At Pinney Insurance Center, Inc., one of the first tasks we have new team members do is complete what is called a Kolbe Assessment. The Kolbe test is a unique evaluation which identifies the natural work preferences and communication styles of each individual. The Kolbe helps us understand how to tailor our approach to each employee so we can make their job more enjoyable and employ them within our firm in the position most beneficial for them and us.

With each interaction, there’s the potential for built-in conflicts.

If you know someone’s Kolbe results, it helps you know how to communicate better with them. Knowing how to communicate with someone more efficiently does many things for us. It cuts down time needed for explanation, makes directions and expectations more clear, and those things put people in better positions to succeed.

One of the great things about Kolbe is its easiness to understand.

There are four categories that one can fall in to: Fact Finder (red), Follow Thru (blue), Quick Starters (green), and Implementers (yellow).

Fact Finder This category typically values titles. You might notice quite a few managers, directors, or vice presidents with a high-red number. The higher an individual scores in this area, the greater amount of facts they desire before proceeding toward a task.  A score of 7 -10 requires as many facts as possible. A score of 1-3 just needs an overview. Those scoring between 4 and 6 want facts, but just the essential ones.

Follow Thru This captures how we each arrange and design our tasks. People who score high in follow through value things like guarantees and assurances. Those with little follow through develop shortcuts and multi-task (and that’s OK). High scores indicate an ability to design systems and organize everything. Those in between see discrepancies easily and adjust their processes accordingly.

Quick Start This section deals with how we manage risk and uncertainty.  If you think about it, quickly starting a task or new venture means you’re taking a certain amount of risk because you’re starting with uncertainty. If you’re high in quick start, you’re an experimenter. You try things out to see what will happen. You go for it. If you’re low in Quick Start, it means you prefer to stick with the things you know will work. And if you’re in between, you’ll check things out and do a bit of investigation before actually trying something.

Implementer The final category measures how one feels about quality materials—the physical tools that can be touched and used. The folks with a high-yellow score would rather have a new computer or other “toy” than a raise, an impressive title, or an extra day off. People with a low Implementer score are good at visualizing how something should be done, but don’t let them near the tools—they might hurt themselves!

We use the Kolbe system every single day. Kolbe scores and colors are included on each employee’s I.D. tag so everyone can clearly see and know the best way to communicate with each other. For example, people who are Fact Finders—“high-reds”—need much more information to act than someone with a mid-range or low red. But if you provide too much information to someone with a low red score, their minds wander and you may lose them as they try to encourage you to get to the point. It’s all about efficiency and job satisfaction. If people enjoy what they’re doing, then they’ll do it better/ Kolbe is just one tool we use to help our employees enjoy their jobs more, so in turn, they serve our agents and brokers more effectively.

To find out more about the Kolbe Profile, visit