In the HBDI Questions Series: Part 3, I’ll address some of the questions about applying the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument or HBDI model to other important people in your life. If you are unfamiliar with the HBDI, you can start with these two articles:

The HBDI Question Series: Part 1 – explains the basics of the HBDI assessment

The HBDI Question Series: Part 2 – focuses on personal interpretation

How easy is it to profile someone else?

Most likely before you took the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument, the person doing your assessment asked you to take a wild guess at what you thought your results would be. Were you right? Don’t be surprised if you were wrong. The reason you may be wrong is because you have not mastered the definitions of the assessment.

Here is your challenge – taking what you learn about yourself and applying the assessment model principles to others. You often think you know others very well – sometimes you get it right and sometimes you get it wrong.

Here’s why. There can be a big difference between preferences and competency. The HBDI does not tell you what you or someone else is competent at. The HBDI measures what your preference is in each quadrant. It is possible to become competent in a quadrant where you are less preferred, which sometimes throws people off.

After you receive your HBDI interpretation and debrief, will you understand how to apply the model in real life situations?

Developing your ability to recognize HBDI preferences takes time and practice. While you can apply the basic concepts of the HBDI model to other individuals, there is also a danger in misinterpreting someone’s preferences.

Here’s the reason misinterpretation is dangerous. Once we think we know someone, the natural step is to start to make assumptions about what they like or want to do. Think back to when someone has done that to you – it probably made you angry.

There are three ways you can do it right. The other person takes the HBDI assessment, you become a certified practitioner or you hone your skills at assessing others with lots of practice and refinement.

How can I avoid making incorrect assumptions about another individual’s HBDI profile?

If you believe that someone has a strong preference in one quadrant, then test it. Ask questions or pose conversations that are based in the quadrant preferences. Gage the other person’s reaction. Test the other quadrants by following the same process to see if the reaction is the stronger or weaker. Repeat this approach until you are able to refine your hypothesis.

Is there a common mistake applying the HBDI model?

One of the biggest mistakes I find when someone first starts to apply the HBDI model is that the action or behavior is being assessed vs. the thinking style. Here’s an example.

A client recently took the HBDI. His profile results showed a low preference for the C quadrant.

He believed that he had more C than his profile indicated because he was diligent about recognizing his employees. Doesn’t that show he has more C?

I asked him to explain more about how he recognized his employees.

His responded proudly, “I have set up timers in my calendars each week that remind me to go around and say something nice to my staff”. He collects the data from each of those actions to track his progress.

When I evaluate his thinking style, it is more data or logical “A” and process or system “B” driven vs. an intuitive “C” approach to recognition. Each quadrant can be recognize employees, however, the approach will be different based on their quadrant preference.

What kind of situations does it make sense to profile other people?

Learning how to profile another person is extremely useful in work related or personal situations where communicating or working with others impacts your success. Some of the situations where I have helped people to learn to profile other people include:

  • Sales
  • Co-workers
  • Team members
  • Consulting
  • Facilitator or trainers
  • Interviewers or interviewees

Like any assessment model, the more you use it, the better results you get, providing you are using the model correctly.

If you have an interest in learning how to use the HBDI to its fullest potential, consider working with a certified HBDI practitioner or becoming an HBDI practitioner yourself.