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Episode 240 | Leveraging Kolbe A™ Index for Enhanced Team Dynamics with Niki Ramirez

Kolbe Index, Leadership team dynamics, Kolbe results, Action modes, Fact Finder, Follow Through, Quick Start, Implementer, Cognitive side, Conflict minimization, Natural instincts, Collaboration, Productivity, Mental health group practices, Clear expectations, Diversity, Inclusive work environment, Decision-making processes, Collaborative team dynamic, HR Answers, Kolbe assessment, Leadership teams, Team structure

WITH Niki Ramirez

  • Episode 240 | Leveraging Kolbe A™ Index for Enhanced Team Dynamics with Niki Ramirez 00:00


Have you ever wondered how understanding your team’s instinctive problem-solving styles could transform your leadership and enhance collaboration? 

In this episode, I had a conversation with Niki Ramirez from HR Answers about just that. We explored the Kolbe A™ Index and its impact on group practice leadership teams. Join our conversation to learn more about:

  • The essence of the Kolbe A™ Index and how it identifies our natural instincts for taking action.
  • An overview of the four action modes defined by the Kolbe A™ Index that influence our problem-solving approaches.
  • Personal reflections on our own Kolbe results and the insights gained from them.
  • The benefits that group practice owners can reap by acknowledging and valuing the diverse instinctive strengths of their teams.
  • Nikki’s expert advice on how to effectively integrate Kolbe assessments into team development for a more inclusive and dynamic work environment.

My chat with Nikki was not only insightful but also a testament to the power of embracing the unique talents within our teams. I’m convinced that leaders who leverage tools like the Kolbe A™ Index are well on their way to fostering a more collaborative and successful practice.

Thanks for listening! Like what you heard? Give us 5 stars on whatever platform you’re listening from. Need extra support? Join The Exchange, a membership community just for group practice owners on our website Talk to you next time!


Resources mentioned in this episode:

The Group Practice Exchange Programs + Courses

The Accountability Equation™ Quiz


Connect with Maureen Werrbach & The Group Practice Exchange:






Connect with Niki Ramirez and HR Answers:

HR Answers Website

Niki’s LinkedIn

HR Answers Facebook 


This episode is sponsored by TherapyNotes. TherapyNotes is an EHR software that helps behavioral health professionals manage their practice with confidence and efficiency. I use TherapyNotes in my own group practice and love its amazing support team, billing features, and scheduling capabilities. It serves us well as a large group practice owner.

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Maureen Werrbach

Maureen Werrbach (00:00:01) – You’re listening to the Group Practice Exchange podcast, where the business development resource for group practice owners, where we talk candidly about business ownership and leadership. I’m your host, Maureen Werrbach. 


This episode is sponsored by Therapy Notes. Therapy notes is my favorite EHR, and it’s one that I’ve been using in my own group practice since 2014. They’ve got everything you need to be successful in your group practice, and they’re constantly making updates and have live support. If you want two free months of therapy notes, go to 


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Hey everyone! Welcome back to another episode of The Group Practice Exchange podcast. Today I have someone on who is not new. She’s been on the podcast before, and a lot of you probably have worked with her in some HR capacity.


Maureen Werrbach (00:01:27) – Today I’m on with Niki Ramirez from HR answers, and we’re going to be talking about my, I guess, new favorite thing to talk about, which is the Kolbe A  Index and how to leverage your Kolbe A  Index for enhanced leadership team dynamics. Hi, Niki. Hey, good morning Maureen. Since you had my team take it, what, two years ago? I think maybe initially I’m, like, obsessed with this and I keep talking any any business owner I talk to, I’m like, oh, you must be a quick start. Oh, you must be a fact finder. And some are like, what are you talking about? I’m like, you need to take this. It just changes how you have conversations with other people in your life, whether for business or not. So I’m really excited to talk about this.


Niki Ramirez (00:02:08) – Me too. Thank you. Yeah.


Maureen Werrbach (00:02:10) – So for those who don’t know what I’m talking about, I know there’s going to be a bunch of listeners who know their culber. And when we get into like the meat and potatoes in today’s episode, they’ll get some extra nuggets.


Maureen Werrbach (00:02:22) – But for those that are like, I don’t even know what you’re saying right now, what is Kolbe, can you talk a little bit about what it is and what it does for us, not only as individuals, but also in the business context?


