December 26, 2021

"Know Thyself" by Looking at HBDI

Ninety percent of Fortune 100 companies regularly use HBDI to “outthink, outpace, and outperform their competition.” Humanist manufacturing leaders will become more efficient and effective by deepening their self-awareness through this personality assessment.
A Second Look at Personal Assessment

In last week’s blog post, we did a deep dive into the CliftonStrengths assessment.  A particular benefit to me with that instrument is the feedback on blind spots.  If we espouse a desire to be a humanist manufacturing leader but lack a complete understanding of ourselves, we leave some of our full potential on the table.  This week, the blog post will continue the theme of increased potential through deeper self-awareness as we review the Herrman Brain Dominance Instrument and the benefits derived from this personality instrument.

Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument

Several years ago, I had the good fortune to meet a woman who was a certified practitioner of the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI).  The HBDI is “a powerful psychometric assessment that defines and describes the way we think so that we adapt our thinking preferences to communicate effectively, improve decision making, and problem-solving.” The resultant report provides a score on four quadrants to include:

• Analytical (A)

• Practical (B)

• Relational (C)

• Experimental (D)

The results show our preferred kinds of thinking. However, while we have preferences, we can still engage our whole brain, we need to work harder at utilizing our nonpreferred areas.

“Understanding and accepting the consequences of your thinking preferences is the first step to becoming a better leader.” - Ned Herrmann
Our Mental Preference Scores

The assessment results are a pictorial representation of a person’s mental preferences at a given time. The score ranges are:

• 67 or higher is very strong

• 34-66 is strong

• 34 or less is a lack of interest

An outcome of the initial assessment is a number for each of the quadrants.  I was able to complete the instrument, which yielded the following results:

• A Quadrant – 95, a score indicating a powerful desire in the preference areas of analytical, logical, mathematical, & problem solving

• B Quadrant – 87, a score that shows a powerful desire in the preference areas of administrative, conservative, controlled, organizational, & planning

• D Quadrant – 66, a score suggesting an intense desire in the preference areas of artistic, conceptualizing, holistic, imaginative, & synthesizing

• C Quadrant – 32, a score that indicates only a tertiary interest in the preference areas of emotional, interpersonal, musical, spiritual, & talker

I am double dominant in the A and B quadrants and one point short of triple dominant with the D quadrant.  In the final area of the C quadrant it was not a surprise that I lacked a preference for the elements of emotion or talking.  Knowing this, I always need to ensure that I am not failing to give this proper consideration when dealing with those for whom this is important.

Whole Brain Thinking

Leaders should desire to maximize what Herrmann describes as Whole Brain Thinking. We can stretch our preferences to less desirable thinking preferences. The HBDI results allow us to leverage our favorites fully and to know where we need to pay additional focus on our work. If known, we can also benefit from others with stronger partiality in areas opposite of our own.  For example, I would be wise to partner with someone with a high C quadrant score.

Image Credit: johnhain
The Other Beneficial Results

An additional result from the assessment is the Adjective Pairs, which tell us how we react under pressure. Ideally, we would not change much when stressed; however, knowing how we react when things get tough would be beneficial, especially if this is not the case. We can then develop a plan to respond best when the inevitable crises arise.  The assessment provides further insights of:

• Most comfortable communication preferences

• Most comfortable problem-solving approaches

• Desired information to make a decision

• What gives us more or less energy and interest

• Energy level during the day

• Where we reside on the introvert/extrovert scale

• Hand dominance

• Propensity for motion sickness

A list of items with more detail on our preferred information is provided for many of these insights.  Equally important is additional advice on what we may overlook or why we may be uncomfortable in certain situations.  This feedback provides us with further insight into creating a more significant impact as a leader.  

Key Takeaway

Humanist manufacturing leaders can benefit from deeper self-awareness that enhances their opportunity to reach their full potential in achieving the “Why” for their business.  Whole Brain Thinking allows for personal maximization that allows for exponential impact.  Leaders then work more efficiently and effectively, which increases the potential for more significant organizational impact through stronger teamwork.

First Step

Knowing that ninety percent of Fortune 100 companies regularly use HBDI to “outthink, outpace, and outperform their competition” should be compelling enough to create buy-in.  The Cool Blue needing additional information can learn more about the benefits of deeper self-awareness in the TEDx Talk by Scott Schwefel.  The Fiery Red, Sunshine Yellow, and Earth Green will also benefit from what Scott shares about the need to be more self-aware.

My Gratitude

As I wrote this blog post, two things came to mind.  The first was my appreciation for the work to develop personality assessments that can improve our self-awareness by the giants in the industry like Clifton and Herrmann.  However, they could not have accomplished their success without the work of so many others who are far less known, but for whom I am equally grateful.

Sneak Peek

Next week's blog will integrate humanist principles into the role of leaders through a deeper understanding of the humanist commitment of altruism.

To learn more about our work or read more blog posts, visit

Cover Image Credit: mart.production

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