The Whole Brain Model – How Our Thinking Is Different To Others

Most people you meet will have a different way of seeing things to you. How they make decisions, solve problems, assimilate information, etc., will be different to you becasue they will have preferences that don’t match yours. When you recognise these different thinking patterns, you can improve communication, management, leadership and decision-making to improve all aspects of interpersonal skills.

Ned Herrmann has designed a technique called ‘whole-brain modelling’ in which he describes the brain as an interconnected set of mental processing modes, or thinking styles. Because these styles originate in different parts of the brain, he discusses how we all differ in the way we think things through. The four styles, according to Herrmann, are:

Logical thinking: Analysis, technical, mathematical, problem-solving

Organiser: Controlled, planned, conservative, organised, administrative

Communicator: Emotional, interpersonal, musical, the talker

Visionary: Imaginative, conceptual, synthesising, holistic, integrative

Herrmann suggestes our thinking preferences can be different to our skills or bahaviour at work, depending on the situation.

But if we have to think differently to our preferences, even if our skills are excellent, we may find the situation more uncomfortable and time-consuming.

Our energies are best suited by thinking through situations in the way we prefer to, rather than being forced to determine the answer in a way that doesn’t suit us.

Our dominant thinking style will be one of the four categories listed above. These preferences establish our interests, help us to develop competencies and actually influences our career choices and the way that we work.

This probably explains why you sometimes find it difficult to think in a different way.

We’re often asked to ‘think outside the box’ by our bosses, bit if your dominant thinking style isn’t directed that way (e.g. if you are a logical thinker, good at analysing things and identifying facts) you may find it hard to be intuitive and holistic in your thinking.

This model helps explain what our strengths are and how we can identify others’ skills and talents.

You can get more information by reading The Whole Brain Business Book, by Ned Herrmann.

Thanks again


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   

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Updated on: 31 May, 2011

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