Conative science is a field of study that focuses on understanding and measuring the innate, natural tendencies of human beings. It is a relatively new field that has gained popularity in recent years, particularly in the areas of hiring and talent development.

The origins of conative science can be traced back to the work of philosopher and psychologist William James, who first proposed the idea of a “conative faculty” in the late 1800s. James believed that the conative faculty was responsible for our innate tendencies towards action and decision-making.

In the 1950s, educational psychologist Carl Rogers expanded on James’ work, proposing that the conative domain was a crucial aspect of human behavior that was often overlooked by traditional psychology. He argued that the conative domain, which encompasses our values, beliefs, and natural tendencies, was an important factor in determining how we interact with the world around us.

It wasn’t until the 1980s, however, that conative science began to be applied to practical business settings. Kathy Kolbe, a pioneering figure in the field, developed a new assessment tool called the Kolbe™ Index, which measures an individual’s natural instincts and how they approach problem-solving and decision-making. This assessment has since been used by businesses and individuals around the world to help them better understand their strengths and weaknesses and make more informed decisions about their career paths.

One of the key benefits of conative assessments like the Kolbe™ Index is their ability to identify individuals’ natural strengths and tendencies, rather than just their learned skills or knowledge. This makes them particularly valuable in hiring and talent development, as they can help identify candidates who are naturally suited to a particular role or organization.

For example, companies like Zappos and Southwest Airlines have used the Kolbe™ Index in their hiring processes to identify candidates who have the natural tendencies and behaviors that align with their corporate culture. In a case study published by Kolbe Corp, Zappos reported that using the assessment had resulted in a 90% reduction in turnover among customer service representatives, as well as a 60% increase in employee engagement.

NASA is another organization that has used conative science and the Kolbe™ Index in its talent development programs. In particular, NASA has used the assessment to help identify individuals who are naturally suited to the highly demanding and stressful environment of space travel. By understanding their natural tendencies and behaviors, NASA has been able to select astronauts who are not only highly skilled but also well-suited to the unique challenges of space exploration.

Other companies, such as PwC and Deloitte, have used conative assessments as part of their leadership development programs. By understanding their natural tendencies and behavioral patterns, executives and managers can identify areas where they may need to develop or adapt their leadership styles.

In addition to its applications in hiring and talent development, conative science has also been used in a variety of other fields. For example, sports teams have used conative assessments to better understand their players’ natural tendencies and improve their performance on the field.

Despite its relative newness, conative science has already made a significant impact in a variety of industries. Its ability to identify individuals’ natural tendencies and behaviors has proven valuable in hiring, talent development, leadership development, and other areas. As businesses and organizations continue to seek out new ways to optimize their operations and maximize their talent, it seems likely that the use of conative assessments will continue to grow and evolve.

Xyon Global‘s hiring platform centers on conative science and as such we are Kolbe™ Certified Consultants. Taking this approach as a staffing agency allows us to assess not only if the person CAN do the job but if they SHOULD do the job!

Utilizing Kolbe’s scientific assessments are industry-leading companies such as NASA, Verizon, Intel, Hershey, American Red Cross, and countless others. All are focused on identifying the best talent, while internally aligning teams within their natural strengths.

Companies know Human Capital is their greatest cost and greatest profit generator. By ensuring only the best talent is invited inside and also aligning existing employees to their natural strengths – profit and synergy follow.

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