Herrmann's Whole Brain® Model

Maximizing Your Thinking Power

"Herrmann's Whole Brain" and the "Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument" are trademarks of Herrmann International (see www.hbdi.com). We have no association or connection with Herrmann International.

Herrmann's Whole Brain Model

Discover how to maximize your full potential.

© iStockphoto/pavlen

Imagine that you've just finished giving a presentation.

Although you had little time to prepare, you feel that your speech provided a compelling call to action for an issue that you care deeply about. You think that you did a great job illustrating what might happen if the board doesn't act, and you're confident that your emotions came through clearly.

The problem, as a trusted colleague later points out, is that you relied almost entirely on feelings to get your message across. You used few facts and statistics to back your message up, your slides were a bit disorganized, and you didn't analyze any risks.

In short, your presentation focused entirely on creative thinking and emotion, and ignored logic, facts, and specific detail, meaning that the board is unlikely to act on your suggestions.

All of us are naturally drawn to one particular thinking style. However, relying entirely on this style can expose your weaknesses and lead to both poor decisions and missed opportunities.

In this article, we'll look at Herrmann's Whole Brain® Model, and discuss how you can use it to understand your dominant and less-preferred thinking styles, so that you can capitalize on your strengths and improve the areas that you're weakest in.

About the Model

In the late 1970s, artist and researcher, Ned Herrmann, became interested in the nature of creativity. Picking up on Roger Sperry's Left Brain/Right Brain Model, Herrmann integrated it with Paul MacLean's Triune Brain Model, to develop his Whole Brain Model. He published this in his 1996 book, "The Whole Brain Business Book."

Herrmann's Whole Brain Model combines these models to create a metaphorical "whole brain," with four quadrants. His belief is that creative thinking relies on using all four quadrants, or thinking styles.

The model also argues that each of us has a different thinking preference. For example, we might rely on one or two thinking styles regularly, and ignore the other quadrants, and this can severely limit our potential.

The Model Explained

The Whole Brain Model is shown in figure 1, below, which shows Herrmann's quadrants:

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