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How can the Herrmann or HBDI profile be used?



Virginie Graziani

Talent Management & Synergologist

16 June 2022

Reading Time: 4 minutes


Developed by Ned Herrmann in the early 1980s, the HBDI© (Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument) profile provides the manager with an effective and pragmatic tool. It allows the manager to determine his or her own dominant style as a manager, but also to identify the management style that best corresponds to the personalities that make up the tea.


The usefulness of the HBDI profile or Herrmann inventory


The difficulty of management lies in the proper management of a team of employees, made up of characters and personalities that are all as unique as each other. Indeed, the manager must constantly adapt his or her style in order to respond effectively to the needs of his or her interlocutors, to create a synergy of group goodwill and to be effective in the face of daily challenges.



Based on the theory of brain asymmetry, which attributes certain functionalities to the right and left hemispheres, Ned Herrmann developed the HBDI® questionnaire to determine a person’s preferred intellectual approach and to explain how our professional choices, the way we work and the way we function are influenced by our brain preferences.

Knowing the profile of each team member provides a better understanding of individual motivations, which facilitates the manager’s ability to challenge his or her employees.

Based on these different ways of processing information, the HBDI divides individuals into four main typologies:
– The rational, who need facts and logic,
– The organised, who need prudence and method,
– The relational who need exchanges and contacts,
– The imaginative who need novelty and autonomy.

It should be noted that having a need for exchanges, for example, does not prejudge your competence in this area; it does not make you an expert in human relations!


The advantages of this personality inventory


The HBDI allows the manager to map the personalities of his or her team and to activate the main levers at his or her disposal:
Individual and collective motivations (what employees like to do),
Skills (what employees do in their natural tendency),
Abilities (what employees can do naturally).

The manager is then in a better position to position himself vis-à-vis his employees. This is a real opportunity for the manager to strengthen his or her relational impact on a daily basis by activating the levers that correspond to the natural needs of each individual, as well as by providing individual support for his or her professional development.

To do this, it is sufficient to choose the appropriate project or role to entrust to each member of the team when the opportunity arises.


Who is Ned Herrmann?


Ned-HerrmannWilliam E. “Ned” Herrmann (1922-1999) is known for his research into creative thinking methods based on the theorisation of human brain function. In the 1970s, he joined General Electric (GE) in the USA as Director of Training. He was able to develop numerous programmes to maintain or increase an individual’s productivity, motivation and creativity.


In 1978, he created a psychological personality inventory with the ambition to profile thinking patterns and behavioural preferences. Commissioned by General Electric, he developed and validated the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) and designed the well-known Applied Creative Thinking Workshop (ACTE).


Founded in 1986, Herrmann International Europe is an international consulting and training company that distributes the HBDI® questionnaire, which is well known and recognised in the business world. In 1995, he published “The Whole Brain Business Book”.





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