How the Kolbe A™ Index Helps You Better Support and Lead Your Business Team with Kendra Tillman

You have all kinds of personality assessment tools available to use. You’ve probably even taken some of the tests like Myers-Briggs, StrengthFinders, or the Enneagram.

But what about a tool that can help you assess and build your team in the best way possible? That’s where the Kolbe A™ Index comes in! It’s a tool that small business owners can use to understand their natural instincts in problem-solving and decision-making.

So, how does it work, and how can you implement it for yourself and your team? Kendra Tillman is a former client and founder of StrongHer.Me Coaching & Consulting specializes in using this system so that you understand your natural strengths as well as those of your employees. And she’s here to tell you how!

A system like this is essential when building a strong company culture. In this continuation of our culture series on the Promote Yourself to CEO podcast, you’ll learn how the Kolbe system works and how to use it to build, support, and lead a better business team.


On this episode of Promote Yourself to CEO:

8:02 – I originally took the Kolbe test in 2005 and still have the printout. How did Kendra first start working with this assessment system?

13:01 – Kendra explains what you can use Kolbe for as an entrepreneur who’s growing a business and leading a team.

16:39 – When you first get your Kolbe report, you see all these numbers, colors, and other information. What does it all mean?

21:35 – Kendra discusses how you can use the system to hire people or figure out who on your existing team needs to come in and support you.

28:46 – What do you need to pay special attention to when using Kolbe to evaluate potential hires for a spot on your business team?

31:53 – Kendra demonstrates how this assessment system can change the dynamics within a team.

34:55 – How does following the results of your Kolbe assessment affect the energy you put into your business? Kendra uses my Quick Start strength as an example.

About Kendra Tillman

Kendra Tillman is the founder of StrongHer.Me Coaching & Consulting. Her company’s mission empowers rising women leaders to RECLAIM their authentic voice, OWN their leadership potential, and ACTIVATE the courage to live their calling.

Mentioned in How the Kolbe A™ Index Helps You Better Support and Lead Your Business Team with Kendra Tillman

Racheal Cook: If you really knew me, you would know that I am obsessed with assessments. If there is an assessment that is going to give me more insight or more clarity into who I am, how I operate in this world, how I can do my best work, who I am in relationship to other people, how I react, how I respond, how I process things, then I'm going to take it, and I honestly probably have. I am an INFJ on the Myers Briggs. I'm an Enneagram 3w2, The Achiever with a side of Caregiver.

On Kolbe, I am a Fact Finder followed by a Fast Start. Kolbe is one of my favorite assessments along with StrengthsFinder to really help not only me understand how I respond and solve problems, but also help me really understand the people on my team so that I can better lead them and support them. When you're building a strong culture, that is essential. Let's get into it.

Are you ready to grow from stressed-out solopreneur to competent CEO? You're in the right place. I'm your host, Racheal Cook, and I've spent more than 15 years helping women entrepreneurs sustainably scale their businesses. If you're serious about building a sustainable business, it's time to put the strategy, systems, and support in place to make it happen. Join me each week for candid conversations about stepping into your role as CEO, the hard lessons learned along the way, and practical profitable strategies to grow a sustainable business without the hustle and burnout.

Hey there, CEO. I hope you have been enjoying this mini-series on building incredible, impactful cultures in your business, how we can actually build organizations that people want to be a part of, and a huge part of building culture for me at least is understanding how I can better serve, how I can better support, how I can better lead the people who are a part of my team.

Understanding this is really challenging, especially because I run a business where my team is scattered around the country and we don't have a lot of face-to-face time. All of the small little things that you pick up when you're in person and you see people a lot, those little small moments at the “water cooler,” grabbing coffee, going out to lunch, or just casual conversation, those things don't happen in my business unless I'm bringing everybody physically together and flying them all here to Richmond for the CEO Retreat, which I do but it does mean that I need to find other ways to really understand and accelerate the relationship building with each member of my team.

