Thinking or Feeling?
Of the 4 quadrants in an HBDI profile, blue represents the analytical or thinking part of the brain, while red represents the relational or feeling quadrant. Most often I’m de-briefing individual HBDI profiles within a organisational group setting. As the profiles are revealed and people discover their thinking preferences, questions usually arise. One of the more common ones is “is there a gender difference? Are more men blue and more women red?”
Breathe, OK, just breathe.
It’s true this question may well be based on gender stereotypes: we expect men to be more logical and analytical in their thinking while they hunt down prey for dinner. We expect women to be more caring and nurturing while they keep the home fires burning and cook the dinner.
It may also be indicative of our Kiwi culture. Often described as ‘warm and friendly, yet reserved’, Kiwis are noted for their emotional understatements. Want some examples? How about:
- ‘not bad’ = ‘absolutely brilliant’
- ‘bit of a nuisance’ = ‘the house just burnt down and I have no possessions’
- ‘a bit too hot for my taste’ = ‘a description of the Sahara desert’.
It’s especially true in the workplace where Kiwi’s are known to hold back showing anger, frustration and fear. The question is whether our reserved nature and lack of willingness to embrace emotion is holding us back? How is this reflected in our organisational performance?
Hearts and Minds
For organisations to be successful, leaders determine key performance indicators (KPI’s) or objectives and key results (OKR’s) as benchmarks. These measures focus on quantifiable outcomes to measure success. There is usually a strategy and plan to achieve the results with accompanying policy, process and procedures. All very thinking, blue and analytical.
What’s missing here is emotional energy, the feeling or red component which drives energy and commitment to perform. It’s the satisfaction that an employee gets when the look on a customer’s face tells them they’ve turned a frustrated customer into a happy one. It’s the employee who looks for challenges, achievement and personal growth, who believes they are part of something bigger and has the opportunity to do work they’re good at. All the stuff that’s very hard to measure.
We need both of course. For organisations to be successful in the long term, we need to embrace both hearts and minds, and we need both quantifiable and qualitative benchmarks to measure success.
HBDI Balanced Scorecard
The HBDI Balanced Scorecard is a way of embracing hearts and minds in organisations. Given that we focus on what we measure, the balanced scorecard ensures we consider all parts of an organisation. Rather than measuring financial and sales targets alone, other measures include quality and safety standards, process improvements (green quadrant), along with new products, services and other innovations (yellow quadrant). And, of course, the red quadrant: our customer satisfaction and loyalty, along with internal customers (employees) level of engagement, belonging and purpose.
Rate your own organisation. How do you stack up? Can you identify measures across all quadrants? If not, what are you missing? What measures would you like to introduce into your organisation?
And for the record…
The answer is no, there is no gender or cultural difference across the quadrants. Food for thought.