What is HBDI?

This article gives an overview of the HBDI Assessment, provides context on the quadrants, and explains how to leverage the assessment.

Jason Miller avatar
Written by Jason Miller
Updated over a week ago

HBDI, or the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument, is a cognitive assessment tool that helps individuals understand their preferred thinking styles.

Developed by Ned Herrmann while at General Electric, it’s based on the idea that the human brain has four distinct quadrants, each responsible for different types of thinking.

HBDI measures how individuals prefer to approach problems, communicate, and learn, categorizing these preferences into four color-coded quadrants:

  1. Analytical (Blue)

  2. Sequential (Green)

  3. Interpersonal (Red)

  4. Imaginative (Yellow)


You and your team can leverage HBDI to enhance collaboration and productivity within teams. By identifying each team member’s dominant thinking styles, leaders can tailor communication and project roles to suit individual strengths.

For example, someone with a preference for the blue quadrant may excel in roles that require detailed analysis and logical problem-solving, while a person who scores high in the yellow quadrant might be better suited to tasks that demand creative and big-picture thinking.

To apply HBDI effectively in the workplace, consider the following strategies:

  1. Team Composition: Assemble teams with a balance of thinking styles to cover all aspects of a project comprehensively. This diversity in thought can lead to innovative solutions and more robust decision-making.

  2. Tailored Communication: Adjust communication methods according to the dominant thinking styles of team members. For example, provide clear, structured data to those who prefer sequential thinking and engage those with a high
    interpersonal preference through team discussions or brainstorming sessions.

  3. Professional Development: Use HBDI insights to design training programs that cater to the preferred learning styles of employees, thereby enhancing learning effectiveness and employee satisfaction.By understanding and applying the insights from HBDI, organizations can not only optimize individual performance but also foster a more harmonious and productive workplace environment. This tool is particularly effective in multi-disciplinary teams where leveraging diverse thinking styles is key to innovation and problem-solving.

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