This is something that thankfully, I've been able to do pretty well having a primarily virtual style business where we're not in person. One of the tools that I have absolutely loved using has been the Kolbe A™ Index. This is actually a tool. This is such a funny story. This is a tool I first discovered somewhere around 2004 or 2005.

My dad who has been an entrepreneur since the 80s, his whole career, he's had a small business, he owns an insurance agency, he hired his very first business coach right when I was at the end of high school in the late 90s. I want to say 1998, 1999, he hired his first business coach and that's when his business really started growing.

One of the first things his business coach gave to him, he flew out, the coach was based in Arizona, and exclusively worked with insurance agents, he flew out for a few days of a retreat workshop and came back with this assessment called the Kolbe and he had us all take it at different points.

I'm pretty sure I probably took it first when I was in high school and then as I was graduating college, and my score didn't really change too much. I knew that in the Kolbe, I was very high Fact Finder followed by Quick Start. This is a tool that small business owners can use to understand what is your natural instinct when it comes to problem-solving, when it comes to decision-making. How do you naturally approach that?

Understanding this is just so incredibly helpful to understanding your team and understanding more about what they need from you in order to make decisions for the business, in order to make decisions in their role about whatever that is that they are responsible for getting results for.

When I was recording this series on creating an incredible culture, I already knew I was going to interview LaTondra Murray, who is a StrengthsFinder coach, the other assessment that I'm absolutely obsessed with and her interview is next week. But I also got an email at the same time from a former client, Kendra Tillman, who specializes in using the Kolbe as a way to help you really understand your problem-solving strengths, your natural way that you think through things, make decisions, growing, supporting, and cultivating the culture in your team.

Kendra Tillman is the founder of StrongHer.Me Coaching & Consulting. Her mission empowers rising women leaders to reclaim their authentic voice, own their leadership potential, and activate the courage to live their calling. When Kendra reached out to me, I knew I wanted to have this conversation.

Because probably like a lot of the people listening to this, when you are a small business owner, we do not have the luxury that maybe a huge multinational corporation does of taking a long time to ramp up a new team member. We don't have a long time for someone to understand what it is that we do here or for someone to understand how they need to get up to speed in their role, make decisions in their role, or be responsible for specific results.

One of the ways that we can collapse that timeline a little bit, something that might take a year of knowing somebody in a more “traditional” work environment in an office, in a big huge company, it could take a lot shorter time if we arm ourselves with both the intentionality of the culture we want to create—so conversations from Tiffany and Mia earlier on in this series—but also if we leverage assessments like the Kolbe and the StrengthsFinder so that we can get a clearer peek into who these people are that we are hiring to work with us in the team and use those proactively in helping those people feel seen, heard, and respected and helping those people be able to fully step into their role and feel fully supported in that.

I'm really excited about this conversation. It's really fun that I was able to review my first Kolbe tests that I took—Kendra’s had me do another test, you'll hear about that—and just hear about how understanding this knowledge helps me be a better leader, see the type of areas I need to support on my team, and also how you can use this to be a better leader in your business and your team. Let's get into it.

Alright, CEOs. You are in for a treat today because Kendra Tillman is here with me to talk more about how we can intentionally build a great culture in our teams, specifically using the Kolbe as a tool. Kendra, I was so excited you reached out to me. I'm so glad we get to reconnect and chat, welcome to the show.

Kendra Tillman: Thank you so much. It's so fun to actually, number one, see you in person, well, not in person, but over video, because I've heard your voice in my earbuds so many times so I'm looking forward to our conversation today.

Racheal Cook: Well, it's going to be so fun because when you reached out to me with this idea of talking about the work that you do and the Kolbe, I was like, “Oh, my gosh, I took this test for the first time.” I'm literally looking at the printout in 2005 because, at that point, my dad who owns a small business had hired his first business coach. I remember he flew out to Arizona, where I know you are, he’s a business coach that specifically works just with insurance agents, and that's what my dad owns is an insurance agency.

He came back all fired up and was like, “Everyone is taking this test.” All 20-something people on his staff took the test. My whole family took the test, my boyfriend, now my husband took the test. Everyone took the Kolbe test. I have my original results and now I have my new results because there's quite a big difference in almost 20 years between taking this.

