What is the best tool you can use to build and keep the right team in your organization? It is not a resume, or an interview, or a personality test. Those are standard practices in today’s workplace, but none of those is predictive of how someone will instinctually approach their job.

Your mind has three parts – thinking, feeling, and doing.  Your “thinking” part is cognitive – your IQ, skills, intelligence, and experience. If you’ve been in a job for a long time and you’re really good in your profession or your career, then you probably have high cognitive measurements in that area. You can also measure this through assessments like the Wonderlic test, or through tests like the SAT, the CPA exam, CFP certification exam, etc.

The “feeling” part of your mind is affective – one’s motivations, values, attitude, preferences, behavior, or personality. Most people are familiar with assessments that measure this part of the mind, like DISC, Myers-Briggs, StrengthFinders, and the Enneagram.

Most interview processes focus on the cognitive and affective parts of the mind. Does this candidate have the education or experience to do this job? Did they interview well? Could I work with them day in and day out?

But most organizations are missing out the most important part of the mind – the conative part.

Conation is how people take action. It’s their striving instincts. It’s mental energy. It’s innate strengths. It’s a person’s natural way of taking action and making decisions or problem solving. For our clients, knowing conation has been a game changer in building and keeping the right teams.

That brings us to the best tool you’ve never heard of for hiring, training, and teamwork – the Kolbe Index. The Kolbe Index is the only validated assessment available that measures conation. This gives you your instinctive method of operation – or MO. Your MO is represented by four numbers, which indicate how you instinctively take action in each of four action modes.

The four action modes include Fact Finder, Follow Thru, Quick Start, and Implementor. You will either initiate, accommodate, or resist in each of the action modes. This information is predictive of how you will approach a task or solve a problem, with whom you are more likely to have conflict with, and what tasks you should accept or avoid.

But why is conation important? How does this apply in your organization?

It is predictive of how a person will get their job done. It informs:

  • What tasks to delegate to whom;
  • How much information you need to give for that task to get done correctly and on time;
  • Whether a person will figure it out along the way, or will they move more methodically;
  • Whether a person will naturally follow a system, or will they skip around to find the fastest means to the end.

Conation can also cause conflict among team members. A “9” Fact Finder will overwhelm a “1” Fact Finder with information. A “9” Follow Thru will struggle to understand why a “1” Follow Thru keeps interrupting their work flow. A “9” Quick Start will be frustrated with the “1” Quick Start’s hesitancy to make an immediate decision. A “9” Implementor will need to understand how the widget works well before she starts to use it while the “1” Implementor will trust how it is made and start using it.

So, not only must an organization understand your team’s conative strengths, you must also recognize the root of potential conflict. Without this basic knowledge, what looks like apathy and irresponsibility may just be conative diversity.

Understanding a person’s conative strengths is key in hiring, training, and engaging employees. Understanding your own conative strengths is key to leadership and self-management.