HBDI® and Culr; a modern love story


HBDI® and Culr; a modern love story

This week we handover to the queen of our social media, and Consultant at North Highland, Emily Burns, to bring to life what our impending partnership with Herrmann, the originator of the HBDI®, means to her...

Great news all. The day has finally come. Peanut butter and jelly, step aside. Queen Liz and her corgis, trot along. Johnny Depp and his pirate getup... OK well maybe you can stay.

What I’m trying to say is: amazing combinations of the past, move over … CULR AND HBDI ARE UNITING!


In our upcoming release of Culr, when you go searching for your colleagues, you will now also be able to view their HBDI profile, showing you their preferred thinking style and allowing for that ever sought after Whole Brain® Thinking.

Still confused? Let me hand over the experts. ‘Whole brain thinking’, is eloquently described by our friends at Herrmann as:

‘The awareness of one’s own thinking preferences and the thinking preferences of others, combined with the ability to act outside of one’s preferred thinking preferences.”

Read more on this from our friends at Herrmann here and check out the four quadrants below:

HBDI Image high res.jpg


For me, the addition of HBDI means Culr is now a platform to not only provide my colleagues with regular feedback but also to take what I know about my fellow North Highlanders to a whole new level.

As an example, it would really have given me a head start if I’d had access to HBDI profiles when going into a project with that manager (you know the kind). Maybe, just maybe, I would have gained more of an appreciation of what really made them tick, instead of spending week one channeling my best inner awkward-deer-in-headlights.

Also, having the thinking styles of those in NH at my disposal would allow me to gather a pretty good idea of who might be interested in working alongside me on say, an upcoming Data & Analytics project (cue adoring cheers of ‘I’d love to! How did you know?’).

The whole brain team

With HBDI, the power is in your hands to create a team of individuals who all think in different ways, A.K.A a magnificent Whole Brain team!

According to one study, teams that are balanced in their thinking styles are a whole 66% more efficient than others. So I know that 66% seems like a lot, but if you think about it, teams that understand how their thinking styles affect their behaviour can quickly and productively move past those pesky procrastination traps and common blockers to productivity that other teams might not yet have cracked.

Having a good mental balance within your team also means that you will consider more options as a whole and just generally make better decisions. In case I’ve sparked your intrigue, you can read all about that study here.

A better mutual understanding

So you’ve got your lovely whole brainers together. What next? Well, the good times don’t stop there; HBDI will now allow for a much deeper understanding between you and your desk mates, both in established and in brand new teams. I don’t need to point out the advantages of a team that knows how (and therefore what – kind of) the others are thinking. Allow me to just refer you to the success of Mel Gibson in What Women Want (for the record I fully endorse the watching of this film for thinking style research purposes).

In its most simple form, having someone’s HBDI profile easily accessible within Culr could mean the avoidance of a lot of work-related headaches. No more clashes (because now you understand how your colleagues might approach a certain situation), a more empathetic and understanding approach to group work AND a quite amazing approach to the distribution of workload, i.e. instead of being asked to write up that project plan (yawn) you might be the one to design the materials for that big client workshop (YAY!). Can you tell that I lean just a little (OK a lot) towards the yellow side of the HBDI circle...


Tailor-made feedback

Another huge plus is the ability to provide incredible feedback. When you truly know the strengths, thinking and thus working styles of your team, you can provide incredibly considered and personalised feedback through Culr; really benefiting your co-workers. To take an example, if I was aware of the fact that my colleague Jayne loves to work in the detail, I would know to give her feedback in this area and not, say, her people management skills. This way, my feedback would be really useful to Jayne in developing in the area that she loves AND I’ve given some amazing tailored feedback which has made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.


If, when giving feedback, you have a full understanding of your own thinking preferences and also those of the person who will be receiving your feedback, it will help to reduce the amount of unconscious bias that makes some feedback less valuable than it could be.

As aware as I am of my thinking style, I don’t often link this to the giving of feedback. But, given I am a people-focused person, I imagine (without delving too deep into the cavities of my mind) that a lot of the feedback I give is related to how others interact on a personal level with colleagues, because that’s the kind of stuff that I find most pertinent. But now that I have discovered this (and if you listen really carefully you might just hear the cogs in my brain slowing turning) I should really start to challenge whether I am actually just projecting my own preferences onto the feedback I give others, without considering their thinking styles.

