Same M.O. Marriages

Do personal partners who act, react, and interact through the same M.O.* miss out on the synergy of conative differences?

Do conative look alikes compete or try to one-up each other (“My facts are more thorough than your facts,” or “You couldn’t possibly improve on the way I’ve organized the pots and pans.”)?

Do Same M.O. Marriages become so same-o’, same-o’ that their twosomeness excludes others?

Yes – for all of the above questions.

Yet, Same M.O. Marriages not only survive – they thrive.
That’s because personal relationships are about more than conative M.O.s.

Effect of Affect

Toss in different interests, and two people insistent in Fact Finder can bring tons of different kinds of information into the equation.

Watch how an introvert gets an extrovert to dial it down. Or the extrovert opens up their social life.

Both may take risks, but if one person in a Same M.O. Marriage has an emotional need for financial security, even with a pair of insist Quick starts, it will put the brakes on their betting the ranch.

Another effect of affect happens when partners do not have shared values. If only one wants a family, or to protect the environment, or march for a particular cause, it becomes a far bigger reason for marital problems than either a similarity or difference in M.O.s.

Cognitive Impact

It was totally weird for me to have my college boyfriends take my Dad’s Wonderlic Personnel test, but it certainly was fascinating to be able to confirm their cognitive abilities. It’s weirder for girls to play dumb in order to get a guy.

I would be willing to bet that couples similarly matched by IQ is predictive of marital sustainability.  If both people have the same M.O. to gather specific details, but one’s information is full of errors… it just doesn’t add up to a positive picture for the long-run.

Having different skills, training, and types of education can enhance any relationship, especially one when partner has to do the problem-solving involved in building a nest and raising kids. Sans kids, it still works for vacation planning.

Dynamynd® Levels of Effort

No matter how snuggly matched or unmatched a marriage is by M.O., the greater menace is unmatched levels of effort.

 No matter how conforming or non-conforming a couple is by M.O., the greatest savior under stress is a matched level of effort.

 I coined the word Dynamynd when it became clear to me that how we deal with our mental assets is not just about the three parts of the mind, but how we leverage them through our levels of effort. If only one partner does all the heavy lifting in a relationship — whether by simplifying the issues, stabilizing the finances, or arranging all the plans – it just won’t work in the long haul.

Relationship apps?

Countless business partnership offers have been made to me, based on my agreeing to use my work for matching people as marriage partners.

Sure, I’ll do it, when we can figure out how to factor in all of the other considerations.

* M.O. refers to an individual’s Modus Operandi and consists of a numerical representation of one’s instinctive way of taking action as measured across the four Kolbe Action Modes®.

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Leading by Instinct

There is not a Best M.O. among top leaders. Nor is there any M.O. that would exclude you from being a good leader.

My research shows that the best predictor of both productivity and sustainability in complex and complicated environments is the degree of conative or instinct-based diversity among the core leaders in the C-Suite. In smaller organizations, with only a few people at the top of a narrow pyramid, the conative criteria for leadership also narrow.

Instincts in C-Suites

In a large and very complex organization with a collaborative culture, it works especially well to have a CEO whose instinct is to initiate in both the Fact Finder and Quick Start Action Modes, sparking both research and development programs. Another essential part of the conative mix is for such leaders to instinctively resist or just mildly accommodate Follow Thru systems. This is how such leaders keep their organizations from getting bogged down in redundancies or becoming too bureaucratic.

It is essential, that leaders with this M.O. have CFOs, or other cohorts at the top, who deal with the complicated, more linear, financial, legal, and sometimes physical structures. It has proven wise to have a second in command who naturally plays the role of insisting on adherence to Follow Thru regulations -which he or she instinctively creates. It helps a set of such leaders to work in sync with each other if the second person accommodates Fact Finder strategies. When these leaders have equal levels of insistence in Fact Finder, they need to have clearly defined, separate responsibilities or they will end up with dueling priorities. Rounding out the M.O. of the cohort is a resistance in Quick Start, which adds a stabilizing force to the senior management team.

In today’s world, the CEO often serves as the chief PR person in the face of scandals, recalls, attacks, and hackings. I don’t see many resistant Quick Start CEOs surviving through major crises like these. Quick Start energy is required when being a spokesperson dealing with uncertainty (note what happens to the grand orator in Obama when he addresses uncertainty).