But I really was excited because for him, when he first heard about this as a small business owner, it gave him so much clarity around how his team could work more effectively and also how he could get people in the right seats, everybody in the right roles based on how they naturally operate. As we get into this conversation, I want to know how did you get into this work?

Kendra Tillman: Oh, so that's a great question. For years, I hosted a women's empowerment event and one of the things that I always brought into that event was an assessment, some type of assessment that will help women have some language around what their strengths are because we're not always great at communicating what our strengths are.

The one that we actually started with was the StrengthsFinder. I love the StrengthsFinder. I think it’s a great tool. Well, one of the people that I asked to speak was someone that I had met years ago while I was an 18-year-old intern. She was like 15 years old. She grew up. She became this amazing strengths coach. She came into our group and she would break down our strengths assessments.

Over time, as she grew in her business and the work that she was doing, she learned about the Kolbe assessment, and she was like, “Kendra, you have to take this test,” because she was saying that she loved the StrengthsFinder and all the other DISC, all of them. She was saying that there always felt like there was something missing that she couldn't quite put her finger on and once she took the Kolbe, that was the thing that really helped bring everything else together for her.

That's how I started doing it. I took the test, she gave me my debrief, that's what we call it, is when we walk you through your results. Ever since then, I was like, “This is incredible.” This is so powerful because something that you said about your dad bringing the whole team into it is that we learn a lot about strengths and I love that we're learning more and more about our strengths.

But sometimes the conflict that we think that we're having with people is around personality mismatch or something like that, but sometimes what the real issue or challenge is, is the fact that we don't necessarily recognize the way other people solve problems, or even how we solve them and how we can better appreciate each other.

That is what I have really appreciated about the Kolbe is that it's very action-oriented. It is very much something that today, the minute you get your results, you can actually start to put this into practice and it doesn't just become a report that you now have another thing that tells you something great about yourself, but then you don't have any way to put it into action.

Racheal Cook: I think that's so interesting. I'm just somebody who always likes assessments like this, I find so much clarity in them and they all give you this slightly different perspective. But I love what you shared about this tells you so much just about how people approach work, about how they think about different things, how they handle making decisions, communication, conflict, or any of those types of things. I think these types of assessments give you so much insight.

As someone who is growing a business and has a team, what can you really use the Kolbe for, how do you see the Kolbe being used as someone who is growing a business and leading a team?

Kendra Tillman: Yeah, there are multiple ways. On a personal level, one of the ways that Kolbe is going to support you is number one, it’s going to help you identify, as you are working in your business, how can you be the most productive? How are you managing your energy? Because as entrepreneurs, we expend a lot of energy in the work that we do, mental energy, physical energy, emotional energy, and so it's going to help you be more productive in the work that you're doing.

In terms of your team, it’s going to help you make sure that you have the right people working on the right things for their energy, like how they use their energy and how they solve problems. It's going to really support you in knowing both of those things.

It'll also help you assess, maybe there's a person on your team that you've been looking at and you find that the skills that they have are great and they are appropriate for the position that they're in, but maybe you've had some tension around how they're getting their work done.

You will be able to better appreciate, “Oh, Kendra is someone who needs information. Her asking me multiple questions when we first start a project is not because of a lack of competency, it's not because she's trying to challenge me, but what it actually is that in order for her to be at her best, she needs more information.”

Or maybe you have another person on your team, they're the person that sometimes can feel like the wildcard because they're brainstorming and they're coming up with new ideas. They're always putting out a new idea for the team to try. Again, for that person, it's not that they're trying to do anything that goes against your leadership, but they're actually using their own energy in a way that allows them to innovate. That's what keeps them fresh. That's the contribution that they make to the team. It helps for you to know that about yourself, how you contribute, and it also helps you to know how your team members are going to contribute.

Racheal Cook: Oh, that's so good because the person who needs to innovate and as the idea generator, if you flood them with information, they're probably getting more and more and more frustrated and like, “No, stop. I don't need that. I just want to do something,” and vice versa. I think this is really fascinating to dig into.

