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The Boomer Bulletin - 2014
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This Tool Improved Our Teamwork

Posted By Sue Thiemann, Monday, July 14, 2014
Updated: Thursday, July 10, 2014

Photo of Sue ThiemannI am very excited about a recent feature of the Kolbe A™ Index. As many of my team members know, I don’t usually get real excited about much, but the Kolbe Comparison: A to A™ Report really hit the target on helping me understand and improve my communication with team members, thus ultimately contributing to the company bottom line. Many of our clients and members of our communities already subscribe to the Kolbe Concept® of identifying one’s strengths and using those strengths to optimize performance both within the firm and in personal life.

The Kolbe A™ Index measures your instinctive way of doing things; the result is called your method of operation, or modus operandi (M.O.). It is the only validated assessment that measures a person's conative strengths. It gives you greater understanding of your own human nature and allows you to begin the process of maximizing your potential both personally and professionally.

For me, the Kolbe A™ helped me understand why I like the detail; researching the facts and implementing the details using a "hands on” approach. The Kolbe Comparison: A to A™ Report provides insights and tips to optimize my collaborative efforts with my team members, instead of wasting time and energy with disagreements, communication issues, and redundant work efforts.

Let me back up just a moment. Why would knowing your conative strengths help the firm, your co-worker or yourself? Conative factors come into play when you are striving or working together. Regardless of whether or not you respect each other's intellect or like one another , you'll eventually encounter the situations described in this report when you collaborate in a purposeful way. Three faculties in the brain contribute to your ability to get the job done. Dealing with another person requires:

  • Thinking — Understanding individual levels of knowledge, skills, and experience.
  • Feeling — Being sympathetic with attitudes, passions, values, and beliefs.
  • Doing — Acting, reacting and interacting in your authentic (conative) way – and in ways that work for others.

The Kolbe Comparison: A to A™ Report provides a guide to better performance by identifying potential conflict areas and strength areas. How you drive (your M.O.) affects your performance. The report displays your Kolbe A™ with a co-worker’s Kolbe A™ side by side, comparing conative drives and explaining how you each use your time and energy. It provides information about how both you and your co-worker:

  • Gather and share information
  • Sort, store and organize
  • Deal with risk and uncertainty
  • Handle space and tangibles

To illustrate, the following is an actual excerpt from a Kolbe Comparison: A to A™ Report comparing myself and a co-worker with whom I closely work:

You both delve deeply into the details

  • You share a need for specificity and precision and will correct each other’s facts.
  • Your thorough approaches lead to being experts – hopefully in different areas, so you enhance rather than debate too often.
  • Being practical and strategic helps your collaborative efforts.
  • You both use historical evidence to build your case.


Conables® Tips

  • Avoid spending too much time weighing pros & cons or arguing details; this makes for long meetings.
  • Agree on the agenda items and allocate specific amounts of time for discussions between you.
  • Deal with your shared inclination to go to the nth degree by deciding when an 80% solution is acceptable or close enough is good enough.
  • Limit word counts in advance for coauthored documents.

What do these tips tell me? Once we both understand that we each tend to get down in the weeds way too deep, we can set time limits to our research/discussion and agree to move forward when "good enough is good enough.” In this case it helps us watch for weaknesses in our collaboration and guard against analysis paralysis.

What does all this information give you, as an associate in an accounting firm? I can tell you that for me, it has taken away the face-to-face conflict issues, the power issues, and the "is it going to be your way or my way” issues. Instead, it puts us on the same side of the real issue - looking for best solutions.

A huge feeling of collaboration at its best

We now get to solutions quicker and have buy-in much sooner. The Kolbe Comparison: A to A™ Report has provided me with a high level of confidence in myself and my co-workers. If provides me with insights on how to approach other team members with any situation. It is a proactive method of leading the firm.

I thoroughly enjoy learning from the leaders in our company and growing as a person. Talking about collaboration, have you read Sandra Wiley’s new book, The Journey Ahead, A New Roadmap to Collaboration in Your Firm? As a company, we are reading and working through the action items in each chapter. Sometimes there are hard issues to address, but knowing each of our strengths has helped us grow and advance.

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