Niki Ramirez (00:02:34) – Yeah, definitely. And kind of like you, Maureen. Since I stumbled upon the Kolbe, I’ve been fascinated by the idea that we are able to tap into information about how people get things done. And that’s really, in short, what the Kolbe A inspects in us. And so it’s a way to discover how a person takes action when they want to achieve a goal. And it’s unique for each of us. And so sort of in very different ways in our obsession, I got obsessed with it. And so I studied it for like four years before I decided I was going to make it a part of my HR consulting practice. And the way that I work with leaders in business. And you were all in right away.


Maureen Werrbach (00:03:15) – So that was very fact finder of you and very quick sort of me.


Niki Ramirez (00:03:20) – That’s right. Exactly. So it’s a really perfect example, though, of how people uniquely get things done. And so we were both interested in using this information to do better work with our teams, to get more connected with our teams, to communicate better, push our business goals forward. But we did it in really unique in different ways. You know, I felt in my business that I couldn’t move forward using the Kolbe until I was an expert, because there are ways about accomplishing our goals that start with finding information and facts. And so these are the modes in which we operate. And so you already dropped a couple of Kolbe terms, right. So fact finder is a person who starts to get things done by finding information and becoming an expert, quote unquote. Right. We can’t move forward until we feel like we know enough about the topic or the goal or whatever it is, and then folks that are a little bit more inclined to innovate when they want to get something done, they just jump in and they say, you know what? If we break it, we’ll fix it.


Niki Ramirez (00:04:21) – If it doesn’t work, we’ll try something else. And so that’s a quick start. A person who initiates and quick start. There are four different ways that people initiate when they want to get things done. So fact find is the first one. Follow through is the second one. And that’s the type of person who, in order to get things done, needs to have a system or a process in place first. So these are the folks that are like, okay, I get it. We’re going to, you know, work on a leadership development program. We’re going to design a leadership development program. Well, how many sessions are we going to have? Where is it going to be located? Is this online or in person. So they want to build the system around it first. Then they’ll fill in the details with the facts. Then they’ll start to try, you know, putting things together, build out the design for the room and let’s go. So they start follow through. Start by designing a process which is wild to me and.


Maureen Werrbach (00:05:10) – Wild to me. I was like thinking, that is so opposite of me. As a quick start, the person that can kind of jump in. If an idea sounds good, yeah, I will jump in. I’m okay with making mistakes. I’m okay with course correcting. I don’t need to have it all laid out. I kind of like learn to fly the ship when I’m on it. Yeah., and, like, coming up with all of this, like you just bringing up, like, where are we having the meetings, you know, what time is it going to be at the same time of day? To me, I’m like, we are wasting time here talking about this. Like, let’s just meet here this week and we’ll figure it out like later. We don’t have to have it all mapped out.


Niki Ramirez (00:05:44) – Yep. Indeed. Yeah. So that’s three out of the four action modes. The last one is called initiator. And also let me just use we have these common terms in society.


Niki Ramirez (00:05:54) – So let me go back to follow through. Follow through doesn’t mean that’s a person who gets things done and checks them off the list. Again it doesn’t mean the ability to follow through. It means follow through using a system. And then so we had our fact find follow through quick. Start. And then the last one is our initiating mode that is implementer. So these are people that we know that will grab a toolbox to get things done. And so they need to use their hands most often in order to really feel like they are acting instinctually. So if this person if my initiating implementer is in my leadership team and they are helping me plan this leadership development experience, I’m going to let them probably get up, walk around during the meeting. They’re probably going to move some chairs around and conceptualize what the room might look like, what might be the best physical way to set up our space so that people can connect and communicate so we can tap into everybody’s initiating styles. We can think about how can we best capitalize on the use of the instincts to get the leadership development workshop planned? Right.


Niki Ramirez (00:06:52) – So we have the same goal, but we’re going to approach it in all these different ways.


Maureen Werrbach (00:06:56) – What I love about it is that it’s all like strengths based. And when I think about leadership and leadership teams, just from my own personal perspective, I always thought that it was hard to have a group of people together, even if they’re aligned on like the vision of where the business is supposed to go. I always thought, like, I just want to do it one, because I’m a quick start and I can get it over with. But also like, I always had this feel like it’s just so hard to get everyone on board in the same way and not have circular conversations and not have some people like making things slower, or like finding every problem to a potential thing before even getting started. And it wasn’t until you had our team take the Kolbe A  a couple of years ago that it changed my frame of thinking around, that it didn’t change the fact that things are a little slower than I still want.