Resistant Follow Thrus are beaten up for not finishing what they start, but without their input organizations would stay put. The power of their randomness makes their resistance to sticking with the plan the ingredient that often saves the day. As confounding as it can be to their conative opposites, their natural ability to dodge bullets is a trait that helps organizations land on their feet.

It is the Implementor leader’s insistence on precision and manifestation of ideas that makes this M.O. the most difficult to put in the C-Suite. It is essential, but often better in the field than the executive offices – as long as he or she is empowered to halt processes for quality control purposes. Given the freedom to skip meetings and lead the on-site troops, these leaders will add significantly to the power and quality of products and programs.

Instinctive Facilitators are especially interesting to observe as they perform at high levels of leadership in organizations like franchises and health related situations; first, because in those environments leadership involves maintaining systems and second, because it involves maintaining ego-driven relationships – and the caring for a diversity of human beings. Their instinct to bring out the best in others and to build bridges between people reduces conflicts and keeps energy focused on purposes rather than personal issues.

Entrepreneurial Instincts

It is less complicated to diagnose the instinct-based leadership in an entrepreneurial organization. It is all about the naturally born entrepreneur trusting the combination of Quick Start insistent drive and back-up Fact Finder strategies. Without much Follow Thru budget making, a stand-alone entrepreneur needs to use the power of Quick Start persuasion to cut deals, and rope friends, family and vendors into becoming uncompensated co-conspirators. Of course, those who fill the need for creating Follow Thru systems are also essential. When a true entrepreneur builds an organization to the point where it requires the type of leadership team noted above, it is time for him or her to move on – and do it all over again.

Leadership is not just about the use of conative instincts. But, nothing in my experience indicates that leaders, regardless of their M.O.s, initiate problem solving by using processes they have been taught. Their cognitive powers come into the process when they edit their instincts – and certainly when they second guess them. Leaders’ actions, triggered by whatever motivates them, are as tied to their instincts as their best salesperson’s instincts are tied to asking for the order. I do not belittle the power of the cognitive (it is not an after-thought in the Kolbe Creative Process). It’s a matter of what comes first.

Instincts are precognitive. If that weren’t true, we would have no heroes – or top leaders. Having closely observed the creative efforts of thousands of leaders in vastly different types of problem solving situations, I have yet to see an example of solutions being initiated by them during a period of contemplation. The actions that spark productivity are born from the innate, authentic powers of a leader’s instinctive drive.

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Doing Nothing On Demand

One of my 5 Rules for Trusting your Instinct is
      Do Nothing – when Nothing Works¹

Rule-5-Do-nothing-when-nothing-works

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So why did I get so angry when traveling companions told me that they were committed to making sure I did not work while I was on vacation?

Because:

1.  If what I am doing is working for me, I do not need to, nor do I want to stop doing it.
2.  Deciding, of my own volition, when I will Do Nothing is essential for my acting according to my Free Will.
3.  What I do – my work – is my joy. To not be able to do it would be agony.
4.  Unless I am mentally incompetent, self-managing my mental energy is essential for me to be a productive human being.
5.  It is not a hardship for me to do what I do, and Doing Nothing is not something I would ever consider to be a reward.
6.  Doing Nothing ought never to be demanded by or enforced by others. It would be an attempt to assert their Will or control over my freedom to be myself.
7.  My work is my purpose. Rob me of it and you have taken my life.
8.  For me to be put in a place where I could only Do Nothing for an extended period of time would be putting me in Purgatory.
9.  Without striving to Do what I do, it would be impossible for me to thrive.
10.  I cannot plan ahead to Do Nothing, or prevent the need to Do Nothing. I have to Do Nothing On Demand – but not the demand of others.
11.  The appropriate demand to Do Nothing comes when my instincts require that I take a break – not when others think it is a good time for me to stop working (sorry Mom, well-meaning friends, and government/corporate regulators).

My instincts have sometimes had to scream pretty loudly for me to stop working (accidents are no accident). My instincts always have and always will have the final say.

1. Kathy Kolbe, Powered by Instinct (Momentus Press, 2004)

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Jim Brady: A Favorite Character

If I ever write a drama, I’ll use Jim Brady as the model for a character considered as a villain – only by those on the other side of causes he espoused. I’d be hard pressed to make his part of the dialog as wise and witty as his reality.

