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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High School Musical by MO?

When people ask me about the beginnings of my leadership theories, they’re usually surprised that it started with a high school musical.

In 1957, I was a part of an extraordinary adventure. Over 200 kids at New Trier High School, Winnetka, IL, wrote and produced a musical comedy, performing it for several nights running. The annual show was known as Lagniappe, a Cajun word meaning a little bit extra or something more. It was developed from scratch each year.

For me, it was the something more that no MBA program could have provided. As co-director of Lagniappe, I experienced the innovative process from brainstorming about what type of show to do (ce.g. musical review or comedy sketches) to selecting and leading a group of amazingly talented young lyrists, composers, singers, actors, choreographers, dancers, salespeople, set builders, lighting experts, costumers, choral directors, orchestra members, props people and numerous other essential crew members

My co-director and I selected those who originated the music and lyrics based on challenges we created and sample solutions we received. Given the talent we realized was available, we decided to take on the challenge of having all original songs. Auditions were tense  with over 400 students trying out or applying for roles in cast and crews. We recruited some whose efforts we’d seen  in other school projects such as the newspaper, sports, government, debate and  the arts.

Ann-Margaret may have had her start in musicals with us. (She had a last name then, and as a sophomore, was considered a risky choice. We put her in the chorus.)

Over months of working together, our efforts became collaborative, self-determined, persistent, persuasive, and passionate about seemingly impossible goals. Because we were dependent upon one another, we began looking after one-another with an inordinate amount of compassion (which dissipated after the show, but proved the possibility).

During that time, I began writing short quips about the natural abilities or “Creative bent” as I called it, of those involved. I had an ever-present clip board with tasks I’d check-off on the front of pages, and notes-to-self about how to deal with the creative needs of individuals/groups on the back. (Would that I never did throw anything away, as some believe.)

I recall making a list of the people who I could count on to be precise in everything they did. They argued  about specifics that improved the final production – and I rarely sat through the entire discussion. Sure enough, many became scientists or lawyers. In current emails, these are the people who have detailed  memories about those debates. For instance  Dick Wirtz, our musical director, is still weighing the pros and cons of the show’s title:

We went around and around on the title.  Some of us thought “On the Rocks” was good because (1) Laurentz was approached by Duke Boniface through the “towering Alps” (lyric) so it must be in the mountains somewhere and (2) Laurentz was broke.  Others thought that sounded too much like the title of a previous show (On the House?) and the title ought to be “In the Year 1173.”  I argued against that because I thought the audience would mistakenly believe that the show was set in the year 1173.  My side won.  In retrospect, I think we should have lost.

Another list was of the quick-take ad libbers. They were fun to let loose on ideas, but a challenge to keep to the final script. I predicted they’d do their own thing at some point and many of them did become entrepreneurs, PR people, TV personalities.

Many Lagniappe ’57 participants are now communicating about the difference the show made in their lives. It didn’t make any of us different from who we were, it gave us confidence  to BE who we are. We were able to celebrate our differing contributions and share a sense of purposefulness that brought out our natural strengths – our MOs.

In an email this week from a cast member Laura Coleman Keith:

I know a lot of the wellness I feel about being me can be attributed to my participation in Lagniappe, where being a part of the team rounded me out.  It taught me about talent and genius, which I was able to see close up.  A person whom I wouldn’t have suspected of having gifted skills, nor someone I would probably never have known, I got to be around and appreciate in awe… I loved being there with you.

Free from the confinement of the traditional classroom requirements, we literally did our own thing – and made it work.

Lagniappe was more than just a little bit extra. It was an extra-curricular activity, done without the hovering of faculty members or parents that gave a group of high school kids the self-confidence to act on our own instincts or natural abilities — our innate conative strengths..

Lessons learned during my leadership role in this student-produced project provided a foundation for my life’s work. 

How often are today’s students given the freedom necessary for this level of thought and self-discovery?

UPDATE: Several Lagniappe ’57 alums are putting together a CD and libretto from the show. Next you may see us take it to Broadway!

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It’s Not What You Think

A publicist recently suggested that he’d love to help me tell the world about my work with cognitive styles. My response was not kind or gentle.

What he said to me was like telling a dedicated vegan that he’d be happy to help her crusade to get people to eat more beef.

I realize the guy was just showing a common ignorance. I certainly understand that most people don’t know or care about the conative domain of the mind. To them, I might seem like a crusader or missionary with a pretty esoteric purpose.

What the guy said was also like telling the mother of three children that he’d be happy to help the pretty one succeed.

I care equally about the cognitive, affective, and conative dimensions of the mind. But the mental sibling that has been overlooked for almost a century is the one to which I have devoted a great deal of time and energy. I’m determined for it to get the respect it needs and deserves. It hurts to my core when people ignore it – and focus on the more familiar, and therefore more attractive of the triplets – the cognitive kid.

