I grew up on a sheep station in the far north of South Australia.  Growing up as the only boy in a family of six children meant I spent a lot of time working with my father on the land.  I loved growing up in the country but found that the mechanical side of things was not naturally something I was good at.  I think my father struggled with this given that I am one of the few boys of my extended family not to go back to being part of or running a sheep and a cattle station.    However, it has worked out very well on all accounts as I have found something that I love doing and have strengths in which is all that I do at BRS.

Fast forward 25 years and not much has changed with my own house when it comes to fixing things.  When I am on holidays or on the weekends around home, I tend to make myself look busy in the garage by fixing things, cleaning the pool, mowing the lawn or other activities that require mechanical and maintenance abilities.  These activities I tend to be able to manage but I soon get in to trouble when I take on projects at home that require a little more nous than pushing the mower.

One of these projects very recently was the installation of wall bracket shelfs in a new room.  A pretty simple exercise for those who are handy around the house you would think; but for me, I turned what was a relatively simple activity in to a mess.  The mess ended up being six holes in a new wall with the bracket not installed and us looking to employ someone who knows what they are doing to fix up the wall and install the wall bracket shelfs.  Arthur came in within minutes, covered up my mess and did a terrific job of putting up the shelves.  He was affordable, efficient and effective and seemed to enjoy what he was doing.  This was interesting to watch but harder to accept given the perception that all men are mechanically minded which is clearly not the case for me.

What is interesting around this is that I have known for a long time that I am not good with handyman activities and general work that requires tools fixing things.  I have tried very hard to get better at these things, buying new tools and toys to reside in the shed and looking to do things myself even though it takes me much longer to do them.  The reality is that I don’t enjoy them which makes the task harder to do and deliver upon.  I also frustrate others around me with the charades and commitments I make to fixing things!

The insights around this really struck home last week in a BRS team workshop on the Kolbe tool (www.kolbe.com), which focuses on assisting you understand your natural mode of operation (MO).  The Kolbe Index results assess how the conative part of your brain/mind drives your actions. Kolbe doesn’t have anything to do with what your social style is or how smart you are. It’s how you will and won’t naturally take action. People who’ve taken the Kolbe Indexes have become more confident, more energetic and more powerful – just from understanding their natural talents.

What I learnt from this workshop confirmed what I have known for a long time.  That is, there are things I have natural strengths in such as kicking off a new venture or new project with a client or developing up a strategy and vision for a bid or organisation.  These natural strengths are where I need to play most of the time and when I do it benefits me and others I either work with or live with.  Where I deviate from my natural mode of operation, I do not perform as well.  I tend to procrastinate or do an average job and get in the road of people that are much better in that mode of operation than I am.  What is different now to when I was growing up is that I am energised by this self-awareness. I understand where I need to focus and do this well.  I am progressively outsourcing and delegating activities at work and home to others where it does not play to my strengths.   I am looking for new team members that have different modes of operation to me to ensure we have balance in the team to deliver upon our projects for our clients.   This allows me to have more time focussed on the things I enjoy, spend time with those that matter to me and not drain my energy trying to do things to meet others expectations.

This insight is important for leaders at all levels of bids, projects and organisations.  You need the self-awareness to understand your mode of operation, preferences and other key insights that tools like Kolbe, MBTI, Human Synergistics, DISC and others give you.  From here, you need to have the courage to let go of activities that don’t align to your strengths or MO and delegate or outsource to others who love those activities.  For me, this is a critical key to enhanced effectiveness and is as important as effective time management in truly leveraging your natural instincts and preferences to benefit yourself, your team and organisation.

I won’t be fixing a shelf again soon, but I am more than comfortable with this and I will still go to Bunnings because I love the sausages!  I will spend that “free” time coaching my children’s sports teams or doing other activities where I can add value to others that are important to me.

Have a think about what you think your MO is and gain the self-awareness that you need to be more effective and energised by what you do.    Let go of the feeling that you need to do something because you feel you have to do it and focus on the natural strengths and MO that you were built for.

If you would like to learn more about the Kolbe Assessments, please have a chat with one of our team members +61 8 8212 5752.