Consultant

Trudy is Programmes Consultant at Capp, where she is responsible for the successful management and implementation of all Capp’s Programmes.

She is passionate about people and strengths and is known for her catch phase when asked about her work “I have the best job, I train people to love their work and life”.


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