What he said to me was also like telling the person who created the secret formula for Coke that he’d be happy to charge her money to get the world to drink more Pepsi.

No, I wasn’t charming or gracious. But I did invite him to submit a proposal if he wanted to help me accomplish my actual goals.

The long-term colleagues in my life are people who are attracted to rather than intimated by my outspoken passion for the work that needs to be done.

My work isn’t about what people think. And it isn’t about styles that come and go. It’s about the consistent, persistent way people need do what they DO.

I told the guy where to go.

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Conative Biases

Ignorance of often the cause of biases. Conative ignorance has kept us from refuting numerous harmful myths which fuel gender, age and racial biases.

Women are not less strategic than men.

There are as many females as males who were born with the weighing-the-pros-and-the-cons instinct (initiating Fact Finders).

So, there’s no logic to the myth that men are by nature better managers. Since there are no differences in conative natures between the genders, there is no natural difference in how they would manage. Cultural expectations and requirements can lead to restraining the use of the conative strengths – so people seem to fit the stereotypes.

Men aren’t handier.

Not as a group. 20% of them are just as klutzy as the 20% of woman for whom a tool box is a space holder.

Why should any guy, whether conatively empowered as an initiating Implementor – or not – have to deal with broken stuff and put the IKEA things together?

And why should a young girl who is blessed with the drives of an initiating Implementor be dubbed a Tom Girl?

It’s just not true that we become less innovative as we age. We may get cranky about others not paying attention to our off-the-chart Quick Start methods, but innate innovators never stop coming up with alternatives. Ageism is a widespread cause of economic loss when the elderly are laid off or put out to pasture instead of being encouraged to add their wisdom to their innovations.

Don’t trust a car just because it’s made by those supposedly detailed-oriented people. No culture, nation or race has a corner on any conative MO. There are as many slip shod Germans as there are non-entrepreneurial Chinese people. Research shows the same distribution of instinctive capabilities around the globe.

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How She Really Does It with Koren Motekaitis

Listeners can learn from other peoples journeys. “How She Really Does It” provides listeners an opportunity to learn from others so they can empower their own lives.

Recently I served as a guest on Koren’s show where we discussed how  understanding your conative strengths (instinctive patterns) can help you live a successful life.

Tune in and listen to this podcast!


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Resumes No Longer Reality

Never has the productivity of every employee been more important to employers. Having to do more with less means having to get it right with any new hires management decides to make.

For decades the #1 step in the selection process has been reviewing resumes. Now: Employers report that 72% of job holders don’t live up to their promising resumes.*

Reference checks have become almost useless because of legal considerations and listing of companies that no longer exist. Fact checking is tedious and past job titles sometimes nonsensical. The terms “consultant” and “self-employed” are used to mask periods of unemployment. Trying to figure out whether the claims a person makes about skills, natural abilities and previous successes is nearly impossible.

Kathy Kolbe pinpoints the publication of the best-selling What Color is Your Parachute? as the beginning of the end of resumes as useful tools in selection.

Richard Bolles’ advice led to a Key Word Syndrome and a standardized format that masks the reality of candidates’ abilities. He advised people plop in popular words – and those became the common qualities people claimed.” Kolbe says. “As the sales of his book grew, so did the impossibility of distinguishing one resume from another.”

“I especially loved the person whose cover letter claimed: ‘I’m a detial person.”

“Enough!” Kolbe said, “I was convinced that Kolbe Corp needed to develop a useful and foolproof selection tool. One that reports the authentic strengths of job candidates.”

Now candidates who want to describe their validated conative abilities can provide copies of their Kolbe A™ Index results, or the appropriate phrases from it.

Employers who want to avoid being disappointed in new hires because of false expectations can rely on Kolbe’s RightFit™ program.  See @

*USA Today, August 18, 2009


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Multitasking Doers and Doubters

Opinions about multitasking are biased by your conative MO.  So is your natural ability to do it.

My recent informal survey shows over 90% of people who initiate Follow Thru actions are Doubters who consider multitasking “Bad.” They seem to have difficulty even conjuring up the possibility that multitasking is a sensible way for anyone to behave. Not surprising, since they’re naturally orderly, follow sequential patterns, and rarely deviate from a step-by-step plan.

Those with the Kolbe problem solving strength to naturally adaptresistant Follow Thrus – are the Doers who overwhelmingly praise multitasking as an “Excellent” way to get more done. They value being able to keep lots of balls in the air at one time.  Some, however, have apparently read the media tirades against doing it, and just give it an “OK.” One poor guy said he knew it was “Bad” – but he couldn’t keep himself from doing “it.”

