31 One Sentence Tips for Utilising the HBDI Whole Brain Thinking

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Find Out How to Engage in Whole Brain Thinking

The HBDI Whole Brain Thinking Model or Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument is a metaphorical model used to understand that each person has four quadrants when it comes to the process of thinking, communicating, and decision making.

The below one-sentence tips share 31 ways in which we can all benefit by considering beyond our own thinking preferences and engaging in whole-brain thinking:

Tips 1-10

  • 1. For each big task or project you have, consider each quadrant for solutions, perspectives, and approaches.


  • 2. If frustration is building within the team, step back and walk around the 4 quadrants, gain the facts around it, the feelings it brings, the future impact, and then the steps to resolve it.


  • 3. Give feedback in a Blue way:
    • Be precise & logical, use facts, and pay attention to data.


  • 4. Give feedback in a Green way:
      • Structure in a sequential approach and pay attention to details.


  • 5. Give feedback in a Red way:
        • Be empathic and caring, use eye contact, and pay attention to feelings.
Brain coloured in four parts to show HBDI model
Utilise all four parts for better thinking


  • 6. Give feedback in a Yellow way:
          • Be imaginative & holistic, use metaphors, and pay attention to the ultimate outcomes.


  • 7. Consider activities to form new habits, that strengthen your least preferred thinking style by doing them.


  • 8. Being able to apply a little HBDI information is much better than understanding a lot.


  • 9. Famous people; Blue – Bill Gates, Green – Queen Elizabeth 2, Red – Mother Theresa, and Yellow – Einstein.


  • 10. Utilise the brains around you by gaining the perspective and thoughts of your colleagues to solve a challenge.

(Click on the image for a full size version.)

Infographic explaining what is HBDI model
Learn about HBDI in two minutes with this short infographic


Tips 11-20


  • 12. Expectations of your audience in the Blue:
    • Focus on the facts, answer the ‘what’, and ensure you have technical accuracy & the chance for debate.


  • 13. Expectations of your audience in the Green:
    • Unfold your topic step by step, stick to timings before during, and after, keep it low risk.


  • 14. Expectations of your audience in the Red:
    • Have consideration for their needs & feelings, explore the involvement of people and allow for group discussion.


  • 15. Expectations of your audience in the Yellow:
    • Provide the overview & future benefits, use visuals, metaphors and allow for flexibility.


  • 16. Work with your brain, tackle tasks that require your lower preferences quadrants when you have your highest energy levels.


  • 17. If you had your time again on an issue, walk around the quadrants and consider what you would do differently.


  • 18. Decision making from the Blue:
    • What is the decision and what are the facts?


  • 19. Decision making from the Green:
    • How are you going to make the decision and manage the risks?


Book cover of The Whole Brain Business by Ann Herrmann-Nehdi and Ned Herrmann
Understand the whole brain for business


Tips 21-28

  • 21. Decision making from the Yellow:
    • Why are you making the decision and why is it important?


  • 22. Hard decision to make? Discuss with your team how they would solve it for an understanding of their perspectives.


  • 23. Is your audience preferred thinking style unknown? Put a tick in each of the quadrants to increase your chances of engagement.


  • 24. Replying to an email or in conversation, consider what colour they are, and then reply in a way to be more like them.


  • 25. Problem-solving in a Blue Way:
    • State the problem, now consider what you can – take away, + add to, x multiple or ÷ divide by to reach a solution?


  • 26. Problem-solving in a Green Way:
    • State the problem, then consider a story or previous experience with a similar desired outcome, explore the steps taken then and how it was solved.


  • 27. Problem-solving in a Red Way:
    • State the problem, then consider how someone else may solve it, this could be a colleague, tv personality or famous person from history.


  • 28. Problem-solving in a Yellow Way:
    • State the problem, pick a superhero, consider their superpower, how would they use that to solve it, then bring it back to the real world and translate your idea.

Tips 29-31

  • 29. Remember this story; Sue said to Roy, ‘Do you love me still?’, and Roy replied, ‘I told you on our wedding day that I loved you, and if that changes I will let you know’. A red to a green helps understand the two different perspectives.


  • 30. By being aware of your own colour you will firstly become more aware, secondly more tolerant of others, and thirdly start to use the power of others.


  • 31. Each of the colours is a witness at a car accident being questioned by the Police:
    • Blue – ‘The red Ford and the blue Vauxhall hit at 10.26 pm.’
    • Green – ‘Firstly, this car was driving up this road, and then hit the second car and ended up in the ditch over there’.
    • Yellow – ‘We really need to sort out accidents on this road because there are too many’.
    • Red – ‘This lady was crying when her vehicle stopped. She has a child in the car, and that guy was in the wrong’.

What is HBDI? find out more here in our Ultimate Guide to HBDI.

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HBDI | Herrmann Brain Dominance InstrumentHBDI AssessmentHBDI Profile Articles and Content

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