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Why Realising Potential?

Conversations on people matters - realising potential - Talent Optimization

Posted by: sabine-robinson

Bite-sized conversations - Realising Potential

At RPX2 Ltd, we are passionate about helping people and companies realise their potential. At the heart of Realising Potential are experienced Leadership Consultants Fiona Brookwell and Michael Jones who have been working together for many many years.

If you don’t know us, we use a wonderful people diagnostics tool called The Predictive Index. It enables clients to objectively put the right people in the right jobs, align their people with their business strategy, create winning teams and set their employees up for success.

Over the years, Fiona and Michael have been fortunate enough to work with some amazing clients. We have been able to collect countless stories on why people behave as they do. Our clients tell us that these stories really help them with understanding what makes their people tick and become even better managers.

How do you manage someone who needs quiet time for reflection in a busy office? Why are some people relaxed with rules and others follow them to the letter? Why might there be friction in your team? How do you objectively know whether your interviewee meets the job requirements? Why is some feedback not received as intended? How can you create a more self-aware organisation? The list goes on.

Fiona and Michael have been asked to share their valuable insights in a series of bite-sized conversations on people matters.

The inaugural episode starts at the beginning. Why Realising Potential? And how did it all start?

Why not listen to the episode now and let us know what you think? If you’d like to find out more about the services that we offer at Realising Potential, please get in touch.

Huge thanks to Neale James for his expertise, patience, brilliant editing skills and his help with making this happen!

Conversations on people matters - realising potential - Talent Optimization


If you’d prefer to read a transcript, here is a summary of the conversation:

Neale: I’m interested to learn about the company, its origins, and how you both worked to build it. You both have your stories on the why and how, although I’d like to start with you, Michael.

How did you meet Fiona initially, and then start working together?

Michael: We’ve been working together for a long time now, and I met Fiona back in the last century. The reason why we met is that I’d applied for a job that I was told after a number of interviews was essentially mine and then was also informed that the new head of HR would like to have a chat with me before a formal offer of employment was made.

So, at the time I was living in Sri Lanka, and I was flown back to the UK for this chat with this new head of HR. And it was a very cold Thursday evening. I’ll never forget. It was cold and it was wet. And I was already asking myself, do I really want to come back to this when I had a rather nice life in Sri Lanka?

I was sitting in reception and this very professional person came in and took me off and grilled me for a considerable length of time on my resume. So, it really wasn’t a chat at all. And at the very end of it, um, asked me to complete a very simple behavioral assessment [The Predictive Index], which I did. The job did eventually get offered to me.

And this particular individual, whose name happened to be Fiona Brookwell, gave me some PI feedback on the Predictive Index which was the assessment that was used and still remains the assessment that we use now. And I remember thinking, this is really powerful stuff. So I became trained in it and I used it extensively in the business that we both worked in. And I went rattling off around the world.

Then Fiona left the organisation to set up her own business and some years later, having kept in touch with all of this, Fiona, who was now successfully running her own business at the time suggested – as I came back from working in the Middle East without much idea about what I wanted to do next – that maybe for a time at least I could work with her in her business.

That was 16 years ago, and we’ve been working together ever since.

Neale: Fiona, tell me more about the business and the operation as it is today.

Fiona: So, the business is focused around setting people up for success. Realising Potential, so RPX2, Realising Potential to the power of two is our organisation.

There is a tool that we predominantly use within our business as we do also focus on executive coaching, senior management, team development, senior management, conflict resolution. It’s a diagnostic that I’ve used nearly all of my professional career from an HR perspective. And that’s The Predictive index.

So, it’s interesting Michael talking about his exposure to The Predictive index. That was when I was still working in corporate life, and I was looking to find out if this senior executive we were going to employ had the levels of initiative that we were looking for. Whether he had the levels of drive that we were looking for, was proactive enough in his communication, in his relationship management, could make sharp, smart decisions, etcetera. And Michael’s profile fitted those criteria.

So hence he got employed and that started our professional journey together. And then after a few years, and of course, a few glasses of wine, then we became friends as well as business partners. Never underestimate the impact of a glass of wine.

Neale: Why did you leave the corporate world though?

Fiona: So, to realise my own potential, I knew that at a certain stage in life, I would need to leave corporate life and I would need to work for myself.

I always knew, I knew from a very young age that I’d end up working for myself. I never quite knew what that looked like. But I knew that it would happen at some stage. You do your work in corporate life to build up your knowledge and your skills and your experience and your own talent, your competence as such.

So that when you do set up your own business, you’ve got something that you can sell to a client and, and hopefully to be able to make some money from it, to pay your mortgage. But, the core that sits behind it was understanding myself, understanding what motivated me and drove me.

I therefore created my environment, and I created a job and created a role and ultimately created a company that meant when I woke up each morning, I actually was excited about going to work. I was looking forward to what I was doing. I was looking forward to the people that I was going to interact with and the nature of the work that I was going to do.

And then as, as Michael mentioned his exposure to it was when I was still in corporate life. And then latterly,  when he was at a crossroads in his own corporate life, and I was running the Realising Potential business quite successfully, I quite simply had too much work going on for one person.

And I said to my colleague, whilst you’re deciding what you want to do longer term, I know you’ve got the initiative, the skills, the competence, and the behavioural drives to do the nature of the work that I do. I know you’re good at this stuff. If you want, please come and do some stuff with me, work with me, help me initially with some of this, because I’ve got too much on and see where it goes from there.

So, it was only ever going to be a temporary thing. Wasn’t it, Michael? I think maybe six months, nine months or something initially. And, here we are 16 years later.

And whether it’s team development, whether it’s a new team coming together or it’s a dysfunctional team, not for the first time a chief executive said, ‘Fiona, my senior team are dysfunctional. Can you help me?’

And actually, once we run the diagnostic and we get behind it, you find it’s not dysfunctional because you’ve got incompetent people. You’ve actually got highly competent people who are just not motivated and switched on in the right way. So, you do that piece of work and work with them to help set them up as a successful team.

Neale: And what are these conversations that you’re having here going to be about?

Michael: I think over the years that we’ve worked together, we’ve built up an enormous reservoir of stories. When we train what we do to other people, we use stories to illustrate some of the points that we’re making. And the feedback that we constantly keep getting is, that’s what makes it real for us, that’s what consolidates our learning.

So, we’d like to just maybe capture some of them. And I do think some of them are deeply personal to many of us, certainly for me. I think it will illustrate what we do just by the fact that over the years we’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing people to help some people to perhaps influence their career choices, sometimes their life choices, and I think for the sake of posterity, let’s capture a few of these stories.

Realising Potential with Fiona Brookwell and Michael Jones.  For more information about our services and organisation visit

Our bite-sized conversations are available either on Buzzsprout or Spotify.