Maureen Werrbach (00:07:52) – Or is that like it just that’s natural. But the way I see it now is I’m like, oh, my team has the gamut of, you know, not as many quick starts like me on the team. And so I can see the strengths now of the other team members and know there’s so much that I can’t offer with my quick start ness that is harnessed by everyone else on my team, and so I can work through my desire to move through quickly by remembering that the rest of my team has these very unique but very positive parts to them that kind of play into that. And so our conversations often are like, that’s so quick start of you. They’ll be like, to me or I’ll be like, I know you’re fat finder right now wants to fact find to death, but can we fact find only until Friday, you know, and we’ve just really learned how to communicate better around getting things done in a way that really allows us all to be who we are in that Kolbe way.


Niki Ramirez (00:08:48) – Yeah.


Niki Ramirez (00:08:49) – And fundamentally, that’s a huge reason that business leaders enjoy the Kolbe system and using the Kolbe A as a hub, because what we’re doing is helping to minimize conflict, because we care about each other and we know about each other. So that minimizes conflict in general, but also it reduces stress. So I recognize that I have now a deadline for my fact finding, so I can use my time and energy in whatever design I want from a task and priority management standpoint. I still only have 24 hours in the day, but I know my deadline is Friday, and so, you know, I can engage in my instincts, I can capitalize on my instincts. But I have now as a team, I have an expectation. This is our deadline. This is our process. And so we really can minimize stress and minimize conflict by learning about our instinctual way of getting things done and then really creating space for people to do it their natural way, which, you know, as a leader, I think that’s the most difficult part for us.


Niki Ramirez (00:09:46) – Like jump in a hurdle, though, it’s behind you once you do it. It’s not like climbing a mountain that’s hard for a long time. This is like a hurdle, like just get over it. Yeah.


Maureen Werrbach (00:09:54) – That’s true.


Niki Ramirez (00:09:55) – Yeah. You know, that’s my fact finder too, by the way, speaking in analogies.


Maureen Werrbach (00:09:58) – I love that I’m horrible at that.


Niki Ramirez (00:10:00) – My visual language is part of my implementer I have. Well, why don’t we tell people what our phobias are? I didn’t think to say that.


Maureen Werrbach (00:10:07) – Oh my God, I’m horrible with knowing my numbers. I just essentially say that I am a high, I think a nine on the quick start and then I’m like a three and everything else, which essentially means that I’m really low on Fact-Finding, I’m low on follow through, I’m low on initiating. I like to come up with the ideas, and then what works best for me is like handing it off and then moving on to the next amazing idea idea, I think. Right am I am, I’m nine and the rest are threes.


Niki Ramirez (00:10:37) – Yep, yep. Yeah you are. So the the way that the Colbert index, the way we talk about is a four number series. Right. And so the first number represents our result in fact. Fine. So you’re A3394 okay. So three in fact find means that you like things to be simplified. You’re a bullet points person. Yep. Then you have your three and follow through. Which means that you might tend to wing it if allowed to do that. So if allowed to act instinctually, you’re going to wing it. Give that nine in quick starts with a long green line. And here again the small number doesn’t mean less powerful. It just we needed a label. You know, every system has labels so that we label it with a number. And then we’ve got this long green line. If you have an image of your Colbert Index, and that means that when Maureen’s allowed to get things done, Maureen is absolutely going to do trial and error. She’s going to engage in brainstorming.


Niki Ramirez (00:11:24) – She’s going to do snap step, let’s go and keep moving. And then that for in implementer we line up in that space. So that’s like the idea that in order to get things done you do need to have time to move around. You probably find yourself standing up and walking around a lot. You might like to sit by a window, have the window open so you can gaze outside. You know, there’s a combination of using your intellectual skills, which is our cognitive side, to get things done. And then we stack that with our Kolbe, our instinctual way of doing. And we have like such a powerful combination. And that’s, you know, I think before we talk, maybe just a little bit more about leadership, the Kolbe system really does honor the fact that there are multiple parts of us in our minds. There are multiple areas of, you know, just who we are, like in our brains. So there’s the Kolbe side that how we get things done. There is a term for it.


