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Embracing Conation - A Compassionate Leader's Guide to Unlocking Team Potential

In the endless quest for innovation and growth, great entrepreneurs and business leaders understand that the heart of any successful venture lies within its people. The concept of conation, as explored in Karen Gerdes' insightful research "Conation: The Missing Link in the Strengths Perspective," offers a groundbreaking approach to harnessing this human potential.

By integrating the Kolbe conative model into your business, you can foster an environment where creativity, productivity, and satisfaction thrive fully where you can actualize your team's full potential.

Here's how:

Understanding Conation: The Third Facet of the Mind

Conation refers to the instinctual patterns of action that define how individuals tackle tasks and challenges. It stands alongside cognition (thinking) and affect (feeling) as a fundamental aspect of the human psyche, yet it's often the least acknowledged. Recognizing conation opens up new pathways for understanding your team's natural inclinations and strengths.

The Power of the Kolbe Conative Model

The Kolbe model identifies four action modes: Fact Finder, Follow Thru, Quick Start, and Implementor. This framework doesn't just categorize people; it reveals the unique ways they engage with their work and solve problems. For leaders, applying this model means you can create roles and teams that align with the innate strengths of your employees, leading to greater satisfaction and efficiency.

Cultivating a Compassionate Workspace

A compassionate leader seeks to build a company culture that values and respects each individual's natural tendencies, skills and strengths. This approach not only nurtures a positive work environment but also significantly reduces stress and burnout. By embracing conative diversity, you're advocating for a workspace where everyone can thrive by being their authentic selves!

Enhancing Team Dynamics and Creativity

Diverse conative strengths within a team can supercharge your problem-solving capabilities and foster innovation. When team members understand and appreciate their different approaches to work, it cultivates an atmosphere of mutual respect and deeper collaboration. This diversity is your secret weapon for creative solutions and agile responses to challenges.

A Strategy for Growth and Development

Integrating the understanding of conation into your business practices isn't just about optimizing current operations; it's about investing in the future growth of your team and your company. Developing programs that help employees recognize and develop their conative strengths can lead to lifelong learning and adaptability, key traits for any thriving business.

Making Optimal Hiring Decisions

For business leaders, every hiring decision is an opportunity to enrich the team's conative landscape. By considering potential hires' conative profiles, you can ensure a harmonious fit that benefits both the individual and the team. This strategic approach to building your team lays a solid foundation for sustained success and employee fulfillment.


Karen Gerdes' research on conation and the Kolbe model provides a compelling framework for compassionate entrepreneurs and business leaders looking to unlock the full potential of their teams. By valuing and promoting the instinctual strengths of each employee, you can foster a culture of innovation, satisfaction, and growth... as we know, happier people are more productive and ultimately more profitable too!

The journey of integrating conation into your business practices promises a future where everyone can thrive by being true to their natural selves, driving your company toward greater heights of success.

Ready to implement Kolbe into your company? As a certified Kolbe Consultant and Team Specialist, I'm ready to help. Apply to work with me today!

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