Today I want to talk to you about the Kolbe A Index assessment and the version I did, the white labelled Strengths Mastery Advantage through Rich Schefren’s Strategic Profits company.
This is all about working to your strengths and not wasting time, energy and money trying to make up for your weaknesses.
Let me walk you through a little analogy.
Imagine You Want To Compete At The Olympics In An Athletics Event
It’s nearly a year since the London 2012 Olympics but if you watched it, you’ll remember the pride of the gold medal winning competitors that came from proving themselves to be the “best of the best”.
The next Olympics is in Rio in 2016.
Imagine you wanted to compete.
Your body type would largely determine what event you would be best at.
If you’re tall, slim and bouncy… you might be good at the high jump.
If you’re big, powerful and muscular… you might be good at the shot put or javelin.
If you’re very slim with astonishing stamina… you might be good at long distance running.
It’s virtually impossible to go against your body type. Your natural strengths.
And the higher the level of competition, the more difficult it is to overcome your weaknesses.
If you compete in one of the parent’s races at your children’s school day, you might come first in the 100 metres sprint despite being big, power and muscular because you’re fast for your size.
It is likely to be a very different story at your local athletics club.
You’ll be beaten by specialists who focus on working with their strengths.
Your strength, size and power becomes natural disadvantages in other events because of your extra weight.
Why Should It Be Different In Business?
Working within your strengths is obvious for competing in a a sport so why does it feel counter-intuitive in business?
It’s because of a false belief that people can be good, even great at everything.
Yes there are some very talented all-rounders, just as there are in sport but they can be beaten by specialists.
Some of our business strengths and weaknesses are obvious.
Three days ago I had a problem with this website. I could no longer log-in because of a change I had made the day before that created a conflict. I had to employ a WordPress specialist to help me and he did it in seconds. I was terrified when I was looking at the file structure through my hosting cpanel. I didn’t understand. I was out of my depth.
Other strengths and weaknesses are not so obvious. In fact, psychological studies prove that we all have a natural bias. We tend to think that we are better than we are.
It’s particularly difficult to see our natural instincts for solving problems and getting things done.
But they determine how successful we are, even though they are hidden away, subtly influencing all our actions in ways that we don’t recognise consciously.
That’s where the Kolbe A Index comes in.
What Is The Kolbe A Index?
It was invented (discovered) by a very clever lady called Kathy Kolbe.
Her website describes it as..
“The Kolbe A™ Index/Instinct Test: IQ tests tell you what you can do. Personality tests tell you what you want to do… the Kolbe A™ Index measures what you WILL or WON’T do. This quick and easy 36-question instrument gives you greater understanding of your own natural instincts and allows you to begin the process of maximizing your potential.”
Kathy identified four universal human instincts that we all use in creative problem solving:
- Fact Finder – the instinctive way we gather and share information.
- Follow Thru – the instinctive way we arrange and design.
- Quick Start – the instinctive way we deal with risk and uncertainty.
- Implementor – the instinctive way we handle space and tangibles.
Each action mode has three basic levels that are strengths in particular situations based on prevent, respond and initiate. Unfortunately they are also weaknesses when you try to work against your strength, just like the tall, skinny person trying to put the 7.26 kg shot competing against people who are much stronger.
- The Fact Finder can simplify, explain or specify.
- The Follow Thru can adapt, maintain or systematize.
- The Quick Start can stabilize, modify or improvise.
- The Implementor can imagine, restore or build.
There are no right or wrong answers. Only what’s appropriate for what you want to do.
The terms are unfamiliar but this is what they mean.
As Kathy says “Unlike personality tests, which tell you what’s wrong with you and how to change it, Kolbe [A Index] tells you what’s right with you and how to make the most of it.”
Just like the Olympic athlete, ultimately we must play to our strengths if we are going to succeed.
My Experience With The Kolbe A Index
I was introduced to the Kolbe index through a training program I bought from Rich Schefren.
I was given free access to it when I bought his Business Growth System coaching program.
