In the quest to self-discovery I found a brilliant test called the Kolbe test as a way of discovering our problem-solving mode of operation. Out of the multitude of tests out there the Kolbe test is certainly the one that I rave about the most. It exclusively focuses on our intrinsic ability to do – our conation. And although I alluded to what that meant in my last post – to do it justice here’s a little more.
According to Kolbe, when we identify the nature of our creative instincts we all get the capability to problem-solve with finesse. There is a boundless, almost inexhaustible, power that we can harness. Derived from our own very specific modes of operation – our modus operandi (M.O.) – it’s our God-given potential. And all of us activate these modes in different and diverse ways. We don’t need to be Einstein to problem-solve.
Understanding our problem-solving keys
In essence, our problem-solving actions comprise of: gaining and sorting data, handling risk and building a solution. And in Kolbe terminology they are referred to as: Fact Finder, Follow thru, Quick Start and Implementor actions.
The action of Fact Finder focuses on the way you gather and share information. It’s how you take in facts from the world around and make it understandable. The action of Follow Thru explores your instinctive way of organizing and structuring information. Your tendency to design. It’s how you orchestrate, reformat and represent things. Then there’s the action mode of Quick Start which investigates how you subconsciously handle risk and uncertainty. And finally, there’s the mode of Implementor that concentrates on your tendencies to handle the abstract and the physical. Yet within the four action modes there is a continuum of methodologies. Like a kaleidoscope of possibilities – with each one of us lying somewhere in between two poles.
Two poles and a middle ground
At one pole, is the tendency to counteract that action. To essentially to resist and prevent it – to prevent problems. And at the other extreme is the tendency to initiate that action. To encourage and make it happen – to solve the problem. And somewhere, in the middle ground, is the instinct to react. To do things in a way that harnesses the positives and create balance. Intriguingly people who instinctively react within all four modes of action are rare. And although they might feel as if they have no expertise or specialization – in truth they are utterly indispensable. They have the remarkable tendency to bridge build. And they are the ones that make our most formidable facilitators and unifiers.
Helpfully the Kolbe approach condenses our tendencies into just twelve methods of problem-solving. The 12 Kolbe Strengths™. And we know that we can all solve problems using any of the twelve methods. And we often do. We often flow from one methodology to the other depending on our need. But for us to be at our most energized and for us to do our most efficient and creative work – we need to function in the way that is most consistent with our internal wiring. We need to harness our inbuilt genius.
Finding your genius
Our inbuilt genius explains why some people are wired to gather and share information in a way that promotes simplicity and overview, while others are wired to go deep and handle specifics. Some are wired to work with an adaptive flair – developing shortcuts and multitasking, while others are extremely ordered and systematic. It explains why, in uncertainty, some people are wired to minimise risk and to create stability, while others are wired to step into the unknown and rely on their ability to innovate, experiment and improvise. And in terms of handling space and tangibles, how some people have a flair for the abstract – able to instinctively imagine and envision solutions, while others have an aptitude for building solutions that are concrete and tangible.
And in between these poles, we find those of us who can effortlessly merge the benefits of both extremes. Here we find people who have an instinctive, sub-conscious knack for explaining and uncovering essential facts. And people who are skilled at maintaining order despite any discrepancies. Here lie those of us who problem-solve by modifying what already exists. And those of us who have the natural faculty to restore and keep things working as they should.
And from these twelve methods all sorts of fun happenings can be explained. For you high Fact-finders out there you might like the book by Kolbe pioneer Kathy Kolbe called Conative Connection: Acting on Instinct that delves in much deeper. And for those of you who might be intrigued about the person writing this blog do return for the next one when secrets will be revealed. But whatever you do, do the greatest you can. Because you can.