Capturing his character will require showing someone loved dearly by co-conspirators, admired by disapproving critics, and loathed by opponents.

No one found more joy in a hard fought battle more than Jim, or was more loyal to fellow fighters. He admired intelligent opposition, but he’d laugh gleefully as he considered the damage his daring maneuvers would do to their cause. His methods of plotting would move my story along because they are so clever and often truly game changing. He thought BIG, but plotted intricate details with such specificity that when you were in on it, you dared not miss a slightest step.

He was a mentally disciplined innovator who concocted daring strategies. That his ideas sometimes seemed so random made them all the more wonderfully effective.

Who would have thought of such a bizarre way to pull off a political trick? It took his instinctive M.O.: Quick Start initiation, with high accommodation in Fact Finder and Implementor, and wonderful randomness through his prevention of Follow Thru type consistency.

It also took his passion for the causes in which he got fully involved. And it took his intelligence. All of which required high levels of effort – especially when he was deprived of full control over these mental faculties.

“Wonderlic,” he would call me, using my maiden name as a way of not being sexist in the 70’s,”when we get this deal done, the other side is gonna wish there was enough money in the world to make us work for them.”

His character in my play will get the deal done, despite personal pain and the acrimony from the opposition. The small town guy I met when we were young, did make big differences. I hope his character gets lots of curtain calls. Continue reading

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Being a Clown

Kathy Kolbe for clown

I dressed up in a clown outfit once. To entertain kids at a camp I ran. It totally embarrassed my then 8-year-old son, David, who was in the audience.

Wearing a clown costume doesn’t make you a clown – but it can make a clown out of you. It proves my theory that dressing for success is often a waste of time and money.

Could a good school for clowns train me to be a better clown?

Not if I only mimicked being a clown. Being trained to act like a clown doesn’t make you good at it – anymore than being trained to act like a salesperson makes you a top salesperson. If you don’t have the right instincts to be good in a role, your attempt at it can come off as awkward.

Ouch Factor: Happy masks hiding Sad realities

Putting on a happy face while suffering in a misfit role is the stuff of tragedies (think Death of a Salesman). When people don’t have an ounce of the right conative instincts for the outfit, pretending the shoe fits ends up causing a lot of hurt. Maybe that’s why there are so many sad clowns. It’s the Ouch Factor.

We sense inauthenticity. It makes us uncomfortable. We don’t want to deal with a person who is putting on an act — whether it is as a carpenter, cleric, or cable guy.

People radiating the yucky vibes of the Ouch Factor seem to believe the fairy tale about being able to do anything they want to do. They must have bought into the notion that their preferences were the key to determining career decisions. It would be interesting to track people who followed career advice from programs based on such assumptions, and rate their Ouch levels.

Effort Effect

That wasn’t my excuse for being a lousy clown. It is in my conative nature to be at least OK at clowning around.

Being a clown was a side show for me. I certainly didn’t put much effort into it. But it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. It might have helped if I had a least practiced a couple of minutes in front of a mirror. Instead, I was just me being silly. (Moms being silly always seem to embarrass their kids.) I overlooked the Effort Effect.

My clown moment was a bundle of years ago, and I still regret that I wasn’t more convincing. The point is not that I discovered “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” If that were true, I would have garden that’s a show place – and not had the time or energy to create the Kolbe theories.

I imagined that my clown act would get a “Good job!” rating from more than a couple of kids (My son proved he had learned the lesson of not giving false praise.). Mid-act I knew I hadn’t made the necessary effort to pull it off.

Effort Effect – Reversed

I bet the most creepy clowns are the most conatively misfit clowns – who work especially hard at being untrue to themselves. Kids trust their instincts – and stay really far away from clowns they sense are that degree of phony.

There’s something ugly and unsettling about watching a person trudge through life trying to be something he or she was never intended to be. Why try so hard to be a clown when it just isn’t working?

There is a time to turn in the costume. Misplaced efforts rob us of opportunities to succeed in roles for which we are a good conative fit. A misfit clown might make a terrific Ring Master or Lion tamer. The trick is to find roles that fit both our M.O. and our interests. That’s when we make wise efforts.

Effort + right Instincts avoids the Ouch Factor and ups the level of our performance.

