Category Archives: Business

Kathy Kolbe’s blog entries regarding Business uses

What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Family Member

What’s worse than having to fire a key employee?
Having to fire a key employee who is a family member.

Even though your son is the best data analyst you know, you should not hire him unless you can answer “Yes” to the following Key Questions:



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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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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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Power of Resistance

Natural resistances in the way you act, react and interact (in other words, the way you get “Get Conative”) are essential to your being at your best.

  • Trust a conative strength to resist and you will find yourself avoiding problems.
  • Resistances are as necessary to making good decisions as trusting your methods for taking the initiative.
  • Natural resistances have nothing to do with your personality.

A major detriment in our current Good-Job culture is that we over-reward taking initiatives that involve low levels of effort, and under-reward efforts that require a conative resistance. This happens even after a resistance has prevented a nonproductive, even potentially harmful initiative. Who noticed?

Our culture, which notices and praises emotions, often mistakes a constructive resistance with a negative attitude.

What happens when we don’t benefit from the natural counter-balance of our instincts to resist initiatives?

  • Academic programs have too much analysis/paralysis
  •  Large institutions have too much bureaucracy
  •  Innovators sell before they have a reliable product or service (think vaporware)
  •  Physical protectors construct solutions that come with too high a price to be realistic.

Pay attention to how you use your resistant strengths in your conative MO (modes of operation), and pat yourself on the back for having the gumption to do it. You’ll notice how unlikely it is in today’s world that you’ll get praise from others.

Also watch the outcomes. You’ll find they will payoff for you – and that others benefit, too.

If your Kolbe A ™ Index result finds you prevent in a Kolbe Action Mode, here are the possible ways you could prevent problems (you can complete it at

Fact Finder Resist: You solve problems despite a lack of specific information, and cut into complex discussions to clarify issues.

Follow Thru Resist: You work well despite constant interruptions, and mix things up so systems aren’t too boring and repetitious.

Quick Start Resist: You stick with what’s working despite others’ desires for change, and avoid taking unnecessary risks.

Implementor Resist: You are able to make buying decisions despite not being able to see the thing in person, and can imagine what the results will be.

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Conation has It’s Place

Where does conation live?

Conation is within you. It’s not just some knee jerk reaction. Or effort that requires elbow grease. Or thing that’s isolated in your guts. It oozes out of you and bursts forth from every pore. It’s probably in your head. Your brain, specifically. That’s where scientists logically place it, because how else could it inhabit every single thing that you do?

Where do you see it?

I see it in everything I do. It’s like my shadow, yet it precedes me, and roots me as well as trails me.

I especially see it where I live.

  • It’s in the energy of the colors I put on the walls (the more intensity the more it sparks my creativity).
  • It’s in where I put things (neatly, when I’m under stress; all over the place when I’m in my groove).
  • It’s in the number of projects I have out or stuffed in closets (if you can’t seen ’em, I’m in-between ’em).
  • It’s in how healthy my plants look (their wellness shows I’m getting down time)).
  • It’s in the degree of formality with which I set the table (the more of that the less of me).
  • It’s in the compromises I make with my husband (I can’t reach where he put the spices).
  • It’s in the whimsy all around me (don’t expect me to explain).


So how do you move you from a place that is/was you? How do you leave a home that you created, that you made perfect for your conative needs, that brought you and your spouse joy? How do you leave it without leaving a part of you behind? How do you move on?

The house I’m putting behind me is the one that helped us create a nurturing environment for a blended family. It’s the nest into which I brought my newborn grandchildren. Its bedrooms housed their hundreds of sleepovers and many session of Camp Kolbe. Its  Conasium(tm), which I was compelled to build, has a 3/4 size stage, art corner,  technology oozing out of the walls, and natural light from all directions, including overhead.  It has the pond I personally lined with cement and the swiming  pool with the linear waterfall I made so  kids could swim thru it- and they called their ‘carwash’; and a wood burning oven for  individually designed over-the-top pizza creations, and the tree house my son-in-law built around the palm tree because it needed to be left it free to sway.