But my suspicion of these psychological tests and the mistaken belief that they were all claptrap caused me to ignore it.
I’ve always thought of myself as self aware. I already knew what I was good at, didn’t I? I understood myself.
I really liked the BGS training and I bought another training program from Rich Schefren. That also gave me free access and this time, the combination of having more time and some curiosity about the rave reviews from other people, I gave it a try.
You have to answer 36 questions quickly, choosing your most likely and least likely options. Some are easy. Some are harder as you find it difficult to choose one option.
You get to the end. Press the submit button and you get sent back your assessment.
It turns out I’m an 8-4-5-2 person.
- As a Fact Finder, I specify. I need details, strategies, research.
- As a Follow Thru, I maintain. I adjust to existing plans, allow for the unexpected, maintain control.
- As a Quick Start, I modify. I offer alternatives, impose deadlines, mediate between a vision and the given situation.
- As an Implementor, I imagine. I work without physical evidence and model. I think of this as an architect, happy to deal in concepts.
For many years I had felt like a frustrated entrepreneur.
I obviously know a lot about business. I am addicted to researching the best ideas (my high fact finder score)
I see problems and the pain they cause. I think about possible solutions as an intellectual challenge but I don’t have the drive or motivation to do anything it. (This is my low implementor score). Once I have the idea or concept, I don’t feel the need to build it.
I finally understand why I work in the way that I do.
I accept that I’m not cut out to be an entrepreneur but I am a born geek about business ideas.
Business coaching is my natural place in the world. Kathy Kolbe herself said on Twitter that I have the perfect profile to do what I do.
Even in my coaching and consultancy business, I have resisted all the opportunities that have appeared to grow and hire staff to build a more substantial business. It isn’t what I want.
The Strengths Mastery Advantage
You can buy the Kolbe A Index assessment from Kolbe.com or get the white-labelled version that I did from Rich Schefren as Strengths Mastery Advantage (SMA).
Strengths Mastery Advantage – affiliate link
Putting to one side the fact that I’ll earn a small commission if you buy the SMA version, I accept that this kind of analysis isn’t for everyone.
I had a big aha that has stopped me trying to be something that I’m not.
I saw myself and realised that I was stupid for torturing myself about wanting a proper business, either starting one or buying an established that is in trouble and turning it around.
You might not be so lucky.
You might do the assessment and get a similar realisation or you might come out of it with a “so what”.
In which case, you won’t have got much for your money.
Rich Schefren on the SMA page (which is a long form sales letter and feels too hypey for my personal tastes) has a stunning guarantee. (I quote from the page as at 1 June 2013 – you must check that it still applies before you buy)
“Discovering and Leveraging
Your Natural, Unique Strengths
Must Give You At Least a
100-to-1 Return on Your Money
or You Pay Nothing!“
The page goes on to say…
“Use Strengths Mastery Advantage, and make as much new-found money as you can.
You must agree that the discoveries you’ve made from your detailed, personalized strengths assessment have changed your business and your life in truly groundbreaking ways.
You must agree that the in-depth video helped you manage around your weaknesses and leverage your strengths… and was responsible for bringing you – at a bare minimum – 100 times the $97 you paid.
Otherwise just contact us within 90 days for a prompt and courteous refund.”
I believe that’s an extremely fair offer.
Either you get great value from the assessment or you get your money back.
Other Articles About The Kolbe A Index and Strengths Mastery Advantage
I hope you’ve found this a useful summary but if you want to know more, I have written about it on my Business Coaching Blog.
The Kolbe Index is a conation system as one of the three parts of your brain, along with affective and cognitive. You can read a technical article in Wikipedia if you want to understand the psychological theory.
Your Inner Game
This article is part of a focus on your inner game and how what you feel, think and do impacts on your business success.
Your inner game is Pillar 2 in my Eight Pillars of Business Prosperity business building system.
This looks at how you take your vision for your life and business through your natural strengths and turn it into goals and priorities that determine how you manage your time on a day by day basis.