Episode 15:The Secret Tool of The Professional Investor


All investors are not created equally. Why do some people excel at real-estate investing while others gravitate to stocks? In this episode, David Kolbe joins Tom to discuss how savvy investors pre-determine their strengths and apply this knowledge to creating wealth.


04:35 – What Is The Purpose Of The Kolbe Assessment?

07:42 – How Do Investors Naturally Take Action?

09:01 – What Are Action Modes?

18:54 – How Do You Assemble A Successful Investing Team?

Learn more about David Kolbe by visiting: http://www.kolbe.com/

Speaker 1: This is The WealthAbility™ Show, with Tom Wheelwright. Way more money, way less taxes.

Tom Wheelwright: Welcome to The WealthAbility™ Show, where we're always learning new ways of making way more money and paying way less taxes. This is Tom Wheelwright your host, founder of WealthAbility™. As I travel around the world with Mr Kiyosaki, we were in Australia doing four different events a few weeks ago with a couple of the other Rich Dad Advisors, and the number one question that comes up every time that we're teaching is, “Where should I put my money?”

I mean, that's like the obvious investment question, right? So today we're actually going to discover what investments could be right for you. This is a key, because what's right for you is not necessarily right for your neighbor, and this is a mistake a lot of people make. A lot of people make this mistake that they think it's all about the investment and the reality is, it's all about the investor and the investor's relationship with the investment.

So today we've got a very special guest, somebody that I've admired, and his mother. This is actually the company that has created the secret weapon that we use with our clients to help them determine how they should invest, and where they're going to be the most successful. Because when I describe investing, we think about what's an amateur investor and what's a professional investor. An amateur investor is somebody who makes a new decision every time there's an investment opportunity. I got $10,000, what do I do with it? That's a new decision. Whereas the professional investor makes a single decision. They know exactly how they're going to invest, and then they just do that same investment over and over again.

If you think about somebody like my friend Ken McElroy, he invests in a certain type of apartment building, in a certain type of location, with certain characteristics and he does that over and over and over again. If there aren't apartment buildings like that, he doesn't invest. That's what he does for a living, because he's a professional investor. So what we want to do is, we want to become a professional investor because as we become a professional investor, our risk goes down, it goes way down, and our returns go way up, and it's a lot more fun.

So the key is what is it that we should be investing in? What's that one thing? For Ken, It's apartment buildings. For me, it's businesses. What is it, that one thing that we should be investing in? How do we discover that? As a special guest we have David Kolbe, and I want to welcome David. David is the president of the Kolbe Companies, and the Kolbe assessment is our secret weapon for helping investors discover what type of investment works for them, and what their role should be. So David, I want to welcome you on the show. Thank you so much for being with us today.

David Kolbe: So glad to be here. Tom, thanks for having me on. I'm really looking forward to chatting with you.

Tom Wheelwright: So David, if you could, would you just give us a two minute overview, kind of the real nuggets of when you look at Kolbe, and of course you grew up with this because your mother invented it, and so this has got to have been a part of your life. I mean, I can only imagine the conversations in your household as you're growing up, Probably, I'm guessing, everything revolved around Kolbe, But how does the Kolbe assessment work? What's the whole purpose of Kolbe assessment?

David Kolbe: The whole purpose is to help people figure out one of the key things that will drive their success that frankly nobody else has talked to them about. It still kind of shocks me that there aren't more people talking about it. So let me start with the big picture. There are basically three main parts of the human mind and the way we operate. Two of them I think pretty much all your listeners know about.

One of them is how smart you are, it's called the cognitive part. So it's what you have learned, your innate intelligence. So if you take an IQ test that looks at it, if you take your series seven securities license exam, that same kind of thing. CPA exam, those are looking at what do you know? How smart are you? We know about that stuff. We go to school for it.

Then there's this other part of the mind called the affective, the emotional. So you maybe have taken something like a Myers Briggs test, or a predictive index or there are scores or hundreds of tests like that. That look at your motivations, your values, your preferences, are you an extrovert or an introvert? What are you afraid of? Those kinds of things. Those two are important, but there's this third part of the mind called the conative. It's not how we think or feel, but it's how we take action. It's how we do things. Kathy Kolbe, my mom, didn't invent that concept, but she kind of rediscovered it.

Thinkers all the way back literally to Plato had talked about these three parts of the mind. But people really hadn't figured out, well, what is it? How do I analyze it in people? How do I then use it to predict behavior in general for people? And more importantly, how do I use it just for me? If this is a part of me that is hardwired into myself, how do I tap into it? So really at the foundation, we're all about helping people understand these instinctive strengths that they have in the way they take action. Then applying those strengths to the things they care about. So if that's business and investing, it's how do you apply it to business and investing? If it's personal applications like your relationships, we can help with that too. But we really focused on business applications for the most part.

