Strengths-Based Businesses are Stealing Your People

January 24, 2023

  • Kolbe Wisdom
  • Teams

The best employees have options.  

You saw it through the “Great Resignation,” and even some of the conversation around “quiet quitting” shows that when people don’t have the freedom to use their strengths, or they don’t feel valued and compensated fairly, they burn out, check out — or they leave.  

Turnover costs time and money. The best companies tackle the people part of their business head-on. They know that having the right people in the right seats is based on more than whether somebody has the right experience or is a good culture fit.  

The key to long-term sustained growth is becoming a strengths-based business before other companies steal your people.  

What does it mean to be a strengths-based business?  

Running a business based on strengths means that you’ve identified the strengths of everybody on your team in all three parts of the mind, and you’ve given them the freedom to be themselves. Imagine having a group of people so in-sync with their strengths and roles that work feels joyful or energizing. It’s possible, and when it happens, your organizational growth will feel much more sustainable. 


To start, understand the three parts of the mind:   

  • Cognitive (thinking)
  • Affective (feeling)
  • Conative (doing)

The cognitive is IQ or intelligence — somebody’s skills and experience. This part of the mind is how you know if somebody has the technical ability to do the job or if they can learn new skills.

Next, the affective part of the mind is personality – somebody’s likes, dislikes, values, and motivation. It’s how they prefer to interact with others and potentially whether they share your company’s mission.  

Most hiring and management programs focus only on the cognitive and affective – essentially looking at how smart somebody is and if they’re a culture fit. But research shows that hiring smart people and focusing too much on somebody’s personality isn’t a good predictor of whether they’ll succeed in a role.  

Conation: The Best Predictor of Success in a Role 

Conation may be a strange new word, but it can radically change your business.  

Everybody has four conative strengths, one in each of the Action Modes®, which are the natural ways you take action when striving and free to be yourself. You can consistently spot differences in how each of your people does four things:   

  • The way they gather and share information (Fact Finder)  
  • The way they organize and design systems (Follow Thru)   
  • The way they handle risk and uncertainty (Quick Start)  
  • The way they deal with space and tangibles (Implementor)

The Kolbe A™ Index is the only validated conative assessment, and by getting custom results for everybody on your team, you can avoid making them work against their instinctive strengths.  

Your Rockstars Are Writing with the Wrong Hand  

Your rockstar employees CAN do a lot. In fact, they WILL do a lot if they believe in your company’s mission and want to help your business grow. They’re intelligent and capable, so they’ll do jobs that force them to work against their conative strengths – sometimes for years without complaining! But burnout is inevitable.  

Here’s a quick exercise:  

Grab a pen and a sheet of paper. Print your name.  

How did that feel? Probably pretty easy. If asked to write with your dominant hand all day, you’d barely use any energy.  

Now, print your name again. But do it with your other hand.  

How did that feel? You got it done, but I’m sure it took longer. You had to think about it and use more energy than usual. The final product isn’t fantastic, either.  

When you ask even your most capable people to work against their conative strengths, you ask them to write repeatedly with their non-dominant hand. 

It’s uncomfortable and unsustainable, and the whole business suffers because of it.  

Building a Strengths-Based Business Starts with YOU

The best place to start building a strengths-based culture is by identifying how you and your leadership team naturally get things done. This knowledge will work wonders for delegating and building a core team of people around you who have complementary strengths.  

From there, you can identify the strengths of everyone in your company, optimize how they all work together, and ensure they’re aligned with their roles.  

Once you know these basics, you can maximize productivity and collaboration, hold more effective meetings, and predict when teams will get stuck. You will be amazed at how easy it can be to coach people to be at their best when you need them the most, all by running a strengths-based business.  

Get started by taking our quiz, Are You a Strengths-Based Leader? and find more resources for your team at 

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  • Kolbe Wisdom
  • Teams


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