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AFP 2018 Blog

How Tapping into Your Natural Instincts Can Lower Your Stress and Aid in Success

Jun 5, 2018

Think of a time when you had to make a decision where your head said to do one thing, but your gut was steering you in a different direction. If you went with what you learned or thought was expected, and ignored your instincts, did it work? What happens when you trust your instincts? Most people say that if they trust their instincts they have less stress and more success.

Several years ago, I became fascinated with how and why people make decisions, how and why they approach things in a specific way, and how those differences impact outcomes. Because of my curiosity, I explored how one could measure these differences and apply that measurement to a business setting. I explored numerous assessment tools including Profiles, Myers-Briggs, DISC, among others. As a result of this process, I ultimately became a Certified Kolbe Consultant.

Trusting One’s Instincts

The Kolbe® Methodology is about helping individuals trust their natural instincts— one’s innate approach to solving a problem, making a decision, or approaching a task. When given the freedom to trust one’s instincts, individuals and teams operate at peak efficiency. Yet what we see is that learned behavior, or the belief that we must do things the way others want them done, interferes with these instincts. The result is a decrease in communication, underperformance, and lack of collaboration – all exacerbated with amplified levels of stress.

The Idea of Teams 

Even though our society is fiercely competitive and individuals are judged by their own performance, the concept of teams is strongly engrained. In fact, the belief that working in teams make us more creative and productive is so prevalent, teams are the norm in today’s business environment. U.S. business leaders believe so much in the concept of teams, they are convinced that the collective is and will be greater than the individual contribution – though reality says quite the opposite.

Teams typically:
   •   lack coordination and collaboration
   •   are dominated by strong personalities
   •   rarely give equal weight to all participants
   •   are plagued by poor communication
   •   are vastly ineffective in getting greater results

There is an element that impacts a team's success or failure that is fairly unknown - the conative.

When teams fail to achieve the desired results, the failure is often blamed on lack of clear direction, poor communication, or personality conflicts. However, there is an element that impacts success or failure that is fairly unknown – the conative. That is, what an individual needs in order to take action, approach a challenge or issue, and, ultimately, perform his or her job. It is the conative that has the biggest impact on the success or failure of teams.

Though American businesses have utilized numerous tools to measure intellect and knowledge (cognitive), personality traits and communication style (affective), only the Kolbe A Assessment measures the third part that comprises individuals – the conative.

The Kolbe® Concept

The Kolbe  ATM Assessment identifies Conative Strengths, the striving instincts that drive behavior, decision-making, and, ultimately, action. Through decades of research, the Kolbe Concept has proven that unlike other skills or knowledge, natural instincts never change throughout one’s lifetime. However, when individuals and groups understand and recognize their natural instincts and learn to trust those instincts, organizational performance is maximized.

Unlike many personality assessments that consider some profiles better than others or positions the results as “here’s what’s wrong with you,” the Kolbe Concept® sees all instincts as strengths. The “trick” is to utilize those strengths in the right environment, manner, and job position. When those strengths are put to use appropriately, team members have a greater chance of operating at peak performance (greater productivity, less stress, clearer thinking).

A Team Component

The Kolbe® has both individual and team components that further serve to help organizations achieve greater levels of performance. If your team is not working harmoniously, what can you do short of rebuilding?

  • Examine the firm’s culture. Culture impacts communication, action, productivity and outcomes. The leader sets the tone.
  • Rethink job design. In my experience, organizations that have existed for ten years or more are often using job descriptions that simply don’t match today’s work environment. Scrutinize expectations and look for ways to redesign the job.
  • Encourage outside interests. If you can’t change the job, encourage team members to apply their strengths through outside interests or assign “special projects” that tap their strengths.
  • Celebrate individuality for the greater good. Recognize individual contributions to the team success. Train team leaders to proactively seek input from all team members, making a concerted effort to give credence to the individual perspectives and ideas.

It’s critical for leaders to remember that no one approach is better than another. To achieve success, organizations must learn to tap into the strengths of each and every individual. Leaders must strive to recognize the strengths of our team, and actively seek to bring more than just intellect, experience, or assertiveness to bear for the greater good of the organization.

Attend our session “Tapping into Your Natural Instincts: The Difference Between Stress & Team Success” at AFP 2018 to learn more about the Kolbe  ATM Assessment and how to tap into your employees’ strengths.

Christine M. Hollinden, CPSM
Certified Kolbe Consultant
Hollinden | marketers & strategists