Tom Wheelwright: I heard something there, David, two words that really kind of stood out to me. The first is, that this is about how to take action. So when we think about investing, a lot of people go to a lot of seminars and read a lot of books and thank goodness they do. Thank goodness they've read my book, and that's good. But until we take action, we actually don't make any progress. It's nice to know. But until we take action, obviously we don't make any progress. So the first word I heard there was this is all about how we … if I get it right, this is how we naturally take action, right?

David Kolbe: Yeah. And it's an important distinction because as you're saying, you can learn, you can use that cognitive part of your brain all the time, and get information and do analysis. But if you don't pull the trigger, nothing's happening. So by understanding the way you naturally take action, you can tap into what you were talking about. The way to invest that's right for you, that may be different from somebody else. It's not about which sector you're in. Again, that's more of the cognitive side. Or you mentioned Ken McElroy and figuring out, “Hey, this is the kind of apartment that I invest in, and I do it over and over again.” He's built up that knowledge base in that particular kind of asset. But if he thinks it but he doesn't do it, nothing's really happening. So it's all about how we then put it into action.

Tom Wheelwright: Right. And, and then I look at, let's take Ken, Ken and his partner Ross, who, they're very different. I mean, I gotta believe their Kolbe scores are very, very different from each other, and they do different parts of the investing. So if you would kind of explain a little bit, I mean, just if you can really simply David, the four different conative-

David Kolbe: Action modes.

Tom Wheelwright: Action modes?

David Kolbe: Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, we break this conative instinctive part of the mind, the way you take action down into four, what we call action modes. They're all important, everybody has a particular strength in each one of them. The first that we always talk about is what we call Fact Finder. It's the way people gather and share information. It goes from somebody who's what we would call it Preventive Fact Finders. Somebody whose strength is in looking at the big picture.

Tom Wheelwright: That would be me.

David Kolbe: They don't want to get bogged down in all the details. That's a great strength. Sometimes it's not discussed that way, but it certainly is. At the other end of that spectrum is an Initiating Fact Finder. It's somebody who really does details, gathers information, becomes an expert. So in investing you can think about those two. There's one person who really needs to read all the research reports. Then there's another person who says, “You know what? I look at the global picture. Where industries are moving, big, big trends.” That's the way-

Tom Wheelwright: Well, so for example, let's take that first one as a really good example. So, what's your Fact Finder score, David?

David Kolbe: I am an eight, in Fact Finder.

Tom Wheelwright: You're an eight.

David Kolbe: So I am one of those detail oriented people.

Tom Wheelwright: So, you're an eight, and I'm a three. So, I'm a three. Let's say we're both investing and we're thinking, “Okay, we're going to invest in real estate.” What we would want David's role to be in that, would be doing the due diligence. Because when you do the due diligence on a property, you want to know everything about it. You want to make sure no stone is unturned when you're doing that due diligence. So David, with that strength, that natural action mode, is a natural for doing the due diligence. If you want me to due diligence, I'm going to fight it. I'm actually going to see a really big picture here, and I'm actually going to, on purpose, I'm going to ignore some of those facts because they frustrate me.

So what I'm going to look at is, I'm going to look at that … I might be looking at the markets. I might be looking at, well how does this fit in with the rest of the city? Or the rest of even the state, or the rest of the economy? How does this particular project fit? Because I'm going to look at that global picture. So I'm going to look at, how do we make this … this is really a simple type of analysis that I'm doing. But I'm going to rely on people like David to do the due diligence, and I'm going to pull the facts that I need out of that in order to do my job.

David Kolbe: Yeah, I think that's a great description. It also brings up an important point that, almost whatever you're doing, you need to rely on other people because no one person has all of these strengths. So, using the example of the two of us, you know what? There are times where, yeah, I need to rely on people who are going to keep me from getting bogged down in the minutia of a decision or an investment. With you, sometimes you need to rely on people … it's not that you can't do the data gathering and all that detail work. It's that you shouldn't be doing that very much. That's not where your strength lies. So why put you in a position where that's what you're doing 90% of the time? It's just not effective.

Tom Wheelwright: Well, it's not only that. I find for me that if I'm doing something that's not my natural instinct, it wears me down really fast.

David Kolbe: Yeah. We see that over and over.