When I see potential buyers look at all the gardens I created and say “Looks like too much work,” and just look, not skip around the soft surface “race track” in the grandkids play ground, I realize they just don’t get it. It’s not built to their MO. It doesn’t fit how they act, react and interact in their lives.

How can I get past the past of this place I created? This place that housed my conative spirit for 18 years?

It didn’t help to think so carefully about what to do with each and everything little thing and hope family and friends would want to take this and that. It didn’t matter that I  love where I now live, and haven’t had a moment of regret or sadness about the decision to move on. 

It took getting conative — taking action — about leaving that  house before I actually moved my conative self completely out it.

Yesterday I found myself with a paint brush in hand, personally painting over the colors I had so carefully chosen. I personally took down the large magnetized white board where grandkids had posted the names of their plays and roles they played (and sometimes used the wrong kind of markers, making it messy to others’ minds). I personally chose the shade of off-white for the carpeting and walls in all the bedrooms. I personally packed up the last of the whimsy.

Now the bones of the wonderfully designed house show through. It’s ready to house someone else’s conative creativity. Mine has moved on.


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Life without Rue: The Snoopy Factor

Life doesn’t have to be so difficult. Work doesn’t have to take unending effort. Anger and frustration don’t have to run rampant. Conflicts don’t need to fester. Dreams shouldn’t be squashed. You can be at your best without besting someone else.

There is a way to un-complicate over-saturated lives. There is a way to focus on who we are and what matters most. It’s the Snoopy Factor.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all had the self-assuredness to think the kind of thought Snoopy had when Lucy shouted “You’re just a dog and will always be a dog!” And Snoopy’s thought: “How reassuring!”

The Snoopy Factor is the simple truth that we are who we are, and that’s all we need to be. It’s being able to celebrate who we are with something akin to that wonderful little dancing spin Snoopy does when  he’s pleased with himself.  It’s trusting our guts enough to lie on top our world and do nothing — as he does when stretched out on his dog house perch; or go out and fight the good fight – as he does when he takes on the Red Barron approach.

The Snoopy Factor is reassurance that we, too, can do what we do best, encourage others to do what they do best – and let go of the rest. And that we can be a part of the gang, make a significant contribution to the action, and be totally loveable without following any self-improvement advice. We are all that we need to be.

Lucy, like many self-help gurus, pulls the ball away just when Snoopy actually thinks he’s going to kick it. She’s convinced she’s doing it for his own good, for his character building.  She’s sure he’ll improve himself by doing everything she says he should do.

Lucy tries to advise Snoopy on how dogs need to fetch, roll over, sit up, and play dead. His note-to-self : “But we never take advice.”

To have Snoopy’s impact on the world and the same peace in your own life, you need only to be powered by your own intrinsic MO. What makes you – YOU.

My Personal favorite Snoopyism.

Lucy, criticizing again, commented on Snoopy’s attempts at writing a book:

He had written:

“I will wait for you,” she said.

“I’m not going anyplace,” he said.

“If you don’t go anyplace, I can’t wait for you,” she said.

Lucy tells Snoopy:

“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever read.”

Snoopy thinks to himself:

“I’ll add some footnotes…”

I was reminded of that cartoon when an editor emailed me about my 5 Rules for Trusting Your Guts.  He said: “Tie them more directly to your research and put them in the context of ‘brain science,’ then readers will give them more respect.”

That’s when I decided to publish them without editorial interference. (See 5 Rules for Trusting Your Guts on

A Life without Rue

Instead of ruing the day you did or didn’t trust your guts, celebrate a Joie de vivre — a joy in life: A sense of well-being, completeness, wholeness. Personal truth. Confidence. Playing in the zone.  Being in the Groove.  Indulging yourself in being who you are. A life without regrets.

Rule #1: Act before You Think.

In Snoopy’s life without rue, he trusts his guts, and acts upon them without hesitation, explanation or regret. When things don’t work out as he hopes, he works them into another scenario. He doesn’t fret about what goes wrong because it just creates another opportunity. As in his Red Barron dog-fights, he does what comes naturally, rather than getting strategic – and losing the “moment.”

