HBDI Definition and Glossary | Glossary Terms

MBM Glossaries: HBDI Definition

This glossary contains our HBDI definition. For a guide to how this ‘whole brain thinking’ approach could benefit the individual and group dynamics of your business, visit our training Ultimate Guide to HBDI.


Refers to an individual’s talent or skill to do something.


Breaking down ideas or situations into smaller parts to closely examine the individual components and, in particular, how they work together.


A preference for creative activities such as drawing, painting, music, and art. For the most part, artistic individuals have a knack for identifying what’s pleasing to the eyes and which colours complement each other.


The result of an evaluation of something. For example, in HBDI, the assessment measures consistent preferences in a person’s thinking.

Belbin Team Roles

Also referred to as the Belbin Team Role Inventory (BTRI) and Belbin Self-Perception Inventory (BSPI), it is a behavioural assessment developed by Meredith Belbin with the intent to measure behavioural preferences.

Blue Quadrant

The quadrant that represents the top left side of the brain. In particular, this area represents preferences in logic and facts.


The tendency to stick to tradition previously established beliefs and norms.


In HBDI, controlled refers to an individual’s ability to hold back and restrain one’s emotions in favour of objectivity.

CPTI- 100

The Central Test Personality Inventory is a personality test developed for management candidates to help measure leadership behaviour and competencies.

Critical Thinking

Careful and objective analysis of something with the intent to form a sound judgment based on facts.

DiSC Assessment

The Dominance Influence Steadiness Conscientiousness Assessment is based on Dr William Moulton Marston’s theory from his book, ‘Emotions of Normal People’. Later, a psychometric test based on this theory was made by industrial psychologist Walter Clarke, initially for the recruitment process. Furthermore, it was later on developed into a tool that helps teams understand how to work with each other’s personality.


A prevailing trait, institution, or personality. In particular, dominance means being able to take control or rule a certain group of thought, ideas, or even people.


The ability of a person to put himself or herself in someone else’s shoes.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is an individual’s ability to perceive, understand, and help manage the self and another person’s emotions.


Able to explore new methods to improve and innovate existing processes in place.

Expressed Behaviour

An individual’s comfort level when one has to express a certain behaviour towards someone. In particular, the FIRO- B Assessment scores an individual’s preference on this behaviour.


Preference towards outside stimuli such as interaction with other people and other external means.

FIRO- B Test

Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation-Behavior (or FIRO-B) is a tool introduced by William Shutz in the late 80’s that scores how comfortable an individual is in a given situation.

Five Factory Model

The Five-Factor Model (FFM) (or Big Five Personality Traits) measures an individual’s neuroticism, agreeableness, extroversion, conscientiousness, and openness to experience.

Four Quadrants

The quadrants are representations of preferences in thinking in HBDI, completing the ‘whole brain’.

GC Index

The Game Changer Index identifies an individual’s preference in contributing to an organisation. In particular, the common roles explored by GC index are the strategist, implementer, polisher, playmaker, and the game-changer.


A group of individuals with a shared demographic, common culture, time events, set of expectations and behaviours. For the most part, generation groups are determined by age such as Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y also referred to as Millenials.

Green Quadrant

The lower left quadrant of the brain that represents structure and organisation.


The roots of the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) can be traced back to 1976 when Ned Hermann began his research on the sources of creativity in the human brain. In particular, the instrument is a way to measure and describe thinking preferences in people, categorising them into four groups – Analytical thinking, Sequential (Practical) thinking, Interpersonal (Relational) thinking, and Imaginative (Experimental) thinking.

Hogan Development Survey (HDS)

A test aimed at measuring an individual’s preferred responses when subjected to pressure or stress.


The ability to have the foresight or see the ‘big picture’ when presented with a concept, problem, or situation.


A preference for internal thoughts. In particular, introverts can be easily overwhelmed with outside stimuli.


Uses emotions to help make decisions, also known as ‘gut feel’.

Management Styles Inventory (MSI)

Identifies and scores an individual’s managing style and how they interact and build relationships with their team and how they address performance concerns.

Myers Briggs

A psychometric indicator developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Cook Myers that is largely based on Carl Jung’s theories.

Occupational Personality Questionnaire

Usually used during the hiring process, OPQ is a psychometric test that measures various personality traits that can be relevant to the vacancy.


Observing facts without emotion or biases. In particular, objectivity allows a person to look at a situation from a neutral perspective.

Personality and Preference Inventory

Also referred to as PAPI is another psychometric test designed to measure behaviours that may be relevant to a workplace setting.

Pigeon Hole

In this context, pigeon-holing refers to typecasting or stereotyping an individual.

Psychometric Indicators

Measurements in psychology that are qualitative in nature. There is a wide range of psychometric indicators such as HBDI, and MBTI to help shed more light on an individual’s personality, motivations and preferences.


Decision making based on reason while taking out emotion.

Red Quadrant

The lower right quadrant of the brain indicating a preference in empathy and feelings.

Rigorous Thinking

A problem-solving approach that focuses on details and thoroughness.


Approaching ideas in a methodical manner. As a rule, following a sequence in order to understand or solve a situation.


The ability to process multiple mental inputs at the same time. For instance, the mental input could include verbal, musical, or visual.

Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire

16pf is aimed at identifying a person’s dominant traits based on 16 personality factors.

Sound Decision

These are decisions that are made after careful calculations of risks involved in the situation. In particular, it considers all available options, works with what information is available and uses objectivity.


An approach influenced by biases, opinions, or personal feelings.


An increase in productivity and efficiency brought about by the collective efforts of a group. HBDI aims to find opportunities for organisations to reach synergy by understanding individual preferences and how it will complement with each other.


A person who prefers to separate and break down ideas and concepts to come up with a new one.


In HBDI, teaching refers to an individual’s ability to explain concepts in that can be easily understood and applied.

Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI)

A psychometric exam that measures how a person responds to conflict.

Wanted Behaviour

The kind of behaviour an individual wants other people to express towards themselves. Therefore, this is the opposite of expressed behaviour.

Whole Brain Thinking

Understanding one’s preferences in thinking to their advantage while utilising other approaches to thinking to the individual’s and his/her team’s advantage. It uses the same basis as HBDI.

William (Ned) Herrmann

Commonly known as Ned Herrmann was the developer of the psychometric instrument, HBDI. Consequently, he is considered to be the ‘father of brain dominance technology’.

Yellow Quadrant

The upper right quadrant of the brain that represents intuition and taking risks.

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