On a final note, I personally get lots of feedback via Culr and feel really lucky for the open and encouraging culture that this creates at North Highland. But, if this feedback were also tailored to take into account my thinking style, then it would have the potential to be even more valuable to me, both in my personal and professional development. 

Thanks for taking the time to read our post! If you wanted to find out more about the modern love story that is HBDI and Culr, then please get in touch! You can find us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Please note that The HBDI and Whole Brain Thinking are registered trademarks of Herrmann Global.


Why HR is going to be at the centre of corporate disruption in 2017

Big corporations are entering a new era in workforce management; employee expectations are on the rise and as a result, companies are placing more importance on providing for and interacting with employees, in a more personal way. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that the HR software industry is a $14 billion colossus, with firms implementing new ways to make the our working day as enjoyable and productive as possible.   

Figure 1: Deals and Dollar Investment Sizes (CB Insights, 2016)

VC funding continues to flow into HR Tech

In recent years, HR has become a new area for ambitious entrepreneurs to make their mark. This is demonstrated by the consistently high levels of funding being raised by HR technology companies ($2.4 billion in 2016). It is also true, however, that a new trend is emerging. Whilst HR tech has experienced a 10% YoY growth in closed deals since 2010, the total dollar amount spent decreased by $80 million between 2015/16.

What do these numbers mean for HR tech? Well, as unfavourable as it might first appear, the reason is just as simple as it is encouraging. The industry has witnessed an increase in early stage deals – 69% in 2016 against a historical 66% (2010-2015). Early stage deals involve smaller amounts of capital, which is reflective of the fact that more HR technology companies are being founded or startups are experiencing an acceleration in funding inflow, thanks to the sector becoming ever more popular with investors.

HR is a huge space, so where are the innovative ideas clustering? According to CB Insights, the main areas to watch out for are ‘workforce management’ and ‘employee development and workforce optimisation’. Glassdoor, the jobs and recruiting marketplace, took off mainly thanks to its value proposition of allowing employees to review their employer. Having raked in $202 million since 2012,  it is now the third most valuable startup in HR behind Zenefits and FXiaoke.

The above considered, giving and receiving feedback could well be a golden nugget in a vast HR tech landscape. This is a sentiment echoed by many in the HR space, and with good reason. The Culr team has committed to creating a culture of feedback in the workplace. Interestingly enough, we have seen that thanks to Culr, employees are more aware of the underlying advantages of giving feedback and taking ownership of it; the 'WIIFM' (what's in it for me). 

Emerging trends driving HR disruption

There are several emerging trends on the horizon that give rise to the opportunity to disrupt and truly revolutionize the way in which an employer deals with its workforce:

o   Mobile: 51% of all internet usage happens through mobile. Society is experiencing a significant shift that affects everyday interactions and the technologies that are predominantly used. HR solutions therefore, need to be designed ‘mobile-first’. Traditional HR technology vendors are now playing catchup, having to redesign and simplify unwieldy, bloated un-intuitive products for that purpose. 

o   Connected World: In a world where the top 3 social networks boast over 1 billion active users each, the importance of social connections are becoming much more pronounced, whether at the workspace or in personal life. The former is becoming ever so crucial in a world where workforces are geographically scattered and employees demand a more flexible approach to the work day.

o   Real-time responsiveness and validation: Building on the social aspect consumers want everything to happen in real-time; we’ve found the same can be said of employees and their attitude to recognition and learning.

o   Personalisation: Employees become consumers – they expect the same personalisation at the workplace as they would find anywhere else. Furthermore, the generational change in the workforce brings new challenges where firms have to adapt to the needs of the next wave of employees. This translates into making them feel special and emphasise that they're not a small cog in the big machine.

o   User-friendly design: Interfaces need to be intuitive and simple, aesthetics is just as crucial as the functionality. Corporate’s need to go one step further however, and finally realise that obsolete systems with well-known vendors are not reflective of what the people want. It is clear that relationships with vendors have become so cozy that the end-user has now been forgotten in the process – but the end-user is now fighting back. The foundations of Culr are built on the need for radical simplicity, a concept that is fully supported by the frustrated employee who’s had enough of clunky systems and opaque processes. We advocate transparency and direct interactions over back-room decision making.

Final thoughts

Amongst all the chaos, we can be certain of one thing;  2017 will continue to bring about major disruption to the talent management space, and the Culr team will continue to fight to ensure organisations place as much value on the employee experience as they do the customer experience.