When you had me redo this, I was pretty surprised that my results had changed quite a bit from 20-something years ago when I first took this assessment, but I loved it. When we jumped on, you said that the question that you feel should be asked before us take this thing, if you were being most yourself, if you were free to be most yourself, how would you respond?

I think that's an important thing to consider because there's a huge difference between 40-something Rach versus 20-something Rach. As you get older and you're more confident just in yourself, those results might shift a little bit, but I'm still a high Fact Finder. That is still my highest number.

Kendra Tillman: Yes, yes, yes. That part didn't change. One of the things when you mentioned to me that your results had changed, on everyone's report, when you first get your report, one of the first things that’s going to jump out at you is you're going to see these four numbers. It's like, “What in the world? What does this mean?” You see numbers, you see colors, you see all these words.

Basically, each one of these strengths that we're talking about is an action mode. When you are taking action, when you are striving, not when you're relaxing, but if you have a project you're working on and even in your personal life, maybe you're planning a trip for your family, these are the strengths that are going to show up and there is a continuum that they all live on.

Each one of the strengths, there's the first strength that’s called the Fact Finder and that's the red. There is the Follow Thru that's the blue. There is the Quick Start that's the green and there is the Implementer and that is that yellow color that you see. The thing that's important to know is when you look at a report, everything on there is a strength.

Kolbe, it highlights your strengths. It doesn't highlight things that you need to improve, it doesn't highlight things you need to work on. I know as adults, we've all been through the schooling process, when we see what we consider a “low number,” we feel like, “Oh, that means I need to work on that area,” no, it doesn't. Not on this report.

We've actually even talked about as consultants, we almost wish it was turned sideways so that people wouldn't think of it as high or low. But really, it's a continuum. You have strengths that lie on that continuum. Racheal's strengths that she has, in the Fact Finder, she has a strength around being specific. That's an actual strength, meaning that there are details that she's going to be looking for.

If she worked with you, if Racheal worked with you on a project, one of the first things she's going to want is information. She's going to need information in order for her to make decisions.

Then the next thing is her Follow Thru, which the strength she has around that is maintaining. What that means is if there is a system in place, Racheal is not necessarily the person you want to use her energy to develop the system, but if there's one in place, she's going to follow it—I see her nodding her head—she's going to follow the system, and if there are any discrepancies in the system where something is off, she's going to be the person who will also highlight for you and say, “Hey, you know what, you have ABC, it really should be CBA.” She's the person who's going to be able to identify things like that for your team.

Then her strength around Quick Start, that green, is to modify. She's going to be someone who’s any type of change, she's going to be able to adapt to that change. She's not necessarily going to be the person initiating it, but she will adapt to the change that's happening because Quick Start deals with risk and uncertainty. That's what it looks like.

Then finally, she has the strength Restore. When you look at the Implementer strength that were implemented, sometimes people think of that as around execution, but in reality, what that strength is about is more about implementing tools like how you use tools. You're going from being someone who can just envision things that are happening, or needing to envision things that are happening all the way to someone who needs to demonstrate what's happening.

Racheal and I, we sit in the middle, either one of those, it will not drain our energy. If you just want to envision it, if you want to get us in a room and just tell us the big picture, we can do that, or if you want to actually stand in the space and demonstrate, we would be fine with that as well. That's really a big-picture overview of how those numbers fit together and help you to identify what your strengths are.

Racheal Cook: Yeah, I definitely, as I was reading through my report, related to a lot of this. I really like how you share that it's not that the ones that are the lower number are like a bad score, they’re still a strength, it's just the way that they present is different based on where on the spectrum you are.

I think that's so interesting to look at this in that light in that way. Because yeah, all of these resonate with me. As someone with this breakdown of my Kolbe, I think the one that I definitely lead with the most is the Fact Finder. That's the one that instantly I'm like, “Yes, all the information, all the data.”

This is why people come to my office and they just stare at my bookshelf. I am just a learner and all of my StrengthsFinders, out of my top five StrengthsFinder strengths, something like four of them are all related to input, learning, synthesizing, it's all getting more information. That was no big surprise to me.

