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October 2019
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goal attainment

A New Way for New Year’s Resolutions in 2013

Posted by: Nicky Garcea & Alex Linley


One in four New Year’s resolutions are broken in the first week, that is 7 days – at most – since they were made. A New Year’s resolution is a new ‘intent’. It’s been shown that people who commit explicitly to a goal - particularly if it’s written down – are more likely to achieve those goals.


But for whatever reason, that doesn’t appear to hold as well when it comes to New Year’s resolutions.


One of the issues that crops up with New Year’s resolutions is that, by their very nature, they tend to focus on things that we are not yet doing. Or things that we are doing and want to stop doing. This is likely to mean that we are either trying to change a habit, or we’re trying to build on a weakness, neither of which is easy.


And further, as strengths psychologists, we know that when people try to build on weaknesses, they rarely succeed. True progress and performance only comes through strengths.


Similarly, the issue with changing a habit is that habits exist for very good reasons. They have come about because they are shortcuts, the natural ways in which we have come to do things. They are effortless, they feel natural, they don’t require us to think, to plan, to change.


As a result, staying with our existing habits is pretty much the opposite of what we’re trying to do when we introduce a New Year’s resolution.


This New Year, there is an opportunity to make your resolutions differently. With over 55,000 now having completed Realise2, our online strengths identification and development tool, we know that no two people have an identical profile.


Our individual strengths, and their myriad possible combinations and dynamics when combined with each other, provide rich ground for us to explore in making our New Year’s resolutions for 2013.


As you do so, ask yourself these three simple questions to create strong resolutions that will make the most of your unique strengths:


1. Which of my realised strengths most readily relate to my New Year’s resolutions? (E.g., Curiosity will help with taking a professional course, Persistence will be more use in helping you to quit smoking, and Adventure will be powerful in inspiring you to strike out with a new career direction).


2. Which of my unrealised strengths can I use more to help me achieve my New Year’s resolutions? (The opportunity you have here is to create new habits by using strengths you haven’t used so much before).


3. What are the strengths dynamics that might help or hinder me in what I want to achieve? (What are the links between strengths that will turbo-charge these strengths in combination? Are there dynamics that might get in the way of you delivering your best performance? This is where a deeper dive into the unique potential of your Realise2 profile comes into its own).


Work on using your strengths more to achieve your goals (in this case, your 2013 New Year’s resolutions). You’ll find that you are happier, more confident, more resilient, less stressed and more likely to be effective in getting what you want.


As remarkable as it is, these are all benefits that follow from using your strengths more, as documented across a series of studies from ourselves and others.


So, to make 2013 your year, the best advice is to work on achieving your New Year’s resolutions through harnessing the performance power of your strengths.


And, for the technophiles amongst you, a bonus: Consider if you can use one of the best apps for the most common things we try to do around this time every year…


Happy New Year!


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GRIT and Goal Attainment

Posted by: Gurpal Minhas


The result for Chelsea against Barcelona last Wednesday night (27 April 2012) hit headlines across the world. There were plaudits for the Chelsea manager on a sterling performance by his side. How did the team with 10 men reach the biggest final of their careers against a team repeatedly called “the best club side in the world”?  Some say Barcelona had a bad day at the office. Chelsea midfielder, Frank Lampard, described how his team “dug-deep and never gave up.” This form of bounceback is often seen on the sports pitch, but do HR professionals and managers working in their respective fields recognise this ability in the workplace?


Luthans, Youssef and Avolio (2007) found that resilience (one of the four elements of psychological capital) is a notable predictor of high performance, better satisfaction and lower absenteeism in today’s working world. Likewise, Seligman (2011) defined the theory of GRIT which relates to the combination of “very high persistence and high passion for an objective.” In Chelsea’s case, it was the consistent defending alongside the passion for wanting to reach the final.


So how do we develop GRIT?  Typically, these individuals aren’t discouraged by setbacks, are hard workers, finish what they start and are very diligent in their output. Are there strengths that one has to have to achieve their target regardless of situation? Could individuals with the strength of Drive (people who are self-motivated to achieve what they want from life) and Growth (people who are always look for ways to grow and develop) have an advantage to remain determined?  What strengths do you have that could help develop that persistence to achieve an objective? These are questions we are asking in a current Realise2 validation study – so watch out on The Capp Blog for our results in the future!


To achieve a successful outcome, there often is a particular hunger for wanting to achieve a particular goal. This hunger can be represented by having a meaning- an explicit desire to want to achieve this outcome. When twinned with GRIT, the individual forms a real positive mindset. To think about the impact that meaning can have on you, can you think of the last outcome that you’ve achieved using determination that had little or no meaning to you?


So, as you review your personal GRIT level, how many of your colleagues show these characteristics?


Here are some handy tips to watch and assist in your quest to develop a workforce with more GRIT:

  • What experiences have you/they had when they’ve survived daunting projects? Can you begin to build a bank of positive experiences that you can refer back to showcasing your potential?
  • Are individuals scarred from their last experiences? Do you have any processes in place to discuss what occurred and what strengths an individual possesses to help them bounce back from this? By developing an individual’s self-awareness, can you help them recognise their abilities?
  • Can you create/develop a greater sense of meaning around a particular project?
  • Can you highlight where projects may struggle, acknowledge that you’ll need to demonstrate some of the typical GRIT behaviours?
  • How can you use your unrealised strengths to maximise the use of particular strengths to achieve those targets? Are you aware of your learned behaviours that you’ll need to moderate? What particular things drain you?

One thing we know for sure is that people are more resilient, and experience less stress, when they are using their strengths. As such, strengths use is very likely an enabler of psychological capital, and so will help us achieving our goals and building our GRIT.



Luthans, F., Youssef, C. M., & Avolio, B. J. (2007) Psychological capital: Developing the human competitive edge. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

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