Niki Ramirez (00:12:17) – It’s called the cognitive side of our mind. But then, you know, especially in your industry, which, by the way, I have loved like talking Kolbe in the mental health industry because, I mean, I’m working with psychiatrists and neuroscientists and people, you know, psychologists and therapists. And so we get to have these really neat conversations about how we can engage in a new inspection of the mind. So the cognitive side, how we get things done instinctually. So we have our cognitive side, you know, the the things we know and learn. And then we have our affective side, our personalities, our emotions, our values and the affective side and the cognitive side. Those develop and change over time. And so as we grow and we have new experiences and we learn new things, those continue to just morph and grow throughout our lifetime. And the cognitive side where our Kolbe index is represented, it is pretty stable. And that’s one of the neatest parts of this Kolbe system for me. You know, working with folks and saying, this is a very stable part of who you are.


Niki Ramirez (00:13:14) – And that’s why from time to time, maybe in school or even just trying to get things done with your family and especially at work, when someone has really insisted that you go about doing something a different way. Like if someone insisted that you, Maureen, first create a plan and write it out. Oh yeah, think about all the times in school maybe that they said, put together your outline first. Yep. What did you feel like when somebody said that? Like you have to have your outline in first. That’s the first thing we do here.


Maureen Werrbach (00:13:43) – Yeah. No, I don’t know. I wouldn’t do it. I guess I could like bullet point, but it wouldn’t be organized like it would be jotting of thoughts and it wouldn’t be set up in outline format or in like first, second, third. No, I would much prefer to just write it and then move sentences around if I needed to. Once I got to the end of it.


Niki Ramirez (00:14:02) – Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So, you know, we go about these different ways of getting things done, but then we couple it with our intelligence, you know, the things we know.


Niki Ramirez (00:14:10) – So you as a learner, you learned that you better do it a certain way or you wouldn’t get a good grade though. Right. And so you forced yourself to do it the way that the teacher said, for example. And then when we, you know, I hear you using language like I feel a certain way as we’re talking. And so it really is, you know, just this wonderful, like blend of who we are when we think about how to capitalize on our Kolbe instincts. But then also, how does that pair up with our personality and where we are today in the development of our life as a mature person? How does that pair up with my wisdom and my intelligence and my skills? So, you know, just making space for people to learn about their instincts, learn about how they will be able to get things done with the lowest level conflict and the lowest level of stress. I think it’s just such a gift for teams to. Yeah, you know, we talk about investing in teams, and we know that there are mechanisms that we can use to get to know people, to forge stronger relationships, more fulfilling interactions.


Niki Ramirez (00:15:08) – And this is just a no brainer at this point for us.


Maureen Werrbach (00:15:10) – I agree, I have a such an aside question. You were talking about how the Kolbe is cognitive, so it is pretty fixed. At what age could someone take the Kolbe start? Like could my kids take it? Or is it is there a point that obviously there’s a point that is too early? Where is that?


Niki Ramirez (00:15:28) – Yeah. So somewhere around 16 is where the Kolbe team believes that that’s probably the best entry point. But the Kolbe system is actually much larger than the Kolbe A, and there are tools for younger folks to use. So I’ve used all sorts of Kolbe tools in, you know, parts of the Kolbe system in my business as a consultant in your business, but also at home. So they have like a lot of really neat things that we can engage in to inspect, sort of where people are and start to poke around for younger folks. So there’s a whole youth side. It just makes.


Maureen Werrbach (00:15:58) – Me think, like if kids or younger people, like young adults or teenagers had that information and.


Maureen Werrbach (00:16:06) – Our teachers had that information and their parents had like, how much more powerful like those relationships can be and how much better we as parents could be in supporting the kids.


Niki Ramirez (00:16:16) – Well, because we’re talking Kolbe in this, you know, may very well trickle through to the Kolbe organization. Let me tell you that that is a huge it’s like a center of where they are from a values perspective, getting Kolbe tools to youth and getting them into schools and getting them into systems where we can start these conversations with families, with teachers. It’s a huge initiative and undertaking at Kolbe Corp. So it’s really exciting because it means a lot. You know, when we allow people to inspect who they are naturally at whatever age they find their way to the Kolbe systems. Like I said, it’s just such a gift to be able to speak to your instincts and to be permitted, allowed and encouraged to do things in your most natural way.


