Kolbe: Discovering How You Strive

Shannon Waller

Finding, hiring, and keeping good team members is a big challenge for many entrepreneurs. If you’re looking for a little extra insight into the process, let me share with you the most helpful tool we’ve discovered—Kolbe!

When we’re hiring or building teams at Strategic Coach, the first tool we turn to is a different kind of test: the Kolbe profile. Kathy Kolbe has developed a truly unique way of measuring a person’s “conative” aspect—that is, the way they strive, problem-solve, and go about getting things done instead of looking at just their traits.

“Psychometrics” sounds like something people took in the sixties, and all the different psychometric tests used in hiring can be just as mystifying, but many of them do have real merit if you want to learn about someone’s cognitive abilities—how they take in and process information—or if you want to learn about “affective” traits like their personality or emotions.

In the Kolbe model, no one is “better” or “worse”—just different. Individuals feel compelled to do certain things and do them in a particular way, and Kolbe helps you predict that so you can build a compatible team.

For instance, one person might need lots of information and structure to feel comfortable proceeding with a project. Another, though, might like to shoot from the cuff and constantly change things up. If you put these two people together, do you think they’ll get much done? No—they’re more likely to burn up all their energy just trying to deal with each other.

On the other hand, if you hire someone who’s an exact photocopy of you, you may be comfortable working together, but now you’re both going to be dealing with the same challenges you were facing before.

So the trick is to build teams of people with complementary Kolbe profiles and to put buffers between the extremes. This lets everyone take advantage of their natural strengths and inclinations while reducing stress.

If you’re looking to expand your team and want to find the right people, have a look at Kolbe. Completing your own profile first will give you a real “eureka!” insight into what makes you tick, and will highlight the areas where someone else could enhance and reinforce your capabilities with their own.

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