Larry R. Hart
Strategic Guidance for Today’s Top Leaders

If HBDI® Thinking Preferences Are Not Used For Hiring, How Can I Get The Right Fit?

Larry Hart |

Larry Hart

Running an organization effectively requires leaders to have an in-depth understanding of the individual thinking styles and preferences of their key people.  I’ve touched on the benefits of assessments, such as the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument® (HBDI®), for garnering insight into how key executives think and contribute on a team. The output is a HBDI® profile that graphically identifies the dominant and less preferred thinking styles by plotting results into four thinking quadrants: analytical, sequential, interpersonal and imaginative. The illustration is enlightening, identifying gaps in a team’s thinking styles, as well as laying the groundwork for strategic approaches to communication.

Build A Well-Rounded Team

Following a team-wide HBDI® assessment, a leader may find gaps in particular strengths or dominant thinking styles on the team via a cumulative team report. There may simply not be enough creative energy on the team, for example. In this circumstance, the organization misses out on the benefit of a “Whole Brain® approach.” Then a leader must be tasked to teach those team members to think outside of their comfort zones, or bring in a new kind of thinker from inside or outside their company.

The HBDI® assessment is not validated as a hiring assessment; however, after some experience implementing the tool within your team, you’ll likely find yourself guessing an applicant’s aptitudes and personalities in relation to their HBDI® thinking styles, wondering where they fit in with the rest of the team and your company.

Conducting a behavioral style interview, where you invite the potential employee to describe their reaction to a hypothetical workplace challenge, creates the potential for garnering even greater insight in this respect. Interview questions can provide “clues” to the primary preferences a person displays.

If you ask someone a simple question, such as “What is the best way to get this done?” and they respond with a highly technical answer, it’s likely that person has more logically oriented upper left blue preferences. If they give you great detail, perhaps they have lower-quadrant more process oriented “green.”

If, besides answering your question, they get excited about the possibilities your question infers – with a plethora of ideas, for instance – they might be more imaginative or demonstrating their understanding of the big picture,  “yellow” upper right, oriented in their preferences. If they offer to help, consider others and engage emotionally, they are most likely demonstrating more “red” lower left, “people” oriented preferences.

Two Important Caveats

First, remember that no matter how familiar you may be with the model’s clues, there is no substitute for administering the HBDI® assessment itself. Using validated assessments to get a firm understanding of your existing team’s strengths, preferences and work processes, prior to selecting a new hire, can put you in good stead for understanding the gaps you will need to fill in before you begin sourcing an employee.  Once hired, the assessment and results debrief is extremely effective to accelerate onboarding, immediately providing these three “shortcuts”:

  • A common language shortcut to quickly relate with other team members and communicate more effectively on the job.  
  • A learning method shortcut to identify and adapt learning needs to reduce job training time and expense.
  • An engagement model shortcut that is user-friendly and accelerates engagement to increase productivity.

Second, keep in mind that the HBDI® assessment tool is designed to help you drive behavior change by assisting individuals in understanding their own thinking preferences and those of others, as well as how to leverage their strengths so they can progress and be successful. The sooner incorporate HBDI® into your leadership program, and learn about your team’s “Whole Brain®”profile, the sooner you and your team will reap the benefits.

Larry Hart Larry Hart

Larry Hart is an industry leading executive coach, peer advisory group chair, speaker and writer. With more than 30 years of business leadership experience, Larry guides today’s top executives in their pursuit of excellence. Contact Larry today.

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