As he says: “If you think about it, you can’t do it.”

A business person armed with the Snoopy Factor would tackle an economic turn-down as a opportunity to fight the good fight against the personified marketplace, then  retreat to a comfortable place to get well-earned down time before taking on the next battle.

A parent armed with the Snoopy Factor teases and nudges a child, and rounds up [round-up cartoon strip] the little ones, without having to bark out orders or threaten or punish.

The student  armed with the Snoopy Factor is filled with positive self-esteem, hopefulness, courage, wonder – and observes life with the assumption that his way needs no correction.

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Adventures of a Suspected Spy

In 1989, I travelled from Phoenix to my son’s college graduation in Philadelphia; then went on alone to speaking engagements in Singapore (where I purchased cell phones and tape recorders)  and, via Copenhagen, to Belgrade.

There I had a long lay-over before scheduled to go on to Dubrovnik (by way of the Zagreb airport), an historic Yugoslavian seaside community about an hour flight away. My tickets and documents were taken from me upon arrival, causing me discomfort as I walked around the dark, somber, chillingly quiet Belgrade airport. No one gave me eye contact or responded when I tried to purchase a soda.  

As my sense of concern grew, one of many armed military men in the airport indicated I was to follow him to a small room with a window that looked out to the runway, two straight-backed chairs, and a woman sitting behind a counter. I sat there without food or water for five hours.

Finally, the woman, who had made many phone calls, said – very sadly, I thought — “I so sorry, I can’t do nothing to help you.” Then she walked away, leaving my documents in plain view on her desk. I snatched them and darted through the airport onto the only plane I’d seen on the tarmac. With guns pointed at me, I hoped it was the plane to Zagreb, where I would be close to the town where I knew people were waiting for me.

Other passengers were hustled out of the plane as I was surrounded by interrogators who demanded that I tell them who I was and who I was working with. Seems Yugoslavian women my age had hands that looked different from mine, and that they didn’t believe a “normal” woman would travel my route unaccompanied.

After a long time  some passengers returned and the plane took off, with the interrogators still on either side of me. To my great relief, we landed in Zagreb where they all but threw me out the door. No one else got off. Neither did my luggage.

Two men ran up, took hold of my arms and dragged me into a small room in the basement of the airport. It was out of a bad movie: uniformed guy from central casting at a desk with a single light bulb dangling from above. Armed guards on either side. It was unbelievable that they could be serious when they took turns shouting: “Where electronic equipment hidden? Why you take such strange route? Why people want to hear you speak?”

When I broke out in genuine laughter, they seemed to relax a little.

I was sent in a military vehicle to Dubrovnik where I was under house arrest, but allowed to go from my hotel room to the opera house where I was scheduled to work with a group of international business leaders.  None of us were allowed to make calls to the US, but my clients got word to my husband through our Australian office that  I was having an interesting adventure and that they would do what they could to be sure I got home.  They also lent me clothes. I was always tailed by armed guards, and I walked to and from the hotel  with automatic weapons focused on me from roof tops.

 A woman who interpreted sessions between me and Yugoslavian officials attended all of my speeches and seminars. She asked lots of questions about my work that indicated a sincere interest, so I gave her a Kolbe Index and hand scored it for her. When I explained that she had wonderful entrepreneurial instincts she got tears in her eyes. My return trip to the Zagreb airport was the first time we were able to speak without being overheard. Her whispered assumptions of what had happened to me made more sense after I got home and searched for background on the political situation there.

She believed that Serbian leaders in Belgrade thought I had tried to bring listening devises to Croatian separatists in Dubrovnik. When I was let off the plane in Zagreb the leaders there figured it was a set-up so I could to spy on them for the Serbs. She had come to sympathize with me realizing I was a woman with a very different mission than spying for either of them. She said her life was at risk if she was wrong about me.

Two years later war officially broke out between these two groups. Here’s background on why women in both camps may have helped me:  

I got my suitcase back when Air Yugoslavia let me off in New York. All my clothes had been shredded, and the cell phones and tape recorders had been smashed into little bits.

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