Maureen Werrbach (00:16:53) – Yeah. Okay. Going back, you mentioned mine three, three, nine, four.


Maureen Werrbach (00:16:58) – Go through yours and then maybe we can start with the how? Because you and I work together. Because I think that can translate into practice owners and their teams when they know each other’s. Kolbe’s how to just work best with each other. We can talk about how you and I do that.


Niki Ramirez (00:17:12) – Yeah, definitely. Yep. So your three three, nine three, it matches up you know okay. With my 8444. Yeah it really does. You know I think that big long eight red line that I have does mean that I do initiate when I’m achieving my goals by fact finding researching really becoming a person who can speak to the topic. So I don’t really like to jump in. It does create stress for me. If someone says like, oh, let’s hop on a call and I’ll tell you what it’s about. When we get there, I’m like, oh hell no, that’s not that would.


Maureen Werrbach (00:17:45) – Do that with me too, though.


Niki Ramirez (00:17:47) – Yeah, and that could be part personality.


Maureen Werrbach (00:17:49) – I was going to say I think that’s actually childhood trauma type stuff.


Maureen Werrbach (00:17:52) – Maybe not like a cognitive stuff.


Niki Ramirez (00:17:55) – Yeah, yeah. And exactly. And I think that is one of the super fantastic things though, about, you know, working the Kolbe system into mental health group practices is that we really can recognize that there’s so much going on behind these eyeballs in our brains out there. You know, we can we carry a lot of our emotions into the way we get things done to. So yeah, but when, you know, when we are able to act instinctually, that means that I am going to I’m going to be that person who, if you give me till Friday to research, I’m going to research it till Friday. Yeah. And so in order to work well together, we have to have good boundaries. We have to set good, clear expectations between, you know, one another. And when we are able to do that in a way that does make space for each of us to achieve our next step, our next milestone, or the entire project. Naturally, then that makes for a really fun and fulfilling work experience too.


Niki Ramirez (00:18:44) – I have all these fours across the line after the eight, which means that I just kind of am happy to do it however you would like to do.


Maureen Werrbach (00:18:50) – It, because you’re sort of right in the middle, right? Yeah, four is kind of a middle space.


Niki Ramirez (00:18:55) – Yeah. So yeah. And again, within each of those action modes we’ve got ten, we’ve got 0 or 1 through ten. Could be the number. And one, two, three is like kind of the lowest bar across the top. That’s called like a counteract zone. The middle is 4 or 5 and six. That’s a react zone. There are labels for everything in Kolbe. And so it takes a while. It does take a while to learn all the labels. And then that seven, eight, nine, ten is the initiating zone. So yeah. And you know, I’m kind of like across the middle just it’s called react. And so yeah, I’m pretty, you know, pretty good with whatever. And I think there are opportunities for us to push one another.


Niki Ramirez (00:19:29) – And that’s the exciting part too, about learning how our Kolbe’s are unique and different is that when I recognize that I have the opportunity to work with someone who’s a nine and quick start, I absolutely want to take your lead. And I want to listen carefully when you decide to change shift gears or to implement a new idea or, you know, just work through the generation of an idea and, you know, the sort of project planning I take that opportunity to learn and say, okay, you know, I know that there’s a complement of ways that we get things done. And sometimes I get stuck, in fact, find in that analysis paralysis. And so I want to be able to really, you know, just learn from the folks around me too. And so I, you know, I love that about working with you that I get to watch your example of like, nope, let’s just go. You know, I can remember when we were in your Accountability Equation Live program, it was amazing to see you on the fly.


Niki Ramirez (00:20:22) – Decide that there were different ways that we were going to serve the group members that came to that onsite event. It was an amazing event, and people were working through so many great ideas, and you really capitalize on your instincts by saying, okay, I think that we need to just make time to talk about this thing later. And before lunch, you had zooms planned out and it was like, done, done and done.


Maureen Werrbach (00:20:45) – So I will say that equally nice as someone who sometimes zips through things and can overwhelm other people. In working with you and I, my team I have in my group practice also, a lot of fact finders is the ability for them to sometimes ask me questions that give me pause. That like force that pours in me, that have probably saved me in a lot of ways from, you know, making decisions that would have just failed, even though I don’t mind failing. It’s, you know, also not very fun for a bunch of other people who maybe failure’s not as fun for.


