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What Kolbe results taught me about my family

April 08, 2019

  • Relationships

I went back home a few weeks ago — for the first time since my parents both took the Kolbe A™ Index — and I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that my entire life makes SO. MUCH. MORE SENSE.

Here’s the thing…I always knew that I was a bit different than my parents, but now I have actual proof.

Before I tell you my story, if you take one thing away from this post, I hope it’s this: you can instantly start to form a better relationship with the people you love if you understand how they’re naturally hardwired. Everything from communication, to planning trips, to picking out gifts becomes so much more clear and purposeful.  This learning starts by taking the Kolbe A Index.

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Ok, back to my folks….

Here’s a picture of my family at Thanksgiving. I added our Kolbe results to the picture so you can quickly see what I’m talking about. (My sister is in transition. Learn about what that means here).

Knowing our Kolbe results was such a game-changer that I highly recommend you get the results for your family, too.

First off, you’ll notice one clear similarity. We all need a decent amount of data and information to make a decision. My dad and I both have a 7 in Fact Finder, the first number in our result. My mom’s 5 allows her to follow along when we go “into the weeds” on certain subjects but she gets the answers she needs much faster than we do.

Similarities are good to know, but the interesting stuff happens when you take a look at our differences.

  • My mom is the only one who is an Initiating Follow Thru. That’s a 7-10 in the second number of the Kolbe result.  Knowing this years ago would’ve helped me understand that she doesn’t just like things put away in a specific spot in the kitchen or in our bedrooms — she needs it done that way or she’s stressed!   Her career choices when I was a kid make so much sense, too.  For years she was managing restaurant franchises and working as a bank teller, which allowed her to thrive because she got to manage systems and force closure at the end of a day by counting the money in her drawer. (She also manages the finances at home because my dad’s 4 in Follow Thru just goes along with whatever system she creates).
  • My dad is the only one who is an Initiating Implementor. That’s a 7-10 in the fourth number of the Kolbe result. This makes all the sense in the world because there’s ALWAYS a project going on at home. Always. And, he’s been working in heating and air conditioning my entire life. He was literally born to work with his hands, and I’m so happy that he discovered a career that fulfills his instinctive needs.


The biggest difference is how we all deal with risk and uncertainty — that’s called Quick Start. It’s the third number in the Kolbe result.

You can see that both of my parents Resist in Quick Start (1-3) and I’m a 6.  I finally understand why I’m the only one to introduce new things to the household. Seriously, if I’m not around they try NOTHING new. No new restaurants. No new stores. Same brand of shoes for years and years and years. Stability is the name of the game at my parent’s place, until I come to town.

Growing up, this drove me nuts!

Why do we always eat here?

Why do we always take family vacations to the same two spots?

Why do you buy the same “dad” shoes over and over and over again?


Turns out…they weren’t trying to bore me to death or ruin my life, they just have different needs and they handle new situations much differently. Their natural instinct is to stick with what’s currently working. They’re also extremely focused. And that’s okay!

When I discovered how my family naturally gets things done, it was like a weight lifted off my shoulders and truly exciting.
  • I’ve learned to only rarely get rid of a Christmas gift from my mom, even if I don’t care for it. She never forgets what she gave me, and 12 years later she’ll ask if I’m still using that highway emergency kit she got me with my first car.
  • I’ve also learned to keep it simple when it comes to gifts and recommendations. I may get bored of the same things all the time, but my parents thrive on the low-risk sneakers or sweaters we bring home.
  • I’m also not so quick to talk about changes I’d “like” to make to my house. My mom’s Follow Thru means that she’ll keep asking if I’ve retiled my bathroom yet, and my dad’s Implementor means that he’ll show me all the different materials to use. Meanwhile, it was just my Quick Start throwing out random ideas without a true plan to actually do the project.


I still have a lot to learn about my family and Kolbe results clearly don’t explain everything. We all have likes and preferences that are separate from our natural instincts. But, now that I know my family a little bit better, and I know that they haven’t purposefully been stressing me out for three decades, I can appreciate our differences and look forward to using our strengths to improve our relationship.

Thanks for reading my story, and please share what you learn from getting Kolbe A Index and Kolbe Y™ Index results for your family.
-Toby Phillips from Kolbe

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