But as I am looking at this through the lens of how I need to bring my team together, when you are looking at hiring team, how would you use this information to find other people or to figure out who on your existing team needs to come in and support you?

Kendra Tillman: That is such a great question. That's something that I'm so happy that you would even think in that way. The thing that happens is I was thinking about this because I was going to be on your podcast and I listened to your podcast a lot. What tends to happen as leaders is we attract people that are like us. I would imagine that a lot of your listeners, if we could do like a survey, they probably would be initiating Fact Finders or initiating Follow Thrus. They would fall into those categories.

But what also happens is people whose strengths look different, let's say someone who has a 7 to 10 and that Quick Start, they will also be drawn to you because they notice that there's something in the way that you are structured and the way that you are very strategic, and you look at all the data, they are drawn to like, “I would love to have more of that in my life because that's an area for me where I'm not specific. I am more high level, give me the big picture.”

Even with hiring, what tends to happen on teams is we can do what's called cloning where we have a lot of people whose strengths look just like ours. When that happens, what do you think happens when you have a team where let's say you have a team of five people, and four out of the five people are initiating Fact Finders? What do you think happens, Racheal?

Racheal Cook: Oh, well, I'll just sit around and read all day. I definitely see that, the whole team slows down because everybody's trying to research it to the nth degree before we take any action.

Kendra Tillman: Yes. In that same scenario, let's say there's a team for initiating Quick Starts. What do you think happens?

Racheal Cook: A lot of new ideas and new directions. They're constantly like every week, “Let's do this. Let's do that.” There's no momentum building because they're always changing course.

Kendra Tillman: Yes. What we want is we want a diversity of teams. Depending on your team, you actually may need more of one particular strength because that is what is needed for that job position or even for how your team is made up. But you want to still have that diversity.

When you're looking, one of the things that people actually do during the hiring process is they will actually have people take the Kolbe. When you get to that point where you know that this person is one of your final candidates, and you're really interested in working with them, then you would have them take the Kolbe assessment. Then you could take a look at, “Okay, on our team in this position, what do we actually need?”

You took the Kolbe A, but we have a Kolbe B, we have a Kolbe C. What the Kolbe B does is it lets you look at what you think the job requires. For you as an entrepreneur in the work that you do as a strategist working with business owners, you could take a Kolbe B and say, “Okay, this is what I think this job requires.” Then you could compare your strengths to what your Kolbe B results were.

With the Kolbe C, it's for hiring. Kolbe C is you're an employer, you're looking at, “I want to hire someone for my team. This is what the job requires,” not the person but this is what the job requires. Then you can look at a candidate and we create for you what's called a Range of Success, so a candidate doesn't have to have this exact number.

Like your MO is 7-6-4-4, it's not that the person has to be a 7-6-4-4 to do the job but there is a range in there where, “Okay, they won't create too much tension, too much stress for the person doing the job.” I wouldn't want a person who is an initiating Quick Start who has like a 7 to 10 in Quick Start and a one to three in Fact Finder doing a job that really is meant for someone who's between a 6 and a 10 in Fact Finder.

That's going to stress them out. It's not going to be a good scenario for you or them as a team member. That's how we help you look at how this person would fit into your team.

Racheal Cook: Okay, this is amazing because we're using Quick Start as the example but I'm looking at my report, and the people who score highly on that, they are the ones that need to experiment and constantly play with new ideas or the innovators, and there are definitely roles in business where things are changing, like thinking of marketing, for example, social media changes so fast.

I hope your social media person is someone who has a little bit higher on that because of the speed that that role is going to change, they need to be someone who can jump in, play with things, be running experiments, and not be stuck in, “Well, this is what we've done forever and this is the only thing we can do.”

There are roles in your business where you do need that Quick Start where you need somebody who's really willing to be that innovator. Then there are times when you need people who are literally just like chop wood, carry water, chop wood, carry water over and over and over again. They just keep a really, really steady rhythm, steady pace, and keep things moving like clockwork behind the scenes in your business.

