Greatness begins with awareness.

Do Your Natural Abilities Cause Collaboration Problems?

Collaborations problems can happen when you work with people who have an instinctive way of performing tasks and solving problems that’s different from your own. You might get in each other’s way to the point of frustration.

This is more so when you are not aware of the real issue. You can get annoyed with how others are going about the work, stunting your potential (and theirs) instead of making the most of everyone’s innate talents.

Watch the video or read on to learn how the Kolbe Assessment helped Miriam find balance between following her natural approach and meeting her colleagues’ needs.


Miriam was a client of mine years ago and took the Kolbe Assessment as part of our coaching relationship.

What stood out the most from her scores was the 9 in Fact Finder. In Kolbe terms, we would say she is an initiating Fact Finder. This means that she needs to gather a lot of data in order to make decisions and take action.


Miriam definitely recognized herself in that. She has a tendency to fact-check everything. She would research vacuum cleaners for four hours before buying one. At work, she excels at research. She is thorough at gathering all the details and loves digging into spreadsheets.

This is a natural ability for her (that’s what Kolbe measures).

So, Miriam can – and should – lean on it to thrive. However, it can produce collaboration problems for her in professional and personal relationships.

For most people, she might come across as way too detail-oriented. They might find it overwhelming. On the other hand, she is likely to get frustrated when collaborating with “broad strokes” type people. She finds it annoying when somebody throws out a figure that doesn’t seem accurate.

In fact, this was at the heart of the issue she was having at the time of the coaching.

She was working in sales operations for a software company. Her boss, the head of the entire sales force and his approach to work was relationship-driven and low on facts. She would send him thorough emails with 50 bullet points, and he wouldn’t even read them, making her question whether he appreciated her input.


The Kolbe Assessment helped her see the dynamic at play. He wasn’t dismissing her. He actually trusted her ability to gather and analyze the data, and make solid recommendations off of them. He just didn’t need to receive all the details she was providing.

So, the challenge for Miriam was to learn to keep her data-driven instincts in check when dealing with people who don’t need the same volume of specificity.

Miriam now does that by asking others how much information they want.

  • Do they just want her final suggestion based on the research she has done?
  • Do they want her to give them all the available options?
  • Do they want to know her thought processes to get to those options?

This helps her collaborate with others and deliver what they need without getting on each other’s nerves.

Other people’s preference for fewer data is not a judgment of her work. She can continue following her data-rich approach, as that’s what she’s naturally best at. She has learned to time some of her research projects so they don’t go on forever to the point that it’s counter-productive, but she allows herself to be who she is and enjoy it.


Do you have collaboration problems but can’t figure out why?

Do you get frustrated and exhausted by the way your colleagues go about the work?

Reach out if you want to understand the patterns at play and learn to manage them.

Kolbe A™ Index and Action Modes® are the trademarks of Kathy Kolbe and Kolbe Corp. All rights reserved. The description in this blog is my interpretation of the Kolbe System™. Here is Kolbe Corp’s detailed description of the system


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