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Kolbe Conables® to Combat Strain


by Will Rapp

Every day we find ourselves dealing with tasks for which we are not naturally suited. They simply go against our grain. As much as we might like to be a “10” in everything, none of us is. This means some things come easily to us, and others just don’t. Kolbe can detect this by comparing a Kolbe A™ Index result with a Kolbe B™ Index result.  Early on, we learn to delegate certain tasks to someone who is better suited for them so we can save our strengths for tasks that fall more easily within our natural talents.

Kolbe Corp describes Strain as a condition where a person’s sense of how a task needs to be performed is substantially different from their natural methods of problem solving. But we all have to work against our grains sometimes, so what’s the big deal? If we face an unnatural task daily or for long periods of time, the negative effects can be far-reaching. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get rid of these unnatural tasks in some way – or at least make them easier?  As mentioned before, delegating is usually the best solution, but in today’s world of slimmed-down resources, it’s becoming more and more difficult to do this.

It is rare to find someone whose innate strengths for solving problems is substantially different from their daily job responsibilities in all Action Modes®. Clearly, over time, this level of Strain can create a great deal of stress. The level of stress and resulting consequences will depend on various mitigating factors.

In order to help people deal with substantial mismatches between required tasks and natural talent, Kolbe Corp developed a series of Conables. These are strategies, tips, and tricks for managing conative energy when required to work against your grain. Conables can be as diverse as the problems they solve, and can be generated by self-aware individuals – as the saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention.” Here’s a real-world example:

A senior HR and OD specialist at a major energy company has been in her job for six months, and her major responsibilities are in Training & Development as well as Employee Compensation. 

                                    Kolbe A Index:  4296
                                    Kolbe B Index:  8652

She had plenty of experience and training in her field, and was well aware of her own strengths. She also knew that her talents were mismatched for the tasks assigned to her. Strategies (or Conables) were created in all four Action Modes to help alleviate her strain and reduce stress.

One of the very first things she did was use her 9 in Quick Start to completely fill the training calendar for the next six months. There was tremendous variety and interest in these sessions so she was quickly immersed in them. She was freed from her employee compensation responsibility so that she could devote full time to training. This greatly reduced the need for most of the Fact Finder energy and some of the Follow Thru necessary to stay on top of the compensation issues, better matching her natural strengths.

She also requested, and received, an assistant to keep track of the logistics, freeing her from further Follow Thru burdens.  Once she had developed the training modules and content delivery had fallen into a predictable pattern, she had excess Quick Start to burn once again. When questioned as to how she used that excess Quick Start energy as well as her 6 units of Implementor, she told another story: 

She had traveled extensively in Central America and became enamored of certain handicrafts made in the area.  By questioning the artisans and examining the products, she learned how to make items herself. When she returned to the US, she plugged into the local immigrant community and identified people who had the natural skills and interest to make the handcrafted products she felt had a market in the area.  She had the eye for quality and knack for entrepreneurship necessary for her to successfully start a small business out of her house. It grew quickly and moved into a small workshop that also functioned as a store-front outlet.

She reported having the time of her life. When it was suggested that she was using a lot of conative energy that might have been used on her job, she replied that the company had shown no interest in either her Quick Start or her Implementor talents.  Maybe they didn’t know what they were missing out on or how to more fully engage her strengths, but it is a sad indictment of managements’ inability to identify and capitalize on the resources available to them. She was a natural innovator and pioneer.

Everyone’s M.O. is made up of available energy that will be used...somewhere.  There is an outcry for innovators in the corporate world today. Smart employers take steps to identify the talent available within the organization and get the best return on investment by applying that energy to appropriate tasks and solutions to problems.  Unused energy will find an outlet, and employer and employee both benefit when it is used on the job. 

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