Tom Wheelwright: I mean, it'll just drain my energy. Whereas if I'm doing something like right now, I'm in my natural conative element right now. So if I'm doing something that I'm following, my natural instincts, my energy just gets higher and higher and higher. So it actually adds energy to me, instead of draining energy. Well, why this is important for investing is because we're never going to do something that we are fighting. It's never going to be something, we're not going to spend the time at it. It's going to wear us out. We're going to go, “Oh, this is so boring,” or “Oh, this is so hard.” Or “Oh, I don't understand this.”

Whereas if we're doing something that is natural for us, then we're going, “Oh wow, this is fascinating.” I mean, for example, David, as you're getting the details of something, you're probably just getting more and more excited the more details you get. Whereas, if I were getting the details of something, it would just literally drain the life force out of me. It's like you say, I can do it, but why would I when it would take so much more energy for me to do that? It's kind of like, why would you ride a bike across the United States when you could fly a plane?

It just makes no sense, and that's essentially what you're doing. You're using that much more energy of your own energy. This is why teams are important. We talk a lot about teams at WealthAbility™, and this is one of the reasons that a team is so important. Because like you said, David, it's literally impossible for anybody to have everything. I mean, you're either one or the other, Or you're somewhere in between, but you're not going to be able to do all of it.

David Kolbe: Yep. Well, let me describe the next one and the transition that I'll use is, you'll be able to tell where Tom and I are on this, because it's easy to get us off onto distractions. We start something, we may not always stick with it in a clear sequential order. The next one is what we call Follow Through, and it's how we deal with systems and structure. And Tom, both you and I are a three, or we would call it … our strength is in counteracting this organization system structure kind of a pattern in people. We have a strength in, and anybody who's on this end of the spectrum, has a strength in being very open ended in taking things as they come, finding shortcuts.

The other end of that spectrum is somebody who creates systems and structures. We call it Follow Through because they follow that pattern. If there's a seven step process to getting something done, they started step one, they go all the way through, they do them in order, and they finished at step seven. Again, you need both of those kinds of people. You and I happen to be the ones who are more open ended and flexible and will start something, and you know what, Tom? We may or may not finish it now.

We're smart enough, I hope, that we know, look, if it's important … hey, I have to file my taxes on April 15th or October 15th, whatever the date may be. We know we have to get it done, it's a real deadline. But some other things, yeah, we started them, but they don't need to get finished. My wife and I are on opposite ends of the spectrum and this one. On my nightstand, I have a bunch of books. I start them, I might not finish them. I'm not in school anymore. I don't have a term paper to write. So if I like it, I finish it. If I don't, I stop. She has one book at a time on her nightstand. What she starts, she finishes. Even though nobody is giving her a test on it. That's just who she is. She needs to follow through and have that closure. So just different approaches there.

Tom Wheelwright: My wife is a nine Follow Through. So she's the type that if … she always makes a list. If she does something during the day that's not our list, she will write it on her list to cross it off. Because it's very important that she's followed through, and she wants to make sure it gets done so. So for her, if something doesn't get done, it's a failure. For me, if something doesn't get done it's because something better came along. So, from an investing standpoint, this is very important because you have to have people that will just get things done without thinking about it. Now for me, if you give me a deadline it will get done. Now it will probably get done right before the deadline.

When I was in school, I was always cramming. I was always cramming for the test. I was always doing the paper the night before it was due, but that's my natural instinct. So it was fine. I wasn't stressed over it. Whereas if my wife, if she had gotten an assignment on Friday, she would have done it Friday night. Or at latest Saturday morning, because it would have stressed her not to have it done. Whereas for me, the deadline's Monday. So what do I care if I do it on Friday or if I do it on Sunday, it's all the same to me.

Well, from an investing standpoint, you have to have people on your team that when it comes to the processes, they follow the processes and they get the processes done. So I surround myself frankly, with high Fact Finders and high Follow Throughs on purpose. Because I want people that I can rely and go, “Look, I don't even have to worry about it.” Because I know it is their natural instinct.

My partner Karen, she's a seven Fact Finder, seven Follow Through. So she's going to look at the detail, and she's gonna make sure it gets done, and she never has to worry about it. So if I've got people on my team that are a three Follow Through like I am, I have to make sure I give them deadlines. When we're looking at investing, we have to look at that side of things as to what our role should be. Are we the one that's going to create adaptability? We have to be careful not to frustrate the people who are following through.

