Ancient philosophers and modern psychologists tend to agree on a three-part human mind, with separate domains for thinking, feeling, and acting, or taking action. Cognition, the thinking part, can be measured with assessment tests like the Wonderlic, SAT, or ACT. The affective part of the mind, the feeling part, measures preferences. This is assessed with StrengthsFinder, DiSC, or Myers-Briggs. The conative part, which is how people instinctively take action, has only one verified assessment, the Kolbe. The Kolbe A Index is what measures your conative makeup, your “Modus operandi”.
There are four parts to a Kolbe result. There’s Fact-Finder, Follow-Through, Quick Start, and Implementer. I’m going to talk about two of these today in working with this team.
I have a call weekly with a financial planning and wealth management practice. And I’m working with, not the financial advisor, not the wealth manager, but his primary team member, his assistant, his client service coordinator. Each team member has a very different Kolbe. That means given the freedom to be themselves, they take action much differently. On the Kolbe scale, the assistant is an eight and the advisor is a four on the follow-through. So, the assistant is going to be more systems-oriented and organized. She’s good at designing systems and creating structure. The fact that the advisor is a four out of ten doesn’t mean that it’s a weakness. It just means that he’s not going to be the type of person who will sit down and enjoy creating systems and processes. He’s more comfortable with not having everything structured and rigid. He won’t get bogged down in multi-step processes. These are both ends of the spectrum.
On a recent call with the assistant, we talked about managed account review forms. It’s a new verification that we used to discuss fees with our clients. The problem is, for this advisor, his strength is not in all the follow-up work. So, if he’s not doing these managed account review forms after every meeting, they can pile up. I asked his assistant what the challenge was, and she replied that it was the managed account review forms. She told me she would give the advisor a handful and give him a deadline. The problem is, that’s just not conatively how he strives. If you don’t understand the difference in your team members and how they take action, you will expect that people should take action like you. This leads to conflict because he’ll never do things exactly the way she does and vice versa. This team recognizes that there is a difference so fortunately, we can help them figure out a solution that works for everyone.
Let me go to a different mode that the Kolbe A Index measures and then I’m going to come back to this example and tie this all up.
Another measurement is called Quick Start. The advisor is a nine in Quick Start. His assistant is a three. He’s more comfortable with risk and uncertainty. She’s a three, so she is not going to be as comfortable with the uncertainty of risk. She plans for problems. She can be a good counterbalance to his quick start. Let’s go back to my example here of these managed account reviews. It takes no more than three to five minutes to do one of these. A nine quick start is going to thrive or do better with a short deadline and with shorter bits and pieces of a process. If his assistant gives him 15 of these reports to do and gives him a month to do it, he’s probably going to procrastinate and do it all at the end, very quickly. Both experience some conflict in this situation. My counsel to her was to give him a couple at a time with a short deadline. It’ll take him six to ten minutes and it’s done. Then she can dole out two more.
The most important thing you need to understand here is that everyone has different conative strengths. The only way you can figure out what yours are is to take the Kolbe A Index. Whenever I do this in my coaching sessions or when I’m working with teams on site, this is one of the most powerful exercises that we go through for them to understand the different conative makeups of their team members. Oftentimes, it’ll verify things they already knew, but it’ll also bring new things to light.
With the assistant that I’m counseling, we’ve decided she needs to have a good contact management system with due dates. When he gives her tasks, they automatically go into her contact management system with a due date. She can prioritize how that gets done, but he will often not give her enough data. For this, I prescribed a daily huddle. It’s basically a fifteen-minute meeting every day and she can get what she needs.
I once heard somebody say that if you focus on your weaknesses, you’ll have strong weaknesses. There’s a lot of research behind this. It’s almost impossible to turn a weakness into a strength, but if we focus on our strengths, then we can be more productive, more satisfied, and more content. Kolbe doesn’t measure strengths, but you do have conative strengths. Understanding your conative makeup can help you be free to be yourself. It can help your team be free to be themselves and, as a team, you can better understand how to work together.
If you found this interesting and you want to explore this further, here’s what I’d suggest. The first thing is to go to Kolbe.com, and take a Kolbe A index. It takes about 20 minutes to take online and you get your results instantaneously. Next, have your team members take the Kolbe. If you want somebody to interpret the results, I’d be happy to do it for you at no charge. You can reach out to me and contact me for questions or if you want to schedule some time for that. Third, after you’ve done the Kolbe A, and your team has done it, then you all should sit down and discuss it together.