I think this is so interesting how you can look at those ranges and then by having your team take this, make sure they're in the right role but also make sure you're empowering them to leverage their strengths in that role.

Kendra Tillman: Absolutely. One of the things too is that what happens is we sometimes have what we call a cognitive bias. Basically, Kolbe measures the cognitive part of your brain, the place where you're taking action, and so we can tend to be biased to people that look like us, think like us, and also take action like us.

What you're saying is so true. Also, when you learn a lot about your own strengths, then you tend to put your strengths as the standard for what strengths should look like. But you can have three people doing the same job, and their strengths all are different because they all bring something different to that position. Just being willing to keep an open mind and being willing to value the strengths that the different people on your team are going to bring to the table.

Racheal Cook: Awesome. You shared with me that you compared your results to my results. If you're looking at two sets of results, I'd love to know what jumps out at you as someone who coaches people with these tools that I should be considering as I'm looking at building my team more.

Kendra Tillman: One of the things to always consider is anywhere you are that number between 7 to 10 and someone else is the 1 to 3, because, back to the cognitive bias, what happens is that you can start to see that even though you don't verbalize it in that way, you can see it as a weakness.

For example, in Quick Start, I'm a two. A two, again, when we hear a number because of our schooling, it sounds like a problem. It sounds like something you need to fix. But actually, the strength that I have around that is Stabilize.

That means on our team, if you have a great idea, something that you're ready to jump out and try, maybe something we've never done before as a team, the strength that I'm going to bring to the table is what are we not considering? What could possibly happen? I'm going to be the person on the team that's going to minimize whatever the risks are.

What's important is for you not to try to fix me and make me be more like you, but to actually encourage, “Okay, Kendra, let us hear more about what it is that you're saying. What are you thinking? Where do you think that we might get off track so much that it could set our business back?” Because that's what I'm going to be doing. I'm not going to be trying to hold the team back.

I'm going to try to make sure that whatever resources, whatever time, whatever financial investment that you are making, we are making a decision that's going to move us forward and not hold us back. That's one thing that I would say for leaders, is making sure that you recognize the strengths of the people on your team, not just when they're the numbers that are between 7 and 10, but also all the other numbers that are on their report.

Anything between a one and a three or anything between a four and a six, all of those are strengths. None of them is something that needs to be fixed or improved on. It's something that we want to leverage, that we want to encourage from the people on our team.

Racheal Cook: Oh, that's so good. I can see that, like you're saying, you're the stabilizing force, it's like you're going to go in and just ask a lot of really important questions to shore up the idea to make sure that it's as stable as possible before you put it out in the world.

That's an important role. That's a massively important role. I think if somebody is a really high Quick Start, they might be like, “Stop slowing me down.” But really, it's like, “Hey, I'm like your insurance policy here. I'm protecting you from your own inclination to just run at something without thinking through all of the potential downsides.” I think this is so helpful. As you're using this within a team, how do you see that this changes the dynamics within a team?

Kendra Tillman: I think that it creates a sense of respect, a greater sense of respect for each other. I think that it also helps people be actually more collaborative because we all understand that there are areas that I know would be beneficial for our team, but I'm not necessarily the right person for that.

A person that’s a one to three in that Follow Thru, for example, means those people are not actually going to stick to a script. They're not going to stick to a procedure. They're going to bounce around with two different areas. They're not going to be step by step.

On a team, one of the things that happens is they understand that “You know what, the people that are on our team that are in that 6 to 10 range, let me talk to them and say, ‘You know what, I need to finish this project. I'm really struggling with whatever. I'm struggling with getting from point A to point C, and I really could use your support on this. Could you help me? Could you brainstorm with me? Could you even put a plan in place for me?’”

It actually helps people to start to lean on each other more and depend on each other so they don't just become this island to themselves. Maybe there's a person on your team, there's a smaller percentage, of course, of people that would be in that 7 to 10 range in the Implementer where you’re dealing with tangible things, where you need to be demonstrating, so maybe there's a model you need to build.

