Greatness begins with awareness.

Kolbe’s Follow Thru Action Mode Can Make or Break a Team

The Kolbe ATM Index provides a simple yet powerful system to understand each person’s natural way of approaching problems and tasks. It does so by giving us insights into how we operate within four Action Modes®: Fact Finder, Follow Thru, Quick Start, and Implementor.

Why does this matter? Successful leaders must hold a keen awareness of their own patterns and recognize and leverage those on their teams. Individual and team productivity significantly improves when we understand our Kolbe scores and how to use them in the day-to-day. A team will have ideal synergy when its members fall into each of the three Follow Thru zones, which describe the ability to Adapt, Maintain and Systematize within this Action Mode.


Kolbe Follow Thru score range explanationFOLLOW THRU SCORE 7-10: “SYSTEMATIZE” TALENT

When using their instinctive strengths, people who initiate Follow Thru actions have a wonderful ability to provide the world with structured systems. Their natural drive is to consistently organize information and materials, having a knack for bringing order out of chaos.

People with this instinctive strength set trends, offer templates and provide boundaries within which we all work, play, and do just about everything in life. They carry out complicated tactics by sorting options, finding what’s missing, and arranging a structured approach with a Plan A and Plan B.

Follow Thru “Systematizers” in Action

  • Robert has a 9 in Follow Thru and works in commercial banking. He attributes his success to always having a plan and working it. As a leader, he helps his direct reports define their plans to deliver customers for the bank. When Robert has a challenging phone call, he charts out the possibilities for the call in a “tree” so he can plan how to address different responses. This makes him feel calmer and more confident.
  • Alison, a marketing and leadership consultant to lawyers, has a 7 in Follow Thru. She uses simple, powerful models to teach her clients new ways to consider how they work. After years of operating this way, she effortlessly reaches for one of her models when she responds to a client request. Her engaging teaching style makes it easy for others to learn and embrace her approaches.


Those with this talent know how to package things together that fit, adjust procedures, and coordinate schedules. They have a knack for identifying inconsistencies, drafting guidelines, and reviewing lists.

Follow Thru “Maintainers” in Action

  • Jerry – the CEO of a merchant processing company – is a 4 in Kolbe’s Follow Thru, which gives him the ability to be flexible as market conditions change. He has surrounded himself with process-oriented people who ensure the business has a solid infrastructure, so he can remain agile and spend his energy on finding new opportunities for the company.
  • Josie, a 5 in Follow Thru, is a senior security leader in a national credit organization. She encourages her direct reports to build plans and structures to manage the workflow. At the same time, she is flexible enough to lead them through changes and the adoption of new systems. This balance between being highly structured and needing no structure is one of her secret weapons to running a successful team.


This innate strength allows individuals to create shortcuts, revise approaches and be flexible. They often switch tasks frequently, cut through the bureaucracy and find ways around problems.

Follow Thru “Adapters” in Action

  • Susan, a 2 in Follow Thru, has spent years in the insurance industry. She can roll with whatever comes along and her ability to adapt to almost any situation has helped her manage many company acquisitions and reorganizations successfully. On the downside, it is difficult for her to set up new structures, so she must count on others to provide that focus.
  • Isaac has a 3 score and is a senior leader in a healthcare consulting practice. His adaptability allows him to move easily as projects change and switch from task to task without frustration. However, he recognizes that this can limit his ability to focus and complete projects, so he must work on keeping himself on task – something that drains his energy.


Effective teams have a balanced distribution of the three Follow Thru talents among their members. This allows them to put structures in place and make sure work gets completed, while also staying flexible and creating shortcuts when needed. The Maintainers will mediate between team members who need defined plans (Systematizers) and those who resist structured approaches (Adapters), so they can avoid tension and misunderstandings.


Are you a Follow Thru Systematizer, Maintainer, or Adaptor?

Contact me to discover how to optimize your talent for the best results and how to adjust your approach to collaborate most effectively with others.

Discover the other Kolbe Action Modes®:

Fact Finder Measures: Methods of Gathering and Sharing Information
Follow Thru Measures: Methods of Organizing 
Quick Start Measures: Methods of Dealing with Risk and Uncertainty
Implementor Measures: Methods of Handling Space and Tangibles 


Kolbe A™ Index and Action Modes® are the trademarks of Kathy Kolbe and Kolbe Corp. All rights reserved.


  1. Megan

    Thank you so much for this article. This is going to help me build and balance my team!

    • Susan

      Thank you, Megan. Please let me know if I can be helpful to you and your team.


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