Natural multitaskers have been criticized since grade school by their predominantly Follow Thru insistent teachers. How-to study, how-to plan a project, how-to do just about anything is generally taught through an anti-multitasking approach. When’s the last time you heard an instructor say: “Go ahead and try this while you’re also doing something you actually enjoy doing.”

Multitaskers have had to put up with:

  • a university professor (who admits he couldn’t multitask if he wanted to)
  • who studied just 12 students from one pysc class
  • with a cognitive test (had to have right answers on both math and language questions when topics kept switching)
  • and came to the conclusion that switching mental focus takes too much time
  • which resulted in media headlines that trashed multitasking

[See: Why Most Persistent Multitaskers Perform Badly (NY Times):]

I won’t call my survey “research.”  But it’s been interesting. I asked thousands of people to rate multitasking on a scale from Excellent to OK or Bad.

To date:

Only one person known to be an insistent Follow Thru rated multitasking as “Excellent.”

Over 90% resistant Follow Thrus rated multitasking as “Excellent.”

Any one want to participate in a “blind” study, where people rate the value of multitasking before they know their Kolbe result, then find out their result later?


You’re multitasking when you simultaneously:

Listen to a lecture while writing on another topic

Change a diaper while talking w/ another child

Pull weeds while BBQing and talking on the phone

Fix machinery while teaching someone how to do it

Watch a movie while text messaging and eating popcorn

The non-multitasker is like a guy I know —  a 9 in Follow Thru — who is constitutionally unable to carry on a conversation and put food on his fork at the same time. Or the accountant who can’t be responsible for the accuracy of her numbers if she has to answer the phone while doing the books.

No-Multitasking Tasks

Switching what you’re thinking about is a cognitive process. Doing multiple things at one time is a conative process. Creativity requires using both processes.

A No-Multitasking Task is one that for safety or common sense reasons, requires your full cognitive attention – with little switching and no conative multitasking.

For instance: You ought not to be striving for creativity when you’re driving a car. That’s an example of a No-Multitasking Task. So is reading the dose when giving medicine, listening to or giving directions, using a dicing mandoline or acetylene torch.

Conables ™ Tips for Multitaskers

When multitaskers’ form of creativity is inappropriate and disapproved (most standardized testing, and way too many classrooms and meetings), it’s important for them to learn Conables ™ Tricks for turning this so-called disadvantage into an advantage. Better to make it a game than lose your competitive advantage.

In a classroom or meetings

  • Imagine the speaker is the leader of a rock band, and watch every move she’s making — so you can come in with the right tune (answer or question) at the right time.
  • Pick three rather unusual words that interest you. Guess how often they’ll be used during one session, then count to see how close you were.
  • Write brief descriptions of the emotions or thoughts that you think are going on in others peoples’ heads. Tie them to specific people.

You’ll find Conables Tips that tie to your MO on your Kolbe A ™ Index result. Stick to those that are recommended. (I take no responsibility for some of the dangerous ones others make-up!)


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What’s Best Idea You Never Had?

Don’t answer this question by sharing an idea you had but didn’t use. That idea has come and gone.

“What’s the best idea you never had?” requires that you have to think of something you’ve never thought of before and share it in the form of an idea, not a question, fact or judgement.

What is an idea? It’s a thought or concept, completly devoid of action or intent to act. Aalso has flat affect.

Let me think? What’s a good idea I’ve never had before???

Doing improv , maybe like stand up comedy or a TV series, based on a variety of  conative MO in unque settings. OK. I gotta run with this:

What’s a 9823 doing when his dog gets loose in cemetery?

Hliarious. Right? Yes. But sad, too.

“Oh no, don’t poop there, that’d be disrspectful. Don’t get in that mound of dirt, you’ll get filthy! Stop, it’s sooo imappropriate to be running around in here. ”

How about a 2297 kid showing his Dad (8822) how to build a bird house?
Or three highy insistent Quick Starts who are trying to avoid one-upping each other at a reunion?
Could be a party game for people in the conative “know.”

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Nuggets of Kolbe Wisdom-Pop Beads for the Elevator Pitch

I still don’t do a good job answering the question: What do you do? In fact, it gets harder every year.

It was so easy when I could say: I write and publish materials for gifted kids. Piece of cake for PR. Every media person I talked to either thought of him or herself as gifted, or had a gifted child/g’kid/sibling. Sooo simple to personalize for them.

Then I had to go mess up the message with the conative stuff. Couldn’t be a worse word. Too much like cognitive — only uglier. Too many keystrokes. Too complex. Too abstrract. Too unknown.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, I had to make the decision to apply conation to kids, adults, businesses, teams,  brain research, health, education, productivity, creativity, synergy……STOP!  We’re on the 77th floor and I still don’t know what you do or for whom you do it.

