Understanding our thinking preferences can be a light bulb moment, providing insight into why we work the way we do, and what our strengths are. It can also provide clues about how to present information in a way that will engage our audience.
Recently I had the privilege of hearing Julie Varney, of the Business Development Company, talk about one of the tools she uses when working with businesses - Hermann Whole Brain Thinking. This provides insight into our own thinking style and understanding of other people’s different thinking preferences.
The four categories within this system are:
Blue – rational/factual. Likes numbers, facts, data, logic, order. Good at financial and engineering work.
Green – process oriented. Gets things done. Likes to have a plan and get on with it. Not keen on airy fairy stuff. Organised and timely. Likely to have a tidy desk and colour coded filing systems.
Red – feeling oriented. Very connected with other people and emotions. Like to express themselves. Like to know everyone is on board, engaged, in agreement, and connected. Like teaching.
Yellow – experimental. Big picture, innovative, new ideas, like to play and conceptualise. Don’t like structure.
Commonalities: Blue and Yellow favour conceptual thinking and are comfortable with risk, Blue and Green are organised and structured, Green and Red favour less risky options, Red and Yellow favour big picture thinking.
People can have one, two, three or four thinking preferences. Three percent of the population are whole brained (favour all four thinking styles equally), 30% are triple dominant (favour three thinking styles), 60% are double dominant ( favour two thinking styles) and 7% are single dominant.
Julie likes the Hermann Whole Brain model because it is strengths-based. It gives a framework for difficult conversations.
Awareness of the different thinking styles can be useful when communicating with someone – to adapt the way we speak to more closely match their thinking style, ie. whether they talk about vision (yellow), the numbers/research (blue), process (green) or who’s involved (red).
Since listening to Julie's talk, I have become increasingly aware of my predominant strength in the green area (with yellow being my secondary preference) - and can see how this plays out in my work and personal life. It helps me to see where it's helpful to partnership with others (particularly blue people, in my case), and where there is potential to grow, both in my business and personally.
I'd love to hear what your strengths are, and how this influences your choice and style of work.