Maureen Werrbach (00:21:22) – And so I do really appreciate that a lot of the fact finders in my life will just ask, like, inquisitive questions around the thing that I’m speeding through that can sometimes help me,, slow down a little bit and be more intentional, because I think maybe that is sometimes the thing I need to be more aware of as a quick start is intentionality behind some decisions versus like maybe the dopamine hit, or the excitement or the need for like newness and change and like, not sitting still to happen.


Niki Ramirez (00:21:54) – Yeah. No, definitely. And we can enjoy newness and novelty in different parts of our lives. So when we remember, like where a person who, you know, really just loves a new painting on the wall, they swap their paintings out a lot and things like that, you know, redecorating often that could be a personality trait, right? But it also could be part of your Kolbe. So when you think about, you know, how do we get organized to get things done when we have somebody who is counteracting and quick start? So your partner in crime at Urban Wellness, of course is a three in quick start.


Niki Ramirez (00:22:30) – Yep. And you are nine.


Maureen Werrbach (00:22:31) – We are literal opposites. But absolutely we work so well together.


Niki Ramirez (00:22:36) – Yeah. And so I think that’s kind of what you’re describing though too. Right. You’re saying I am going to get things done by trying things out, by taking risks. And for somebody like Dana who has a three in quick start, her natural way of getting things done is to hold strong on what’s working like, why would we change that, Maureen? It’s working. Yeah.


Maureen Werrbach (00:22:55) – And also to have 800 notebooks with notes on everything. And I just go, do you look at those ever again? Or is this like. And,, no, it’s that is the way that she can engage more in that fact finding and it probably like, activates her brain in a certain way that she needs to by writing it down. But I, I always watch slightly overwhelmed by how much he’s writing. And I’m like, what? What are we going to do with all of that? You have so many notebooks.


Niki Ramirez (00:23:21) – Yes, indeed.


Maureen Werrbach (00:23:23) – It works so well because now that we know those things about each other, like when she’s has me pause maybe on, you know, changing a policy or procedure that’s working or whatever. And she goes, hold up. I mean, this this thing is working. So this is an example for like the leadership part of it is I don’t now for years, if anyone tried to stop me from something that I thought was a great idea, my natural instinct would be to be like, why are you so resistant? Like, I’ll do it. You don’t have to do it. Why are you saying no? Why are you, you know, and there was just this natural instinct to feel like that. It’s just resistance. People are resisting change. And, you know, and now that I know that, it’s just.


Niki Ramirez (00:24:04) – Part of their natural way. Yeah.


Maureen Werrbach (00:24:06) – And it’s not a negative. It’s not resistance. And so I know when I have something that I want to bring up, like I already know if it’s coming from a very quick, sturdy place.


Maureen Werrbach (00:24:15) – And I’ll just start with that. And so a lot of our conversations in leadership will just start with like my quickstart brain has this really awesome idea. I also know that only one of you, Amy, is a quick start. So all eight other of you are going to be freaked out for a second. And. But I also then know my timeline expectations are going to be very different and I don’t come at it with the like, resentment or kind of like, how am I going to convince them that I used to have, which I think is what’s created a much nicer bond with the leadership team, is not viewing it from that negative perspective, but more from like, okay, it’s just a literal different way of taking information in and making that information move forward.


Niki Ramirez (00:24:56) – Yeah. Yep. Somebody assigns us a task and we’re able to approach getting it done in so many different ways. And it really is wonderful when we think and, you know, for businesses that are dedicated to building a diverse team of employees, right, which is something that I know that you’re dedicated to and so am I.


Niki Ramirez (00:25:14) – That does include just the way we get things done, personalities. It’s not, you know, we can’t stop with race, religion, age, ability. There is so much more to who we are and how different we are. And so when we are working in the practice and looking at who is on the leadership team and for, you know, super fun, we’ve taken it to your admin team. And so that’s been fantastic to, you know, looking at the they’re very similar in the way they get things done, not surprisingly right. There is some diversity in the, you know, the order of operations. But you got a lot of people who are initiating and follow through those people who are systematized hours. Yeah, of course.


Maureen Werrbach (00:25:48) – I guess that would make sense for like a very specific type of position. Yeah.


