31 One Sentence Tips for Utilising the HBDI Whole Brain Thinking

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

  • 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.

Screenshot of HBDI model infographicTips 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?


  • 20. Decision making from the Red:
    • Who is involved in the decision and who will it impact on?

Front cover of The Whole Brain Business bookTips 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.


Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument certificate

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