I trusted my instincts when I did the clown act. I dressed for success in the role. But I didn’t make a high enough commitment of effort. I have both trusted my instincts and worked hard as a Theorist. I’d say “I made the shoe fit” – but much of the time I’ve been barefoot.

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“I dunno & I dun care” Then Why Should We?

These have become pervasive phrases. You hear them when people do not choose to express anything more than an attitude, or do anything more than make an attempt.

Such omnipresent admission of “I dunno” and “I dun care” bespeaks a culture that admits it lacks the fortitude to express convictions or make commitments.

It Starts in Simple Ways

“Wanna see a movie?”
“Yeah, maybe.”
“Which one?”
“I dunno.”
“Should I just pick one?”
“I dun care.”

“Is there something you’d rather do?”
“I dunno.”

Then why should you care?

Unless a person is exhausted from having made a series of mind-draining efforts, or has made the last ten choices for shared activities, putting no energy into a decision on what to do together says there is not much interest in the relationship. Or, maybe it is not personal – maybe there is not much effort being made across the board. Maybe that explains the inability to keep a job.

Cop-out phrases like these are what you get from the uncle who doesn’t know what the referendum is about – and doesn’t care how you think he should vote. He is not going to bother.

They are the answers you get from the neighbor who just cannot muster up the energy to deal with safety issues.

They Dominate the Dialog

They are phrases spoken in a wide variety of interactions. Listen. You will hear them when you advocate for special needs kids, or the environment, or question why people still smoke. It is also what you get from retail store clerks when you interrupt their chatting with each other to ask them a question.

People use these phrases when they do not want to put their minds into gear to do the mental work of forming an opinion, making a decision, or providing information.

When used without the context of reasonable reasons for mental fatigue, the true meaning of these phrases is often:

“I prefer not to have to form an opinion or make a decision.”

“I am not willing to make an effort to give you a thoughtful response.”

“I do not want to think about doing anything about it.”

“I am saving energy for something that motivates me more than what you are asking about.”

“I do not have the slightest interest in what we do together.”

Don’t Tell Me You “Dunno” What We Can Do About It

In my own way, I have been fighting against this symptom of low levels of effort for half a century. You can, too.

My children became highly opinionated adults*, in part because I told them when they were toddlers that if they said “I dunno,” I would take that to mean that they needed to stop what they were doing and learn about what they didn’t understand. If they said: “I dun care,” I would translate that into their saying, “I don’t care enough to make a make choice.” Therefore, I would make the choice for them. Perhaps I would decide that they would not get any treats, or that I would give them what I knew they liked least.

If what I asked them about truly did not matter to them, they would be all right with whatever I chose for them.

They learned when it did matter they needed to speak up, be heard, make a choice.
They learned to decide when to be committed to determining the outcome.

*Some would say they dunno if that is such a good thing. Therein lays a good part of the problem.

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Why Monday Morning Blues During Happy Hour Sunset?

How could they be my friends and spend a lovely Sunday evening (while they could have been watching a magnificent sunset change from vibrant colors to muted tones) talking about how they were dreading going to work the next day. Both very intelligent, well-paid professionals were planning for their Monday Morning Blues.

“Why don’t you find jobs that you would love to do?” I asked, even though I knew the answer.

“It’s not that I don’t like my job, I would just prefer not to work,” one said.

“My job is filled with joy,” I said, realizing this would ruin their fun in complaining about their jobs, and make me an outsider. “Monday mornings are great, because I get to dive in to what I love doing.”

“You are not normal,” said the second, with a tone close to disgust, “I have to work at my stressful job until I can get my full retirement, because we want to be able to do lots of traveling when I’m done with it.”

“You’re your own boss, Kathy, so you don’t know what it’s like to have to work at a job where you have to do what others decide you should be doing,” said the other person.

“Yes, I created a work situation that gives me the freedom to be myself,” I said, “which, by the way, doesn’t give me retirement benefits. I’ll never retire. I look forward to working at doing something that I love doing for the rest of my life. I’m not waiting to have freedom, I have freedom.”

Eyes rolled and they both ordered another drink.

“You are not normal,” they said, in unison this time – with shared disgust in both their voices. “Part of the fun of Happy Hour is complaining about your job. Stop being a party pooper.”

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