Niki Ramirez (00:25:52) – And like I said before too, there are different pieces of Kolbe’s. So there are ways that we can build a profile just for a job. And so we’ve done that.


Niki Ramirez (00:25:59) – And then when we go to recruitment we’re saying, okay, well what kind of best candidate are we looking for based on their. Variance their knowledge so cognitively based on their personality. How good of a fit are they going to be, but also based on the way they get things done? How good of a fit will they be for this particular job? Yeah. So it’s pretty neat to, you know, peel it all apart that way. And really, you know, looking at your team, we do have tools that we use then that we sort of stack all of your Kolbe’s together and we look at the distribution across your team’s strengths. And it’s really fantastic to see that you have all 12 strengths represented at this time on your leadership team, which is pretty incredible.


Maureen Werrbach (00:26:38) – Yeah, I feel like it’s probably pretty common, at least when starting a business. Or maybe this is of the times because I feel like if I start a business now, I have so much more at my fingertips knowledge to like, have access to that.


Maureen Werrbach (00:26:51) – When I started my business over a decade ago, there was just less at my fingertips, so I had to like, learn more by doing, I guess.


Niki Ramirez (00:27:00) – Very quick start of you.


Maureen Werrbach (00:27:02) – Yeah it is. It worked well for me. Probably didn’t work well for a lot of those that weren’t quick starts of the time, but I remember feeling like when I was first hiring people, that I wanted to hire people as similar to me as possible because it would feel easiest. Like, I work this way and I’m successful in my business. If I have more like me, the business will just be easier to manage, right? And it wasn’t until years later that I embraced not only like diversity and just the way we think about therapy, or the way that having people that kind of challenged my thoughts initially as a business owner was helpful, and then it took it even a step further once we learned about the Kolbe A . And at that point I was like, oh, I want you mentioned gift a couple times, and I feel the same way is that the more that our leadership has evolved and now we have this team with all of the Kolbe pretty much represented, I just feel like we’re covering everything.


Maureen Werrbach (00:28:01) – There’s the way my business can flourish is going to happen, because there’s such diversity in how we view the world, how we show our strengths and like how we come together as a team, which would not be there if we were all quick starts, even though maybe ease wise would be great, like we’d be flying through things, but I don’t think we would be as successful if I had a team full of quick starts like me. And it’s taken up to this whole be to really embrace all of those differences and not be like secretly wishing people were a little bit more like me, you know? No.


Niki Ramirez (00:28:37) – Yeah, that’s such a good point, Maureen. And I, you know, for the purpose of even expanding past your leadership goals, maybe to grow a business, to be profitable. Super important when we think about the idea that leaders exist to create conditions for success for the team, when you have this diversity in your leadership team, that means that your clinicians are represented by their leaders. That means your admin team members, they can see themselves in leaders, whether it’s their direct report leader or not.


Niki Ramirez (00:29:04) – They see that we have this incredible, diverse team of leaders who do go about getting things done differently, and so they are able to act on their instincts and feel comfortable, which is really the key to implementing any type of system that really does have diversity, equity and inclusion at the center that we not only have, we can attract all these great people, but we retain them and they really are free to be themselves.


Maureen Werrbach (00:29:29) – Yeah, I want to ask one last question and end with this, okay. Just because you, you know, I know you’ve been doing these cold bays with a lot of other group practices because just in the circle of group practice owners that I know, most of them have taken this, but like in the past couple of years of you administering these in our industry at least, what kind of changes have you seen most commonly happen after practices or leaders in group practices? Take this assessment.


Niki Ramirez (00:30:01) – Yeah. You know, the first thing that happens is that practice leaders practice owners feel validated.


Niki Ramirez (00:30:07) – And that’s a really great place to start. So you know, kind of like you described, you know, being able to identify like, okay, these are the words that go with how I do things like God that feels good to be able to describe it. And so I’m feeling validated that the way that I’ve been approaching leading my business is absolutely going to work. So it’s it’s validating. It’s also confirming, yep, I’m on the right track because there’s no wrong way to get things done. And then from there, the biggest shift that I see you’ve already described it is that leaders look at their team members as folks that are not resisting their leadership or resisting their ideas. They are simply trying to get things done in their most natural way. And it is instinctual and we cannot fight it. And if we do try to fight it, then we do create conflict and stress. And so leaders that are willing to engage in using the Coba are just going to find that they see their employees as much more willing that they are looking at them as a person who does want to collaborate.


