Herrmann’s Whole Brain Model – Maximizing Your Thinking Power

With a world full of different people, we all have different processes of thinking. Since we all have different thinking powers, it becomes very difficult to understand the mindset of other people from your point of view. 

But in the corporate world, the success of any company depends mostly on the integrity of its employees. How well they coordinate with team members as well as how much they are capable of understanding the mindset of their colleagues. 

So in such a case what should a company do? Should they hire like-minded candidates? But wait, nobody in this world is like-minded. However, we do have other ways to increase the potential and productivity of the employees and one of them is Herrmann’s whole brain model. 


What is the Whole Brain Model?

By what method can you, your group or your association adapt to society’s persistent change in complex nature and stay effective and successful. The key is to consider your thinking. Thinking is your brain (brain research) process of making sense of the world but ways of thinking are different for each of us, meaning we all process information differently. 

How frequently have you wondered why an untidy work area makes somebody insane, while others feel aroused by it. Why is it that some people understand your point quickly while others never seem to comprehend? Suppose you had a straightforward method to decode others without exhausting yourself. Thankfully there is a way, it’s called the whole brain thinking(brain research). 

Whole-brain thinking gives a guide to your reasoning excursion. Understanding your learning will assist you with being increasingly successful at work and help you to team up better with others.

Origin of this Model

You see a circle divided into four quadrants. Each quadrant represents a thinking style. This model was developed by Ned Herrmann helps us see our differences. Some of us have a thinking style that is conceptual and analytical, while others go with the details. Some of us are exceptionally sensitive to the emotional needs while some of us prefer to deal with the big picture and long term planning.

Why is it important to understand the thinking style? Ned Herrmann tells a very funny story about an impatient manager in one of his seminars who blurted out- “What does the brain have to do with management?” to this Ned replied- “It has everything to do with managing.” 

Ned Herrmann developed a measuring tool called HBDI. It starts with the left and right brain theories that were developed during the ’70s supplemented by the Triune brain theory that represents the physiology of the brain. By combining these two models Ned developed a four-quadrant metaphoric model that can be quantified in the form of a profile. 

Ned Herrmann

Ned developed the whole-brain concept and created the instrument HBDI. According to him, this instrument does not tell you what you think but it’s certainly about the way you think. It’s about what is your focus areas while thinking, which varies from individual to individual.

He was the first person who pioneered the study of the brain in terms of its application in the field of business which was particularly to solve a business issue and the issue was that Ned was in charge of the management development section of General Electric. He main job was to turn managers more creative. Now by more creative they meant they wanted their engineers to be more agile and flexible in the way they thought, in the way they managed, in the way they solved problems and so forth and for doing this Ned developed the Whole-brain model.

Ned also wrote two books which are worth a read- The creative brain was his first widely acclaimed book. This traces the scientific and historic roots of the innovative work he did in developing the whole-brain approach. The second book came out in 1995 named The whole brain

The business book which specifically looked at the application of the whole brain model and the whole brain thinking to organizations to individuals and teams.


Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument® (HBDI Test) | timothykitching.com

Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument provides four quadrants each one of which represents a specialized cluster of mental activities. Accordingly, it is a psychometric assessment that tells you about how your brain works. Thereupon many Fortune 100 companies use this tool regularly.

By understanding how the HBDI works you can better understand how you and others prefer to think, learn and communicate. Ned created the HBDI while working at General Electric to help engineers become more creative, agile and flexible.

You’ve probably heard about the left and the right brain ways of thinking. Left is generally perceived as more analytical, logical and structured while the right brain is more creative and free-flowing. Well based on this there are at least four significant mental processing centres of the brain- the left cerebral hemisphere and the right cerebral hemisphere. As well as the left limbic system and the right limbic system. 

Herrmann refers to this as A in blue, B in green, C in red and D in yellow respectively as the four different types of quadrant were referred to as we learn about the HBDI. We use multiple areas of the brain to process information, this is called multi dominant. Of course, we use all the quadrants of the brain when we think but we tend to prefer certain ways of thinking during certain contexts. 

Our preferences are the filters for everything we hear and see. The important thing is to remember that the way we prefer to see and hear things may not be the way others prefer to hear and see things. 

Importance of this Model

The moment you have been waiting for your HBDI results, your HBDI provides numeric scores for each quadrant. It’s important to remember that there are no right or wrong results with the HBDI. No result is better than the other after all everyone scores total is the same number. But it’s about what we all uniquely bring and what we do about those scores that makes all the difference. 

You might get a result like this after your HBDI test. This means your brain works more like a technical. Most profiles have two to three dominant ways of thinking. Here, in this case, the dominant way of thinking is analytical and technical. Some people are whole-brained means that they have all the four ways of dominant thinking.

You might expect a CEO to be a whole-brained but when combined teams and couples also become whole-brained. This is an important thing to be aware of because in committees, boards, teams and families we do become whole-brained as a group. So our communications also need to be whole-brained and represent this diverse way of thinking. However, with broad diverse thinking better ideas will result and all the bases will be covered.


Obtaining a collective view of your team scores is a good way to evaluate what each team member uniquely brings and if there’s opportunity to fill any gaps. A whole-brained group addresses the facts, forms, feelings and futures.

HBDI Quadrants:

FormsHow, When, Where

In review, the HBDI of the whole brain model is unlike any other test in its a business application and its the ability to engage with others. It answers the question- How does my thinking impact the interactions with others!

Also You can Read our Blog on How to keep employees enthusiastic and motivated?


Table of Contents


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *