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September 20, 2021

What’s Your Kolbe Score? A Deep Dive into the Kolbe Index Assessment and Why It Matters

Guest Contributor:
Alicia Couri
Founder & CEO | Alicia Couri Inc.

Do you ever feel like you are broken? Like something must be wrong with you because others seem to achieve results, accomplish goals, and make progress easily while you constantly struggle to make headway? Do you have “shiny object syndrome”? Do people often ask, “Why can’t you ever finish anything you start?” 

Many people struggle with the ability to get organized and stay organized, which often impacts the way they lead their lives, and others. I struggled with this too. Every January, I would purchase a shiny new planner with all the good intentions, but then February would hit, and it would all start to go downhill.  By March, I couldn’t even tell you where the planner was!

So what causes people to veer off course? Before you play the shame game, consider the fact that your perceived weaknesses are actually strengths that are misunderstood- and the Kolbe A Index Assessment can prove it. 

Albert Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live it’s entire life believing its stupid”. With this guiding principle, the world’s leading organizations continue to leverage assessments as tools to effectively hire, retain, organize, and lead, cultivating their most valuable resource- their team. 

You may have heard of, or even taken, some of the more popular affective assessments such as Myers Briggs Type Indicator ®, Clifton StrengthsFinder, Predictive Index ®, and DiSC®. Often rooted in psychology, these affective tests identify emotions, feelings, attitudes, personality “style”, and preferences (which inevitably evolve over time throughout a person’s life). These tests can be used to improve engagement, motivation, communication, and interpersonal relationships.

The Kolbe A Index is a conative assessment that reveals natural talents and innate abilities (which research has shown to be more consistent over a longer period of time). It identifies a person’s M.O. (Modus operandi) or instinctive strengths and analyzes how they align with both tasks and people in four categories:

  • Fact Finder – one’s way of gathering and sharing information
  • Follow Through – one’s way of organizing
  • Quick Start – one’s way of dealing with risk and uncertainty
  • Implementor – one’s way of handling space and tangibles

Within each of these categories, there are 3 potential approaches. While we can fluctuate between approaches depending on the situation, we all tend to have a dominant approach for each category, driven by our individual, hardwired M.O.  As a Kolbe Certified Consultant™, I help people identify and leverage their conative strengths and dominant approaches so they can lead more effectively in business and in life. 

Curious about your conative strengths and dominant approaches within these categories? Use this quick guide (as defined and copyrighted by Kathy Kolbe & Kolbe Corp ©1997).

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Fact Finder – Approach to Gathering and Sharing Information

1. Simplify

As a leader you get to the bottom line, straight to the point. You start with the end in mind and limit involvement in meetings designed to get the buy-in. You avoid analysis paralysis, and stay with the big picture.

2. Explain

Your leadership style is to assess risk using data and edit that data into usable summaries. You create priorities and use a balanced approach to help ensure buy-in. You will start with the highest probabilities and work within priorities to influence others.

3. Strategize

When you strategize, it is all about the data and research when setting priorities. Your sweet spot is to capture the historical evidence to build solid initiatives, then prioritize those initiatives in order of importance. As a leader you strive to become an expert on issues and need time to evaluate, especially in order to devise a strategy from a data driven, analytical perspective.

Follow Through – Approach to Organizing, Systems, Processes and Patterns 

1. Adapt

These leaders cut through bureaucracy and bring a lot of flexibility to plans. They are never boxed into a rigid approach or plan and will create shortcuts from any established path. They are very adaptable to changing solutions as opportunities change. They are great disrupters of the status quo.

2. Maintain

If you are someone that smooths out workflow, then this is the type of leader you are. You tweak to meet small variations in projects and adjust plans for incremental changes. You are brilliant at coordinating timing and tempo and identifying any inconsistencies in plans.  

3. Systematize

Do you see patterns and processes in everything? Then you are a leader who systematizes. You design sequential systems to meet timelines, resist open ended initiatives, and have an absolute need to bring closure to projects. You factor in worst case scenarios to have an action plan to solve them. Developing uniform procedures for the group is how you lead.

Quick Start – Approach to Coping with Risk and Uncertainty

1. Stabilize

If you are a leader who stabilizes, you resist straying from established, proven paths and bring stability out of chaos. You exercise caution with the unknown and bring focus by limiting options. You will avoid creating an unnecessary sense of urgency in daily operations.

2. Modify

As a leader with this strength, you mediate between the vision and the given with grace and ease. You respond to opportunities as they are presented and adjust deadlines as situations shift and change. You remain open to risk, but only those that are necessary, and you build in flexibility and options to navigate them.

3. Innovate

Have you ever heard the expression, jump out of the plane and build the parachute on the way down? That's what this leader-type will initiate more times than not. You are challenged by risk and drive experimentation and change. You operate with a sense of urgency and impose intense deadlines on suppliers and team members to get the job done. You initiate brainstorming for ideas and execute innovative solutions to problems. You require lots of options to find optimal solutions.

Implementor – Approach to Physical and Tangible Solutions  

1. Envision

With this trait, you lead through visualizing results and exploring the abstract enhancements to initiatives. You can conceptualize and find intangible methods to solve problems, pushing past realities toward unseen possibilities.

2. Restore

You are very hands on and will participate in technical demonstrations. You lead your team by utilizing technology to facilitate change and create simulations of physical action. You can bridge differences between abstract and concrete, and you use tangible talent in projects and in the field.

3. Protect

As a leader, you transform abstract notions into concrete solutions. You work to ensure quality equipment, machinery, ingredients, and materials are properly utilized. You have a need to try equipment and materials in real time and solve mechanical problems. You are very hands on.

After reading this guide, you’ve probably identified your dominant approaches, and hopefully shifted your perspective to see the strengths within them, or as I refer to it, your “Zone of Genius”. Self-awareness is a powerful tool for change, and a distinguishing practice among some of the world’s greatest leaders. Because once you are aware, you have the power to change, improve, and harness your power.  If you’d like to work on ways to amplify your strengths as they relate to specific tasks or within specific teams (or families), I’d love the opportunity to help you embrace the fish that you are so that you can thrive!