Proven Tools to Help Your People Work Better Together

Mike Kotsis People Issues, Team Health Leave a Comment

young men helping each other up a mountain | help your team work better together

In the EOS Process™, we often use the Kolbe A™ Index with leadership teams to identify each leader’s natural instinctual strengths. When these strengths differ from one another, we can identify sources of natural conflict among the team. There have been dozens of times when I reminded a team about their Kolbe profiles, and it helped them to view conflict objectively, and not take it personally.

Without knowing your Kolbe profile or the other team members’ Kolbe profiles, any conflict in your relationship can be incorrectly interpreted as a personal offense.

Kolbe Conflict On a Father-Son Team

One four-member leadership team had tremendous conflict between two members of the leadership team. The two member were a father and son, and the Visionary and Integrator for the business. The Visionary would bring dozens of ideas to the table and would be ten steps ahead of everyone else. The Integrator would be still on idea Number One while the Visionary would be rounding into idea Number Nine or Ten.

The Integrator son was driven to make the Visionary dad happy and proud, so he would apply careful, detailed thought to each idea. But he would frequently get overwhelmed by the volume and pace of ideas – and worse yet, he felt like a failure for not being able to keep up. This caused significant conflict in their relationship, until they fully embraced their Kolbe A Index results.

We had a lively conversation around the table. Each leadership team member shared their four-digit Kolbe A results, and we had each of the other team members give feedback to that person on whether they felt the results described them or not. The “a-ha” moment in the room came when they realized how accurately the Kolbe describes how each person naturally takes action.

How the Kolbe A Index Works

Kolbe categorizes four areas of action:

  • Fact Finder: How you gather and share information, level of information needed
  • Follow Through: Your need to organize information, or your method of organizing information. How organized you are. How you arrange and design.  
  • Quick Start: The amount risk you’ll take when dealing with uncertainty.  Your need to change things.  This is about you being a risk taker.
  • Implementer: Your need to deal with tangibles, physical, mechanical tasks.  It’s your need to touch, and feel and see it to believe it

They had a few good laughs about their observations, and we were able to recognize these differences in particular in their Quick Start:

  • On a 1-10 scale, the Visionary is a 9 and the Integrator is a 1. This means that the Visionary initiates action by brainstorming and trying new things, being a higher risk-taker. But the Integrator’s natural instinct is to stabilize things, being a resistant risk-taker.
  • The Visionary is a 5 Fact Finder while the integrator is a 9 Fact Finder. This means that the integrator would naturally ask more questions, dig deeper on gathering details and information before making a decision. But the Visionary doesn’t need nearly the same amount of information to make decisions.

Finding Understanding…and Resolution

They realized that when they’re both striving to solve a problem, they come at it from two completely different ways, driven by their instinct. While they can’t change their instinct, they can consciously temper it when they’re aware of it.

Now the Visionary knows to go into his “Zen” place to give the Integrator time to process the information and catch up. The Integrator now knows to remind the Visionary that he isn’t ready to make a decision on the topic at hand and may need additional time to reflect on it before continuing the conversation.

Due to the conflicting strengths in their Fact Finder mode, they learned how to better communicate with one another. When they’re striving to solve a problem together, the Visionary knows to come to the table with more facts and data for the Integrator, while the Integrator now speaks to the Visionary with more of a Cliff Notes approach. They are intentionally more aware of their own strengths as well as each other’s strengths – tempering them when necessary to help the overall team and company arrive at better decisions faster.

More importantly, when conflict occurs, it is no longer taken personally because they remind themselves of their Kolbe instincts, which helps them to communicate with one another in a productive, healthy, and cohesive way.

EOS uses the Kolbe A Index to help leadership teams understand one another and operate more effectively as a unit. Ready to get more done? Schedule a 90-Minute Meeting to see how EOS® can transform your leadership team.


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