Maybe on your team, you might pull that person in. That's what I mean by it makes it more collaborative in terms of you recognizing there are people on this team that have certain strengths that I could use, and how do I start to ask them for the help that I need?

Racheal Cook: What's funny is if I'm remembering right, when my husband took this, he was very high on the Implementer. It makes sense to me because he's someone who manipulates things physically. He likes to build things. He's gotten into furniture making and carpentry. My sister is also very high in this and she works in the construction world as a project manager and designer. They very much like to have their hands in it to figure something out and to make something that's a physical thing.

I think it's so fascinating because we don't think of that very often in a lot of businesses, but there are still a lot of things that need to be created, tangible things that need to be made and put together and I am not the person you want if something has to be made.

Kendra Tillman: Or fixed, no.

Racheal Cook: Or fixed. You don't want me to do that. But I can keep it nice and organized. As long as it's running okay, I'm good. But if something breaks, I'm not your girl. Then we got to call on the tech support husband to fix all the things.

But I think this is so interesting and I think it's so important as you're growing your team that we use tools like this, because they do give you so much clarity and insight and help you figure out where do you delegate? Where do you put people in different roles? How do you adapt the roles given the individual that's in it?

Because sometimes we might have, like you said, a couple of people in the same type of role, I'm thinking of our team of mentors inside of The CEO Collective, I need to have them do this because they're all very different people. Even though they all have the same type of role, the way they approach it all is going to be very, very different. That will even help us make sure that the people they're getting matched to, to mentor, are going to be an even better fit because they're able to support them in their strengths versus maybe in areas where they might struggle a little bit.

Kendra Tillman: Yeah. As for one of the things that it does is it gives you these things called cloneable tips. These are really things that help support you in doing more of what makes you be at your best. For example, for you, I want to actually do the one around the Quick Start because I know we always tend to focus on those numbers that are 7 to 10.

For you, you're a four and your strength in Quick Start is to modify so you're going to check things out before trying. One of the things that it tells you that you should be doing is respond quickly to challenges, make adjustments on the fly, handle last-minute changes, seek alternatives, and mediate risk. Those are dos for you.

A don't for you is don't change for the sake of change. Don't create uncertainty. Don't leap into many major changes at once. Don't take on too many competing deadlines and don't try to get consensus on innovation. The reason is because we have a limited amount of energy, we have a limited amount of mental energy.

Every time you're doing the things that you should do or the do-list, those things help build your energy for the work that you're doing and whenever you're doing the things on your don't list, those things are draining your energy. If you are trying to get consensus on innovation on your team, that's going to be an energy drainer for you.

If you're taking on too many competing deadlines, that's going to be an energy drainer for you. If you're creating uncertainty, not that it doesn't exist, if it doesn't exist already and you're creating that, then that's going to be an energy drainer for you.

That's something really important to be thinking about for yourself as a leader, and as you're working, are you doing things, even without the Kolbe report, if you look at your day, if you look at the course of your day, are you doing things that are draining you or are you doing things that are energizing you? How can you start doing more of the things that are energizing you?

Racheal Cook: Yeah. I think that that's a great question. I think this is one way you can align your business and your business strategy to work. I mean, as someone who has chronic pain and chronic fatigue challenges, I have to pay attention to this because anything that mentally drains me or emotionally drains me will physically drain me also.

Because I'm so sensitive to that, I know that everything I put on my calendar is things I actually enjoy doing and that is in my zone of genius, that is the way that I like to do things. If I'm thinking of this particular one you just shared, the idea of checking things out before trying them, not just creating change for the sake of change, not jumping on every new idea, but it reminds me of my TikTok experiment.

Everybody was saying, “Jump on TikTok. You just create three videos a day or something.” I was like, “Well, first of all, I don't have that kind of capacity.” But second, I watched for a long time. I just sat with it and played with the platform as a consumer before I decided I was going to use it for my own business.