David Kolbe: Yup. Absolutely. I love how you use this understanding to build a team. We see so many people who just, they beat themselves up, and they work so hard. You were talking about cramming, and in school. Here's what's weird. We'd give people strange advice. So we would talk to students, and if I were talking to you as a college student, I would actually tell you, “Tom, you need to put it off till kind of the last minute.” That's going to be way more effective. But that's not what anybody tells a college student. No how to study course tells kids, “Oh, some of you should put things off, and really have that deadline pressure.” Yet that's how you really are in real life. If people give you this advice that works great for them, it's not the right advice for you.

So, that's to me the biggest beauty of learning this. When we work with clients is, instead of having to learn the hard way, or instead of feeling trapped by advice somebody else gave them that they know it hasn't been working, we help them understand, no, there's this other way to do it. That again, you have to be smart. So if you are putting something off until the last minute, and this is where kids get themselves in trouble, they underestimate how long something will take. They put it off till they have an hour to finish it, but it's a five hour job and they don't have time. So you learn those things and you know what that real deadline is. Again, that's using all three parts of the mind. You have to be smart about the way you engage these instinctive strengths.

Tom Wheelwright: Right. So David, real quickly, so where could somebody go to take the Kolbe assessment?

David Kolbe: Our website is Kolbe.com. K-O-L-B-E dot com. The assessment is called The Kolbe A Index. Just look for the link on there, and find it. It only takes about 20 to do online and you get the results immediately.

Tom Wheelwright: Here's the great thing about Kolbe is, one thing I love is, it's not good or bad. It's all your strengths. So there's no, it's not low and high. It may be three and an eight like our Fact finder scores, but that doesn't mean that three is bad and eight as good, or vice versa. What it means is, is that three tells you one thing, this is your natural instinct. Eight tells you another thing, that's a different national instinct. Of course, when we're talking together, we of course, we use Kolbe for all of our clients and for all of our staff.

When we're doing it with our staff, it's great. Because our staff knows each other's Kolbe scores and they can actually relate … it's easier for them to understand where the other person's coming from. If you're going, “Why didn't you get this done? Why didn't you get this done?” And you didn't give them a deadline, and they're a three follow through. Well that's why they didn't get it done. Because you've got to give them a deadline.

So on the other hand you go, “Well, why are you so resistant? Why aren't you moving on this?” Well, you may not have enough facts, right? So just understanding. I've had a number … people know that they can't send me an email that has more than two bullet points, because I won't read the third one.

David Kolbe: I love it.

Tom Wheelwright: That's the way we relate to each other. When it comes to clients, not only do we match up the client with somebody that has a similar Kolbe score … We do that because while we can interact with other people that have different Kolbe scores, we do it all day long, it is a lot easier … it's like you say, here's what works for me. If you're talking to an advisor and saying, “What would you do in my situation?” It's a lot easier for them, if they would do the same thing you would do. So that, that actually makes it easier. We actually help line up that.

But we also do it so that we can understand, when it comes to developing your wealth strategy, what should you be doing? I'll give you a quick example, and then we can wrap this up and people can go to Kolbe.com to get more information. But I had a client come to me, husband, wife, and I'm a big fan of as a couple I prefer that you only do one type of investing. But at most, you do one and your spouse does another type of investing. That sometimes works.

In this case the husband was doing real estate and the wife was doing stock trading. I look at stock trading is very much a Fact Finder type role. I mean, a high Fact Finder tends to do really well in stock trading, because you're talking about technical analysis which requires a lot of research, and a lot of details. Then a Fact Finder, Follow Through even better, because then they're gonna make sure they're online every day at the right time, and they're there getting it done and it absolutely happens. That makes sense.

Well that was his score. He was a Fact Finder, Follow Through … I have them take Kolbe. This is how I did this. I actually, this is how I did this consulting, was I use Kolbe. His score, suggested that he should be doing stock trading. Her score, on the other hand, low Fact Finder, low Follow Through, high Quick Start, which is the next one. Which we won't get into, because we're short on time here. But you can learn about Quick Start at Kolbe.com.

When I'm looking at her, I'm going, “Well, real estate makes a lot of sense.” Because real estate requires a lot of dealing with people. It's a lot of interaction. It's a lot of moving parts, and she's going to do better when she's very adaptable, she's gonna simplify, she's very global. She's going to do much better in that type of investing. So, just fundamentally determining what asset class, even determining what asset class. Whether it's a paper, business, real estate or commodities, one of the things we should look at is our natural instinct.

Then, when we're looking at what our role is in performing in investing, and what's our role versus different members of our team. That's when, obviously David, I know you could go on for days talking about how to use this in a team. Because this is really where I think the strength of Kolbe is, is when it comes to teamwork. But it's recognizing your natural instincts, and what you should be doing, and how you should be doing it. That's how you choose what type of investment.

