Greatness begins with awareness.

Know Your “Quick Start” For Good Leadership and Teamwork

QS-Thumbnail In both leadership and team building, one of the keys to success is to understand how each individual is naturally predisposed to solve problems. Exhaustion and poor performance often happen when we force ourselves to work against our nature. The Kolbe A™ Index, developed by Kathy Kolbe, measures people’s innate problem-solving patterns, providing a 1-10 score on 4 different Action Modes®. These insights can help leaders figure out their core leadership skills and how to make the most of them. In team building, knowing how each member approaches challenges helps assign roles to team members and enhances the team’s ability to work collaboratively and be as productive as possible.

Understanding Kolbe’s Quick Start Mode

The Quick Start (QS) score tells us how much change and risk leaders and team members need when they are striving.


When someone has a Kolbe Quick Start score of 7 or higher, it means they have a natural ability to INNOVATE or IMPROVISE when solving problems. People who initiate Action in Quick Start act with a sense of urgency.  They thrive on deadlines and react spontaneously to future- oriented issues. Their hurried efforts compress time with shortcuts and instant solutions.  Rather than a list of things to do, a drop-dead time governs the intense Quick Start hurrying to reach the bottom line.

Quick Start “Innovators” In Action
  • Laura, a senior marketing executive and an 8 in Quick Start recognizes her greatest gift as a leader is her ability to see the big picture, be comfortable in the unknown and grey, and generate many ideas. She realizes that many of the options she generates likely won’t be used – it is just part of her natural problem solving process.
  • Valeria is a branding and marketing strategist. Her 8 in Quick Start helped her embrace the unknown when she quit a secure job during the recession and moved to a brand new city and started a new business. The Kolbe Assessment helped Valeria realize that, to perform at her best, she needs to work quickly, shoot from the hip and take on many projects at once. Valeria works best under the pressure of a deadline.  Many would be stressed by the way she works, yet the last minute sense of urgency engages her to create smart, powerful solutions for her clients.
  • Jerome is a Managing Director of a successful accounting firm. He has a score of 9 in Quick Start, which confirms the innate speed and sense of urgency with which he operates.  As a leadership skill, this makes him the firm’s visionary: he sees what is possible for the firm, long before the other partners do, and often gets push back from others who are not ready for the new ideas that Jerome is excited to embrace.  He has come to trust his visionary talent and that has allowed the firm to grow significantly.  At the same time, when working with his team, Jerome needs to be patient and create innovative approaches to allow others to accept his ideas.
  • For Aaron, a consultant, his 7 in Quick Start means that he is drawn to solve his clients’ problems before they finish describing their situation.  The Kolbe Assessment showed him he has to take a breather and listen to all the clients have to say, or else he might rush into solving the wrong problem. This ability to be self-aware and manage himself has produced huge payoffs in his professional and personal life. 


When you score a 4-6 in Quick Start, your innate talent is the ability to MODIFY. These folks respond well to what their instincts tell them are critical risks and deadlines, but not to any that seem merely for the sake of creating an intense effort. They will do their best work when they can respond to change after a little amount of time, giving them time to let the notions settle.   They are willing to take risks, although they may not be the team member that will generate the new solutions or approaches.

Quick Start “Modifiers” In Action
  • Jackson has a 5 in Quick Start and owns a digital marketing company.  He says he will try new things, but usually gives his team the job of creating the firm’s out-of-the-box client solutions.  He is at his best when he plays the role of the mediator between  staff or clients that demand new options and those that resist new approaches.
  • Caroline is a business coach who uses the Kolbe Concept® with her clients.  She is a 6 in Quick Start, which means she may not be the one to bring new ideas to the table, yet openly engages with the ideas to bring them to life.  In teamwork situations, she is the bridge that helps reconcile the approach of the innovators with that of the people who seek to keep the status quo. She recognizes she literally brings together people who would otherwise find it hard to work with one another.
  • Albert, a Director of Database Management at a large university, says his 4 in Quick Start is one of his best assets.  When solving a problem, his inclination is not to spring immediately into action. Rather, he slows down problem solving to consider his approach before acting. This helps him make a decision that will hold for the long term, an important need in his field.  The only downside is that others might be concerned that he doesn’t have a sense of urgency, so he has to be mindful of that when collaborating in a team.


For people that get a score of 1-3, we say their innate strength is their ability to STABILIZE. They refuse to be rushed and won’t get caught up in competitive deadlines or distracting challenges.  They add an element of irrevocability that keeps activities from constant change.

Quick Start “Stabilizers” In Action
  • Michelle is the Vice President at a large utility company and is in charge of the control center.  Her Quick Start score is a 3.  She naturally questions if suggested changes are necessary.  Her primary goal is to ensure the operation runs without any chaos or disruptions.  Michelle has a constant eye on the weather report to be prepared for what could cause disruptions to service.
  • Jerry is a senior leader in an IT firm and his Kolbe Quick Start score is 2.  This gives him the innate ability to bring a sense of calm to the team and make sure things do not get out of hand.  Jerry recognizes that when new ideas are suggested, his natural inclination is to say NO.  To collaborate well with people who are more inclined to innovate, he has trained himself to respond that he will get back to them the next day, knowing that the extra time with allow him to entertain the new idea.
  • Bob had a long and successful career as a commercial banker and recently transitioned to be an independent investor for global health initiatives.  Bob has a score of 3 in Quick Start and would say it has strongly contributed to his success because it naturally predisposes him to make sure his clients and projects are not exposed to financial risk.


Effective teams have people with different Quick Start scores. Innovators, modifiers, and stabilizers can all be very good leaders, if they lead using their innate talents. The important thing is to know how your natural strengths support your role, how to manage when it challenges you and how to best work with those around you. Learn more about Kolbe Contact me to find out how the Kolbe Quick Start mode can impact leadership and teamwork for you.   Kolbe A™ Index and Action Modes® are the trademarks of Kathy Kolbe and Kolbe Corp. All rights reserved.


  1. Pam Morris

    Susan, I really like your examples. They really show how each person leads with their unique QS talent. Thank you!

    • Susan

      Thanks, Pam. Fun stuff!


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