Discovering My Conative Style

If you’re not familiar with the Kolbe A™ Index, it’s a measure of an individual’s conative style. Your way of thinking is your cognitive style, your way of feeling emotions is your affective style, and your way of doing or taking action is your conative style. The test determines your natural and instinctive way that you take action when you are free to be yourself.

I was first introduced to this concept a few weeks ago during a Martha Beck’s Life Coach Training class. We were encouraged to take the test to better understand our modus operandi (MO). Therefore, today I set aside time to answer 36 questions with two responses each of “most likely” and “least likely.”

According to my results, I am “highly dependable at providing comprehensive methods for monitoring activity. Others count on [me] to plan thoroughly, coordinate details, and be pragmatic in the use of diagrams and schedules that [I] create.”

There are four conative styles and everyone is a mix of all four, though on a scale from low at 1 to high at 10. I am a 6-8-4-3 (which will make more sense in a minute).

The first style is Fact Finder, of which I ranked at a 6 and in the middle. The second is Follow Through, which was my highest result at an 8. The third style is Quick Start, which I also placed in the middle of the scale at a 4. I was lowest in the fourth and final style of Implementor, of which I ranked as a 3.

Kolbe Action Modes
My unique Kolbe Action Modes

What does all this mean?

For Fact Finding, my best way to “gather and share information is to explain.” This means I am the bridge between those who generalize to provide the essential facts, and those who get as many specifics as possible to simplify. If you were to ask my husband, he thinks I explain and give too much detail. This leads me to believe he’s on the low end of the scale and prefers to receive information in an overview.

Follow Through is the organizing, storing, and sorting of information, and as an 8 on the scale, my instinct is to systemize and build in a lot of organization and structure. This is absolutely accurate as I always end up as the one who is in charge of organizing family and friend functions. In the past, this talent served me well in corporate environments and even before that, school, which is also very structured. Those who fall in the middle “maintain” by detecting discrepancies and adjusting procedures, while those on the low end are “highly adaptive” to developing shortcuts and tend to multitask.

Quick Start is the way we deal with risk and unknowns, which are simply facts of life. I’m a 4, which means that I fall in the middle zone, which is the most flexible. Therefore I modify information and deal with unknowns by revising decisions, yet I also know when to stop short of the danger zone. Think of it as calculated risk. (This explains why I won’t skydive, but I will cage dive with sharks.)

Those low on the scale (1-3) try to stabilize risk by minimizing it with the fewest possible amount of unknowns. These types typically only stick with what works well or has already been proven. Those on the high end take risks (such as through experimentation or improvising) without having to know what the outcome will be. Often it’s just to see what happens.

Implementor is how we deal with the instinct to handle things (literally) on a scale from abstract to concrete. At a 3 (low end), I visualize results and get a sense of things without needing to physically touch them. High Implementors need to touch it…it needs to be tangible to build it. Those in the middle of the scale keep things going the way they should.

Given I was lowest on this scale, the results advised me not to demonstrate the use of, or fix, mechanical stuff. This is a huge relief and explains why I believe technology is out to get me. Anything that is electrical, mechanical or technical is constantly breaking on me and I’d rather have someone else fix it than attempt myself. Former coworkers used to joke that I must have a ghost in my computer because it would never work the way it should.

I’ll admit, going into this test and only having a superficial knowledge of the Kolbe conative styles, I assumed I was highest on Quick Start, then middle or low on Fact Finder, low on Follow Through and low on Implementor. However, after deep diving into the results and really understanding each style, the results I received make absolutely more sense than my assumptions. It’s very similar to the results of my Strength Finders 2.0 results with Reliability ranking my highest trait.

I encourage you to take the test and learn about your own conative style to learn how you can best utilize your natural instincts of ‘doing.’ Playing to these strengths, you’ll have more energy, work will feel more fulfilling, and interactions with others will feel more genuine.

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