Twitter is changing my story telling.  I’m finding ways to unearth the Kolbe Wisdom, nugget by tiny little  nugget. Some of my tweets delight me because I have no idea where I was going with them until the words pour from my fingertips. Some frustrate me because I started out with what I thought was an important idea and it turned out sounding mundane. Some challenge me because I’m determined to counter twittering by others that I think gives misinformation.

Oops, sorry Follower. I didn’t mean to insult you. But you’re wrong — and what you say could mislead some pretty fragile people out there.

Oops, not my job to edit others’ ideas — and coming from me, who the coined the Arrogant Attitude Disability syndrome,  it’s especially hypocritical.

Oops. I just want to tell the world that knowling conative strengths can make such a difference in lives — but I may be turning people off in the process.

Biggest Oops of all –would be  if I didn’t  keep honing in on the ability to communicate the Kolbe Wisdom in little nuggets — one quick elevator ride at a time.

Liked tonight’s last tweet: Creativity is sparked by mission and driven by conative purpose

But Oops, there are so few people who will know that I’m referring to the upper levels of the Kolbe Dynamynd ™ Hierarchy of Effort.

I think I’m gonna try to pick out the shinniest nuggets of the Kolbe Wisdom, string them together and wear them around my neck. Maybe they could be like those beads that pop apart– each with it’s own url– like a secret password to find out more about it. I could pop them into the conversation — or tweet.

James??? Collaborator. Help me make it happen! ASAP.

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No Such Thing As Can’t

As a young girl I was was told what girls “can’t” do.  I figured the list didn’t apply to me.

As a severe dyslexic I was told “You can’t write, so stay away from things that require it.”  That’s precisely why I majored in journalism at one of the top J schools.

As the youngest of four I was told, “You can’t do that until you get older.” So, I got older!

As a theorist without a PhD I was told, “You can’t expect academics to pay attention to you.”  So I validated their  strengths and they wanted to hear more.

As a mom with no extra cash I was told, “You can’t start a business without money.” So I did free commercials for my banker.

As a publisher I was told, “You can’t afford to print all the books you need for a respectible sized catalog.” So I wrote catalog descriptions for numerous new  books — and wrote the ones  that sold well.

As a female CEO, I was told by a late ’80 Amer Mgt Assn instructor, “You can’t stay as the only woman in my class because I can’t use my standard stories when you’re here.”  So, I became a consultant to the AMA.

As a grandmother, I’ve been told, “You can’t do it all. You have to chose between working  full time and being active in your grandkids’ lives. ”  So, I do what I did when I was told the same thing as a working Mom. I do what I believe I was meant to do.

As the author of the Kolbe Index, I wrote the individualized results so you won’t find there’s anything you “can’t” do. It explains how your can best do what you were meant to do.

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Add Your SAT & MO to databank:


Please  add any comments under the SAT blog, then the following info: (I’ll share the results in another blog)

 Grade Point Ave in college:

SAT score:

Kolbe MO: (four numbers)


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Just Cus I Wrote It Doesn’t Mean I Have to Read It

A prolific author I met with today was joyful when I told him there’s a book I’ve written that I’ve never read. He’d felt guilty about the one he’s never read. For me, it’s because the publisher destroyed the creative process and my not wanting to relive the pain.

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Trusting Your Instincts is an Act of Faith

I trusted my instincts yesterday and made a commitment to a project led by a man I’ve never met in person. That’s after turning down several people who I really admire who have wanted me to be involved in things they’re doing.  Living by my own theories makes it easy for me to say “Yes” when my instincts drive me toward that decision.

 For me, it’s harder to say “No” when my instincts try to take me against my desires.

I didn’t trust my instincts yesterday when they told me not to trust the plumber who showed up instead of his boss who I’d called. I wanted to get the problem fixed ASAP.

Six hours later the “one hour job” still wasn’t done right. Another case of literally paying for letting my positive desires override my negative gut reaction.   

If  we stop to think about it, we can side-track our best instinct-based deicisions. When we think about it after the fact, it seems so obvious what we should and shouldn’t have done.

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Healthy communications with your doctor


Heath care costs soar when patients don’t do what they’re told. Conative MOs forecast what patients will/won’t do.

If your conative MO is an 8 or more in Fact Finder, tell your doctor it isn’t personal & go get the other opinions.

If your conative MO is resist Fact Finder, ask your doctor for the 3 things you most need to know. Be polite & just take all the written stuff.

If your conative MO is to Facilitate, beware of telling health care professionals what you think they want to hear.  

If your conative MO is more than 8 in Follow Thru tell your doctor how long it will take you to get better and the regimen you’ll follow to do it.

If your conative MO is Quick Start w/ resist Implementor, tell your doctor you need competitive physical therapy with  lots of protective padding.

 If your conative MO is a combo of Fact Finder/Quick Start tell your doc not to give  you the same old routine. Give you data on new solutions.

Next time you see your doctor, ask if s/he wants to know what makes you tick.

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