It's not an investment that is, “Okay, this investment's going to return 20%,” or, “This investment's going to return 30%,” because that's never the case. Because the same investment is going to return 20% to one person, and actually going to lose 20% to another person depending on what they do with it. I love David, then you say, so what are the three different parts of the mind again?

David Kolbe: The cognitive, which is the thinking IQ side. The affective, which is the emotional preferences, value side. Then the conative, which is this instinctive, how we take action side.

Tom Wheelwright: So it's fair to say that we really need to pay attention to all three, right?

David Kolbe: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, even though my business focuses on the one, you don't ignore the other two. You don't say, “Oh, I'm going to invest in equities,” and yet not educate yourself. That would just be foolish. “Oh, I don't know anything about what I'm talking about. But I'm going to do it anyway, because my Kolbe results say I'm a high fact finder.” No, no, no, no. You have to use all three. But it's just amazing to me that people leave one of … I mean, there are only three of them. How hard should it be? You don't want to leave one of them out.

Frankly, you gain a competitive advantage. I mean, when you work with your clients, you're really good at doing what you do. I hope one of the reasons is because you understand the third part of the mind that most people miss, and they shouldn't be missing it.

Tom Wheelwright: Frankly, we've been using it for 15 years, David. I found that to be one of the most important tools we've ever discovered, and I'm very grateful we discovered it, actually when I met Kathy at a Rich Dad event. It has absolutely changed our business, and it's changed our lives. Because for one thing, it makes it a lot easier. I mean, let me tell you when, when my wife knows what my Kolbe is, it sure makes it a lot easier for her to understand why I'm not getting this thing done. She's going, “Oh, okay, he's a three Follow Through. It's just not going to happen unless I say, ‘Could you get this done by Saturday, at 3:00.'” If you tell me it needs to get done by Saturday at 3:00, and I figured it takes me two hours. Then I think my deadline is Saturday at 1:00.

David Kolbe: Exactly. And if I can just, this is a brazen pitch, I will admit it. But we have a new program that we call Takes Two. It's at TakesTwo.com. You mentioned your wife, it's all about a husband, wife, partner, intimate partner relationship, and figuring out how that works. There's actually a section that talks about finances. It's not investing, so much. We kind of touch on that. But it's really about how to handle family finances, and whether you're the same or different. By the way, if you're the same, as you mentioned, sometimes it's easier. But we also see couples that kind of compete like, “Hey, I'm the Fact Finder here, so my detail and information …” We're the other end of the spectrum.

It talks about finances, and vacations, and household chores, and communication and I think it's fantastic. Tom, I will send you a coupon so you and your wife can get your Takes Two report. But I hope all the listeners will do that too. It makes a huge difference in people's lives. Even though this is not a relationship podcast, both of us have kind of mentioned our wives, and the relationship and how that works. I just see it making a big difference.

Tom Wheelwright: I appreciate that David. I really do. I was not aware of that one. So yeah, Kolbe obviously helps in a number of areas. So the first thing to do is, if you haven't taken Kolbe yet, go to Kolbe.com. It's not very expensive. It's painless. It may be a little frustrating, because sometimes you go, “Well, I don't know if it's A or B, or B or C, don't worry about it. Just pick the first one that comes to your mind. When I was growing up, I was a great test taker. I will tell you, the first answer is probably the right one. 98% of the time, your first answer is going to be the right one. So just pick it. Don't worry about it.

It's not a, good or bad test. It is a, “This is where my strengths are.” So I encourage you. Thank you David so much for coming. I encourage everybody, really, when you're looking at your wealth, when you're looking at your wealth, makes sure that you're looking at your natural instincts. Make sure you're doing something what you enjoy, something that's fun, something that's energy, that something that adds vitality to your life. Something that, like David says, it's not just a natural instinct but something you're interested in.

So your natural instinct may say real estate, but you go, “I don't care about real estate. I'd rather do oil and gas.” Okay, well then let's figure out how your natural instinct would work in the oil and gas environment. Then learn, like David says, make sure that you take all three parts of the brain. David, thanks again. A reminder to everybody, it is Kolbe.com, K-O-L-B-E dot com. Remember when we follow our natural instincts with our investing, we always make way more money and pay way less taxes.

Speaker 1: You've been listening to The WealthAbility™ Show with Tom Wheelwright. Way more money, way less taxes. To learn more. Go to wealthability.com.