Then when I decided to use it for my own business, I already had done my Fact Finder thing so I had consumed a lot, I had looked at it, I had looked at examples of who I really liked how they were showing up on TikTok versus the ways I was like, “This is not going to work for me, this is not sustainable for me,” that's how I landed on the idea of doing video shoots where I could do one day, create a ton of content that we could share out on TikTok, and then the next time we do a video shoot, I can add into some changes. I can tweak a little bit as we go.

But I didn't have to commit to something where I was just doing a whole lot of new all the time. I think that for me is really important because I do need that consistency to manage my own energy and my own bandwidth.

I love being able to see these little things through this lens and how it can help me continue to think about what's next. It definitely is to sit with things, do my research, sit with them, see what the options are, and then slowly roll them out.

Kendra Tillman: Yeah, absolutely. I think that's so important. When I was listening to you just say just now how everybody's saying, “Do this, try this. This is the next thing. You got to be doing this,” I think that sometimes one of the things that's so important is really looking at “Who am I? What's going to work best for me?” Just because it's what works best for everybody else doesn't mean that's what's worked for me.

That's why the question we asked you as you're walking through this assessment or this index is when you have the freedom to do it your way, the freedom to be yourself, what does that actually look like?

That might take turning off social media. It might take turning off podcast episodes. It might take turning off what your friends are telling you and just spending some time looking at, “What works for me, not what works for everybody else, but what works for me?”

Racheal Cook: Yeah, I think the “You should do this” is one of my least favorite ways to approach anything because the minute you start hearing, “You should do this. You have to try this,” it shuts off the critical thinking of, “Well, how do I actually do my best work? How do I actually enjoy showing up? How do I actually enjoy leading my team?”

I really appreciate that perspective for this to sit down and, as you're taking this type of assessment, think through if I were to show up 100% the way I would like to show up, how would I operate?

Kendra, this is fascinating. I cannot wait to dig into this more. I think anyone who is trying to lead a team, grow a team, make sure everyone involved in your company is truly in alignment because as your business grows, it grows beyond just being in alignment for you, the person who started and is leading it, it also means every person needs to feel in alignment as well.

When you're building a culture, I think a huge part of that is respecting that everyone brings something unique to the table and we have to respect each other's gifts. We have to respect each other's talents and strengths, and also accommodate for the differences between people in our team so that everyone can thrive.

This takes another level of your own self-inquiry and willingness to learn and be uncertain about how all these things play out but also being genuinely curious about the people you're bringing into your company. I really, really appreciate this tool. How can people connect with you, Kendra, and learn more about how they can bring together everyone's strengths to have a really amazing team?

Kendra Tillman: Okay, so one of the things that I provide now is what I call the Kolbe Mini Session and “Activate Your A” mini-session. What Racheal and I have talked about a lot today is her Kolbe A results. Honestly, for me, I think always the first stop is for you to know for yourself as a leader what your strengths are, and also you being able to look at “How am I effectively using my own strengths?”

I offer this Kolbe A Mini Session and basically, it's no cost to you with the exception of the actual assessment itself. If you go to, you will find all the information about taking the assessment for a cost, it’s a $55 charge for the actual assessment itself, then you and I will set up a 45-minute debrief and laser-coaching session because today, this was so much fun and we literally just scratched the surface.

Racheal Cook: I mean, really.

Kendra Tillman: Just because we didn't want to overwhelm you all with details. We think that you get a big picture of what this could mean for you as an individual and you as your team. I would love to have a conversation with you about this in detail.

Racheal Cook: Fabulous. I will make sure that this is all linked up in the show notes. Y'all, I can't recommend connecting with Kendra enough because I think these types of assessments are just so powerful and developing your leadership, seeing the areas where you need to shore up on support within your own team, and seeing opportunities within your team that you can amplify even more.

I will definitely be following up with her to get more insights about my existing team here so that we can see how we can really amplify everybody's results and their strengths individually and collectively. Thank you so, so much for connecting with me and jumping on today. I think this is just so powerful and I think more leaders need to be this type of curious about how they can grow teams where everybody can thrive.

Kendra Tillman: Thank you, Racheal. I appreciate this so much. I'm so excited for this.