May 8, 2022

Take Two - Maximizing Leadership Team Capabilities

Research by Herrmann shows that HBDI Whole Brain teams can be up to 66% more effective. Likewise, leadership teams have higher levels of potential when there is a balance between the four HBDI communication styles.
The HBDI Approach

Last week we explored the use of CliftonStrengths to maximize the impact of a leadership team. This week, the work will look at a second personality type: the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI)®. The value of understanding our HBDI assessment results is first to better understand ourselves as individuals and second, to leverage the strengths each leadership team member brings to the collective work.  

"If we're going to tap the power of the Whole Brain team, we have to learn Whole Brain ways of managing." - Ann Herrmann-Nehdi

The HBDI Leadership Playbook

Their HBDI leadership playbook lists reasons we should value diversity of thought from the four quadrants, including:

• Guard against expert confidence and groupthink

• Scale new insights to higher levels

• Assign the best employee to the most pressing problems faced by the organization

Each leadership team member brings different mental processes regarding how they prefer to think, attack initiatives, cooperate, and perceive new opportunities. Since our preferences also guide how we view others, it is easy to overlook and underestimate the value of other perspectives if they are considered radical to our own. As leaders, we must recognize our blind spots and embrace the concept that a wide range of thinking preferences, applied adequately to the various tasks to run the organization, is an optimal business practice.

The Four Communication Styles

The HBDI Whole Brain® Model includes four types of communication styles that organize how the brain functions:

• A Quadrant – Analytical & Logical

• B Quadrant – Detailed & Structured

• C Quadrant – Participatory & People-oriented

• D Quadrant – Conceptual & Risk-taking

To fully leverage the team, we should assign projects that align with our preferred communication styles and understand when to stretch our styles to maximize the opportunities through diverse perspectives.

Understanding Each Other

A leadership team can gain immediate benefit from understanding the Whole Brain® thinking by adopting the following practices:

• Being an agile leader that harnesses team diversity of thought to lessen world challenges

• Assembling or reworking an empowered team based on thinking preferences leads to the potential for higher performance.

• Increasing productivity by leading with the inclusion of mind.

• Expanding our view to drive more significant innovation.

• Creating a sustainable competitive advantage through attraction, engagement, and retention of high-caliber leadership.

Herrmann’s research found that Whole Brain® teams are 66% more efficient. It is a significant competitive advantage for organizations that embrace the assessment and effectively implement the Whole Brain® Model into their leadership.

Image Credit: cottonbro by Pexels
The Role of the HBDI Practitioner

An HBDI practitioner will do the following to support the leadership team with the assessment results:

• Debrief everyone on the HBDI® Profile and Pair Profile.

• In settings with a workgroup, the debriefing will include a Team Profile.

• Explain the evolution of the Whole Brain® Model and the organizing principle.

• Explore how to apply Whole Brain® Thinking to: communication; teams; clients; decision making and problem-solving; and creative thinking.

The HBDI Adjective Pairs project how everyone on the leadership team would react under pressure. An ideal situation would be to know how various individuals would respond ahead of a crisis and plan accordingly. Therefore, we should assign projects aligned with individuals with the best natural preferences and pressure response combinations. For example, it would not be ideal to have an A Quadrant person doubling down on analytical and logical messaging when a calm C Quadrant person would be better suited to provide participatory and people-oriented updates.

The Team Profile

A team profile is possible by combing the individual HBDI results. Knowing where the various executive team members fall on the team profile allows the group to understand how balanced they are in thinking preferences when making collective decisions. The team profile can show potential imbalance before implementing organizational strategies. It may be helpful to add or invite individuals that possess the missing thinking styles to strengthen group dialogue and critical thinking. Understanding each other's profiles allows for crucial communication with solid points and minimizing blind spots.

Key Takeaway

The results of the research by Herrman that Whole Brain teams can be up to 66% more effective is compelling. Understanding the thinking preferences of each other allows for presenting information to one another more efficiently and effectively with the likelihood of more substantial consensus. The leadership team has higher levels of potential when there is a balance between the four thinking preferences.    

Next Step

In the video by Michael Morgan, CEO of Herrmann International Asia, he shares the many benefits that a leadership team can gain from utilizing the HBDI Team Profile. An example of a Whole Brain Thinking sample report communicates the content a team would receive from an HBDI engagement.

I applaud pioneers like William Edward "Ned" Herrmann, the "father of brain dominance technology."  He spent 30 years developing the HBDI assessment that continues to impact individuals positively and improve the potential for team success years after his death. While we are grateful for pioneers in their fields like Ned, we should also credit the many others that did the research and fieldwork that provided the foundational knowledge on which he based his work.  

Sneak Peek

Next week's blog will explore from another angle the need for leaders to understand the benefits of strengthening the leadership team to support the adoption of the humanist manufacturing framework.

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Cover Image Credit: RODNAE Productions by Pexels

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