Niki Ramirez (00:31:05) – It’s just that collaboration. It actually looks a little different than you thought it did in the beginning.


Maureen Werrbach (00:31:10) – Yeah, I really appreciate you coming on again. I know you’ve been out a couple of times. For those that don’t know you, can you give us a little bit of information on you and where they can find you? And then for those that do know you but maybe haven’t done the Kolbe, I know you offer beyond HR services some support in doing the Kolbe assessments. Can you share that. Yeah yeah.


Niki Ramirez (00:31:31) – For sure. So is our HR consulting firm. And I do have a team of HR consultants that work with us. And we provide support and services for group practice owners and some other small service based businesses. Just really helping to inspect the way that HR is getting done in the business and create systems and foundations to make sure that we’re stable, compliant, and then we can really kick off the fun stuff like working on leadership development and working on our Kolbes. And we do have always just we have a small discount on the shelf price for Kolbe.


Niki Ramirez (00:32:03) – So anybody who is interested in completing their Kolbe over at HR answers org, they can snap up. There could be a credit. And from there we can look at putting together sort of a stacked program where we analyze the leaders Kolbe a one on one and debrief. From there, we can put together a package that we make available to all their leaders or their entire team. Depends what the design of the team is. Access to a Kolbe eight for each of them. Leadership debriefing includes looking at how everybody stacks up together, and that’s where you get some really fun visual reports to where you can see how people, even though maybe on your team, you know, you and Amy, you mentioned you both start in quick start and from there you actually spend a little bit different amounts of time in other areas of getting things done. So although we might initiate the same, there is still variety and diversity in the way we get stuff done. So the leaders, we stack it with a team report. And then for those folks that want to go all in, we can put together a leadership accelerator, which is what we do with your team at Urban Wellness, where we get together and we talk about the application of this knowledge in the context of communication, collaboration and conflict resolution.


Niki Ramirez (00:33:11) – So those are our three keys. And then if anybody wants to just blow it out of the water and have a lot of fun, then we have a whole team workshop. That’s our exceptional teams workshop where you get together and just have a blast where, you know, digging into the Kolbe and really having fun learning about who’s on the team.


Maureen Werrbach (00:33:25) – Awesome. All right. So is where they can find information on all that.


Niki Ramirez (00:33:30) – Yep yep.


Maureen Werrbach (00:33:31) – Well I appreciate you coming on again.


Niki Ramirez (00:33:33) – Thanks Maureen. Yeah really nice to be invited back.


Maureen Werrbach (00:33:36) – Yeah I’ll see you later okay.


Niki Ramirez (00:33:38) – Adios for now.


Maureen Werrbach (00:33:40) – Thanks for listening. Give us five stars on whatever podcast streaming service you use and I’ll see you next week.

Thanks For Listening

Thanks for listening to the group practice exchange podcast. Like what you heard? Give us five stars on whatever platform you’re listening from. Need extra suppor? Join The Exchange, a membership community just for group practice owners with monthly office hours, live webinars, and a library of trainings ready for you to dive into visit www dot members dot the group practice exchange dot com forward slash exchange. See you next week.


Here are the resources and guides we recommend based on this episode

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therapy notes

*Need a good EHR for your group practice? TherapyNotes is it. I’ve been using it for years in my own group practice, and it does really well when it comes to having the features group practice owners need. Try it out for FREE for 2 months by clicking here.

* I am an affiliate for some of the businesses I recommend. These are companies that I use in my own group practice, and make recommendations based off of my experience with them. When you use some of these companies through my links, I receive compensation, which helps me continue to offer great free information on my podcast, blog, Facebook group, and website.

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Meet your host


Maureen Werrbach is a psychotherapist, group practice owner and group practice coach. Learn more about her coaching services here:


The show

The podcast is structured so that you get practice building tips in small doses, where an episode can be listened to (and a group practice building lesson can be learned) in a single car ride.

Episodes are structured into categories: coaching sessions where I coach a group practice owner on a specific topic, tips of the day by yours truly, real talk where you get to be a fly on the wall while an established group practice owner and I talk about the highs and lows of ownership, and trainings done by experts in the field.

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