Greatness begins with awareness.

How Your “Fact Finder” Plays Into Team Collaboration

FF-ThumbnailOne of the secrets to effective leadership and team collaboration is understanding people’s natural problem solving abilities. Such abilities can be measured by Kolbe ATM Index, which gives you a score of 1-10 in one of four Action Modes®: Fact Finder, Follow Thru, Quick Start and Implementor. A person’s Kolbe A Index score has been proven to not change throughout their life, which is why these natural abilities are referred to as “innate”.

Each Kolbe Action Mode has three operating zones and each zone represents a strength that can be equally useful when problem-solving.  One can easily take action plus or minus one unit on the continuum.  However, deep mental exhaustion can result when people are forced to take action for long periods of time in a way that is contrary to their natural patterns.

Collaborating with others is an ideal way to minimize this type of mental exhaustion. The key to creating teams that work well together is to understand in which zone each team member’s strength lies and how it plays with others when it comes to leadership and team collaboration.


Fact Finder is the Action Mode that deals with how much detail and complexity a leader or team member needs when solving problems. It provides the perspective of experience.  It also indicates how much information or data someone needs or doesn’t need when striving.

Fact Finder explanation


We say the innate strength of a person with a score of 7-10 in Fact-Finder is their ability to STRATEGIZE or SPECIFY. They initiate action by collecting date, establishing priorities and accessing probabilities and won’t start a task until they have gathered as much information as they need. Words that describe their talent are: justify, probe, investigate, define, and evaluate.

The “Strategize” Fact Finder talent can make for strong leaders and managers. Yet, in team collaboration, too many people with this strength will tend to create inertia:  the team will stop from jumping into situations without knowing the full story or building a thorough understanding of the issues required for an initiative.

Fact Finder “Strategizers” in Action
  • Jason, an 8 in Fact Finder, owns a digital marketing and web development firm. He views his Fact Finder as a big driver in his process to find solutions for his clients. He always starts by learning from others, reading about similar issues and researching historical evidence.  Jason realizes he needs to be careful not to get into analysis paralysis, exhausting himself when not satisfied and continuing to probe for the “right” solutions even beyond what might be needed. He has also learned to trim down his explanations to others, as those who don’t share his MO can be overwhelmed by all the details he provides.
  • Caroline, a leadership coach and consultant, has a 7 in Fact Finder. This means she can dig with specificity and own a topic with complete clarityShe also listens with keen precision and tends to be annoyed by people who don’t have the same level of precision and accuracy. This can cause her challenges in team collaboration. The Kolbe System™ has given her the awareness to trust people with a different approach, understanding how to work with them to create powerful results.
  • Greg, a 7 in Fact Finder, is a partner at a very successful financial marketing firm. Greg also has a 9 in Quick Start, so in addition to needing specifics, he works very quickly with innovative solutions.  He says, “I use my Fact Finder talent to govern my Quick Start energy, as I don’t always trust my instincts”.  His Fact Finder strength helps him slow down to verify his intuitive approaches.  As an initiating Fact Finder, Greg seeks to be right and not make a mistake so he often seeks expert’s validation. If there is not an expert or he doesn’t have time to vet his solution, he then uses his own experience as evidence.


When you are a 4-6 in Fact Finder, we describe that strength as the ability to EXPLAIN.  You are willing to review the data and work within priorities, but do not have to collect in-depth data to start problem solving.

In team collaboration, this talent is needed to create balance between those who won’t take action before enough info has been gathered and won’t over-analyze. In fact, an ideal team has about 50% of the team members with the talent to EXPLAIN.

Fact Finder “Explainers” in Action
  • Valeria, a marketing strategist, has a 4 in Fact Finder. She recognizes that research is a necessary part of her work, yet it does not give her energy.  She is able to extract crucial details and can hold her attention early in the fact finding process but loses interest in it once she feels she has enough information to get started.  For this reason, she has come to realize that clients who want her to do very meticulous research are not ideal for her.
  • Jennifer works as a controller at a consulting firm. Her 5 in Fact Finder makes her a strong complement to her boss and co-workers, most of whom are Strategizers with Fact Finder Result of 7-9. She is willing to provide them with the deep level of detail they require, though it can be frustrating for her because she does not sense that they need so much information. Jennifer used to think their requests for lots of data showed a lack of trust in her, however Kolbe has helped her see that it’s not the case. It’s just something they naturally need in order to take action.


For people that get a Result of 1-3, we say their innate strength is their ability to SIMPLIFY.  In team collaboration, they naturally prevent stagnation by not over analyzing, cutting through information and choosing the obvious solution.  They do not require written proof and won’t need exact comparisons.

Fact Finder “Simplifiers” in Action
  • Warren works as a Kolbe Certified™ Consultant. His score of 2 in Fact Finder gives him the capacity to estimate work well with very little information.  When reading or listening to his clients, he can quickly distill a lot of information into one sentence with the key points. It’s difficult for Warren to stay focused when doing research, so to manage the challenge, he does “wind sprints” – he works in short, fast chunks of time, breaking projects into pieces that can hold his attention.
  • Lori, a Human Resource consultant, speaker and facilitator also has a 2 in Fact Finder. This gives her the ability to not get bogged down in the details. She defines what she is looking for before she reads a proposal or a website, then goes right for the info she needs.  She is adept at listening for what she calls the “red flags” and, as soon as they appear, she moves on without seeking more information.  The challenge is that her natural approach might cause her to miss important information or give people the impression that she is not listening or interested.  Lori has found that delegating projects that need research has been a tremendous asset in managing her business.  She has also taught herself to come back and seek more details on things that she may have discarded and need second consideration.



The insights gained from your Kolbe Result can help you manage your mental energy and adjust your approach to work, leadership and team collaboration to be more productive. 

Contact me to learn about your Fact Finder Action Mode and all of your innate talent to increase how you contribute to your business.


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


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