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Ontario Grain Farmer Magazine is the flagship publication of Grain Farmers of Ontario and a source of information for our province’s grain farmers. 

Business side: Measuring instincts


Michael Bossy, President, Bossy Nagy Group

Kolbe Corp is a publishing and consulting company that provides materials to help people identify their instinctive talents. I am a Kolbe Certified™ Consultant which means that I am trained to help people use these resources and apply them to their lives and businesses. The Kolbe A™ Index is an assessment that measures your conative strengths. Founder and CEO Kathy Kolbe has proved that these instincts do not change over time, are not hereditary and are not connected to gender, income, religion, country of origin, etc.

There are three parts of the mind: cognitive, affective, and conative. Most people are familiar with the cognitive which references what you know, or your natural smarts and experiences. The feeling, or affective, part includes your willpower, core values, and beliefs. These two parts can be measured by common IQ and personality tests. But what is missing is the answer to this question: when you are free to act, what will you and will you not do? The third part — our conative, or doing, instinct — is what Kolbe measures. 


The Kolbe A™ Index consists of 72 questions about what you will and will not do. The Index tests you against four Kolbe Action Modes® and then gives you a ranking between one and 10 for each mode. A score of one represents that you are resistant to that mode and 10 means that you initiate through that type of action. Your instincts kick in when you are faced with a problem and this Index explains how.

  1. Fact Finding mode is about how you gather and share information, with the instinct to probe.
  2. Follow Thru mode is focused on how you organize things. The instinct is to arrange and pattern.
  3. Quick Start mode deals with your willingness to take risks, with the instinct to innovative.
  4. Implementor mode is about how you handle three-dimensional space and tangibles. The instinct is to demonstrate.

When I work with farms and agri-businesses who are in transition or facing another challenge, I start by completing a SWOT analysis to determine strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Communication and human resources are often listed as two of the most significant issues. It could be that a mother and daughter are not talking to each other or that a father is upset because his son completes farm tasks differently than he does. In those cases, I would lead the family or group through the Kolbe A™ Index to determine natural instincts.

Each Kolbe Mode of Action® communicates differently. High scores in Fact Finder means that you like written words and excel at measuring pros and cons. Strength in Follow Through suggests that you can design systems and patterns and that you like to see information in graphs and drawings. Quick Start is both verbal and visual, meaning adlibbing and talking with your hands. If you are an Implementor, you like props and communicate well using working models.

Farm businesses can use tools like Kolbe to learn a lot about people’s strengths and understand how to improve communication and overall relations.

One of the most effective ways I have seen this used is in a situation where there was poor communication and the leaders realized that the group must be on the same page in order to continue growing the business. The solution surfaced when many people actually changed jobs, moving to positions that they were naturally better suited for.

In this case, the Index was completed by all participants and I used the Kolbe System™ tool called RightFit™ to create a description of each farm job. This assessment then provides a range of indexes best for that role. Tools like RightFit™ along with the Kolbe B™ Index and Kolbe C™ Index can bring clarity to hiring and also to matching existing people with the right job for them. Do your natural instincts match with the tasks you are currently responsible for?

The Kolbe tools recognize that everyone can contribute differently. I am ranked nine in Quick Start and one in Implementor. When I was working on the farm with my dad I would walk by the cultivator and he would ask me why I did not stop to fix the loose part. From a cognitive perspective, I knew that the part was loose and I knew how to fix it but I did not stop and do it because I do not initiate that way at all. He did. Now, at Bossy Nagy Group, I have all staff keep their Index results on their desk. When a new project comes up, I use this information to determine who would be the best suited to take it on.

Every problem is a people problem, even on the farm. For all involved, tools like the Kolbe A™ Index can help to determine what you will and will not do, where you can provide value, how you can avoid stress, and how you can maximize workplace interactions.

The Kolbe A Index can be completed online at I recommend that you engage a consultant like me to interpret your results and work with your family or team to make the most out of the data. A Consultant Network list with contact information is available on the Kolbe website.


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