Knowing and understanding your Kolbe and StrengthsFinder scores can strengthen your relationships and dramatically change the way you communicate with certain people.

I'm set to pursue my Kolbe certification in two weeks, and I've been paying closer attention to the ways my teammates currently use professional and personal assessments. I asked Marissa Brassfield, CEO and Founder of Ridiculously Efficient, and her husband, Mike Peterson, the Director of Lifestyle at Ridiculously Efficient, to share how understanding each other’s Kolbe and StrengthsFinder scores have affected them personally and how it has  impacted their relationship.

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  • Marissa: 6-8-5-2
  • Mike: 4-1-9-6

Strengths Finder (top 5):

  • Marissa: Maximizer, Relator, Achiever, Individualization, Strategic
  • Mike: Adaptability, Positivity, Futuristic, Empathy, Ideation

How has knowing your Kolbe and your Strengths Finder scores had the biggest impact on your relationship? Please give an example.

Marissa: I know that when Mike improvises, he’s not doing it to sabotage or hurt me -- he’s creating an alternative plan, as his instinct dictates. It’s one of the things I love and value most about him; he just beats to a different drum. But boy, did we have to learn to communicate!


The best example of this is when we moved into my childhood home this January. My dad had just died, and my mom died the year before him, so the house was very much still a home filled with their things.

Mike swears that he asked me if he could clean out the closets, and I said yes. For me, this meant: “I’m going to put the clothes, shoes and handbags in piles, and let you sort through it.” For him, this meant: “Bag it all up and take it to the consignment shop.” Both valid interpretations, but my 8 Follow Thru means I had a specific strategy and order in place for this process… and Mike’s 1 Follow Thru and 9 Quick Start means that he rebels when he feels boxed in, and improvises in times of uncertainty and chaos.

You can imagine how it went when I opened the closet and saw all of my mom’s clothing gone. I broke down and freaked out. Poor Mike drove back to the consignment shop, explained the situation to the poor shop owner, drove it all back, and put each and every piece back in the closet. Later, we talked about it like adults and got all squared away, but boy, without the Kolbe, that debriefing conversation would have been much longer and more animated.

Mike: Distribution of work! Marissa figured out the tasks I excel at, and we changed around a lot of our home responsibilities. We recently started sharing tasks that we used to do individually. For example, when we cook our HelloFresh meals, Marissa does the prep and gets the mise en place ready, and then reads out the recipes. I do the actual cooking, seasoning and plating. Prepping the vegetables is so boring, and I get distracted when reading the recipes, so it’s actually way more fun this way.


How has knowing your Kolbe and StrengthsFinder scores impacted the way you interact at home versus at work? Please provide examples.

Marissa: My Strengths Finder themes and 8 Follow Thru were transformative. I realized that I instinctively see the biggest and best in people, even if they don’t see it, and can figure out a plan to get them where they want to be. Both at home and at work, I began really seeking out opportunities to optimize everyone and everything in my path.

Mike: I didn’t change how I interacted in public or with others. At home, I’m much more forthcoming about my plans, to-dos and even errands -- I know Marissa will chime in and prioritize, rank order and rearrange for maximum productivity. :)

How has knowing your Kolbe and StrengthsFinder scores changed the way you communicate?

Marissa: I’m pretty even on Fact Finder, so I’m equally able to give brief bullet point summaries and lengthier, more contextual descriptions. When I learn someone’s Fact Finder score, I try extra hard to remember it and apply it in our conversations, either adding more information or sharing less information accordingly.


Mike: I’m careful about communicating fresh/unproven ideas to Marissa -- there’s much more of a filter. I have to sit on the idea for a day or so before I tell her, because [her high Follow Thru means] she hears ideas as to-do items.

What is the biggest change you implemented after knowing your Kolbe and StrengthsFinder scores?

Marissa: I echo the communication angle. I think Mike used to believe I was micromanaging him -- as in, I didn’t trust him to do it right. But now he knows that when I suggest a different way to do something, it’s to save him time or to help him get a bigger/better/faster/cheaper/easier result.

Mike: The biggest change was our communication, but it’s also changed how I approach tasks. I’m in the process of rehabbing our house, and my Adaptability strength with my 1 Follow Thru, 9 Quick Start and 6 Implementor score mean that every day needs a new task, and I work best when repetition isn’t involved.

How has knowing your Kolbe and StrengthsFinder scores affected your daily workflow and team interactions?

Marissa: I actively look for ways I can help catalyze action, both for my teammates’ individual tasks and myself. With my Strengths Finder and Follow Thru scores, I know I can help co-create a strategy that can break any barrier.

Mike: I intentionally focus on a new activity each day, even if that means it takes a few extra days for a project to get completed.

What is something you didn’t know about yourself, your S.O., or a team member after taking the Kolbe and StrengthsFinder?

Marissa: I knew Mike and I would be opposite in at least one Kolbe area, but I didn’t suspect we’d be near-polar opposites! I only know a couple people with a 9 or 10 Quick Start, so that was another surprise.

Mike: I love consuming information, so I thought I’d be much higher on the Fact Finder scale. But then my 1 Follow Thru means I don’t want to be too boxed in, so it all makes sense!

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