This article reviews the Strengths Mastery Advantage, Rich Schefren's branded version of the Kolbe A Index for assessing your personal strengths.
Strengths Mastery Advantage (affiliate link)
Why You Need The Strengths Mastery Advantage / Kolbe A Index
Have you noticed that you are good at some things but bad at others?
Have you seen that some activities come naturally and are so easy but other tasks are a constant struggle?
Have you ever wondered how these "doing or action" strengths impact on the way that you work and earn your living?
If so have you deliberately chosen to work with and emphasise your strengths rather than wasting time and effort trying to adapt to or improve your weaknesses?
That is a lot of questions to start with but I wanted to get you thinking about what you do, what you enjoy doing and you are good at and what you hate doing.
Assessing Your Thinking - Cognitive Assessments
You will be familiar with the ways to assess your ability to think clearly.
There are all the exams we do as we work towards our final qualifications. To some extent success depends on how hard we work at a subject, how much we like it and how well we are taught.
IQ tests were developed to test our ability with numbers, words and shapes so that intelligence could be assessed once a basic level of reading,writing and arithmetic skills had been learnt.
Assessing Your Feeling & Emotions - Affective Assessments
There are various personality tests and the Myers-Briggs test is probably the most famous.
This is based on Jung's psychological types that looks at your personality along four scales:
- Extrovert to Introvert
- Sensing to iNuition
- Thinking to Feeling
- Judging to Perceiving
Based on the test results, you may be classified as an ESTJ or an INFP or one of the other 14 combinations.
Assessing Your Doing - The Way That You Work - Conative Assessments
This is a new one on me and I have been introduced to it by Rich Schefren who is a big believer in the assessing your working strengths and then designing your working life around your strengths.
I first became aware of it through the Business Growth System coaching (affiliate link) and although the forum was buzzing with the power of the Kolbe assessment I ignored the opportunity to do the test.
I am sceptical about these things from my experience with the personality tests. I always think there is a danger that you answer based on who you want to be.
When I bought the Business Acceleration Program (affiliate link) before Christmas I was given another opportunity to take the test and this time I did.
Before I say too much more, I should repeat that I was sceptical but I came out with a score of 8-4-5-2 and this is my overall result:
Your Kolbe A Index result shows you are excellent at making comparisons, documenting information and defining priorities. You can be counted on to research historical details and become an expert in areas of special interest."
Now I think that's pretty accurate and I suspect that it may be the conclusion you have reached if you are a regular reader of my blog.
Discover Your Working Strengths
The Kolbe A Index looks at how you act along four different scales:
- Fact Finder - how you gather and share information.
- Follow Through - the way you deal with, organise and sort information.
- Quick Start - your approach to risk and uncertainty - and whether you stay with what works or experiment to see what happens.
- Implementor - the way we handle things literally from imaging results and thinking conceptually at one extreme to having to touch things to believe it.
Now my 8-4-5-2 score is hopefully starting to make sense.
The 8 on gathering and sharing information shows that I have a particular strength in acquiring, analysing, reviewing and sharing information. While I have written before about my desire to see the big picture before I dive into the detail, I love learning the detail and building up my knowledge.
The next two scores were in the middle, so I'm pretty balanced there.
Finally the last score - bad name as it doesn't really relate to implementing - shows that I am no good at mechanical problems and repairs. I can see things conceptually, imagine what can happen and get help.
Interestingly, there are no bad scores. Everything is a strength in particular situations and I certainly felt good about myself when I finished the assessment and read through the results.
How Does This Affect You?
If you have innate working preferences, styles and strengths then you are better off playing the business game according to the rules where you can win.
In another article I talked about the different physical attributes for different types of athletes, a sprinter, a high jumper, a long distance runner and a shot putter.
If you are naturally a shot putter, you are big and heavy but very strong, then that is what you should do. Try any of the other events and you will struggle.
For employer / employee relationships this means that there has to be a link between the demands of the job and the working strengths of the candidates. Success is likely to come from finding the best fit.
But for an entrepreneur and business owner, it is a bit different.
You are responsible for everything that happens in your business, but you don't have to do everything.
How much more effective would you be if you delegated/outsourced work that didn't fit your natural pattern of strengths?
How much more effective would you be if you concentrated on taking more advantage of your strengths?
Rich Schefren, Strategic Profits & Strengths Mastery Advantage
By working in partnership with Kolbe Corp, Rich Schefren has put together the Strengths Mastery Advantage (affiliate link).
He is very proud of this service and backs it up with an excellent guarantee.
In his blog when he was looking back over 2007, a remarkable year for Rich Schefren and his company Strategic Profits, he rated the development of the Strengths Mastery Program as one of his three biggest achievements.
Tips For Taking the Kolbe A Index
If you decide to take the Strengths Mastery Advantage you will find that you are asked to choose best and worst options out of four statements.
Go with your instinct.
The questions ask you to choose between strengths so you look at them and think "I want to do that, and that, and that..."
So don't try to over-analyse and there are some hard choices. I found it particularly difficult selecting the least likely in some cases.
When you get to the end you will be presented with the report which you can print but not save. You are given the option to email it to other people so I just emailed it to myself so that I have a copy I can go back to.
I recommend that you take the assessment. It will help make it clear in your mind what you should delegate.
I know I feel guilty about passing over some things that I am not very good at but the Strengths Mastery Advantage assessment will take away any guilty feelings.
Your task is to bring together the skills and abilities needed to make your business work efficiently and effectively. By concentrating on your strengths and delegating the rest you will improve both.
In business you don't get an A for effort. You get paid for the results that you achieve and those results depend on your strengths.
That's why it is so important to know what your strengths are and to plan your working life around building on your strengths and not around trying to compensate for weaknesses.
As Kathy Kolbe said "My definition of success is the freedom to be yourself."
I've also written about it on another blog, www.BusinessDevelopmentAdvice.comKolbe A Index And The Strengths Mastery Advantage