A Whole Brain® (HBDI) Thinking Approach To The New Hybrid Work Environment

David Nour
David Nour

I think most of us can agree that work, as we knew it, will not be the same moving forward. Hybrid work is here to stay and it has more flavors than Baskin Robbins. Some organizations are allowing partial remote, while others believe full on-site will regain its acceptance when/if the labor market cools off. Others are using “remote optional” as a strong recruiting benefit.

As such, the sooner we embrace how to thrive in the ongoing hybrid work environment, the better we’ll all be. That’s where Whole Brain® Thinking (as discovered by the HBDI assessment) can help us better navigate the hybrid working world. 

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You can use Whole Brain® Thinking as a process improvement method to diagnose and understand what you need to pay most attention to for the hybrid working model environment to be successful. To operationalize Whole Brain® Thinking you should look at the four key quadrants (image below) below and start asking yourself questions that pertain to each quadrant. This model will act as the framework to decode and harness the cognitive diversity of individuals and teams within your organization. 


Blue Quadrant A – The “What.” In regards to a hybrid working environment answers to “what” questions need to be very clear. Clarity is essential for people to understand the goals. Questions you should be asking include:

  • What do we mean by hybrid work?
  • What are we expecting in terms of how employees are going to work and interact with others?
  • What kind of technology are we going to be using?
  • What are the new rules of the road?

Green Quadrant B – The “How?” The “How” is really about the teams themselves. Teams are the engine of how work gets done in today’s environment. Many of us are in more than one team, and often we’re on several teams. Some of us are leaders in teams and some of us are members of teams. In many instances, this is happening across the globe. We’re dealing with different cultures and different mindsets and different time zones. This shift to a hybrid working environment is an opportunity to do a reset on thinking about teams, as a new way of looking at doing work. Questions you should be asking include:

  • How does our teams processes need to change in order to best suit a hybrid team?
  • In what ways can we best share information and stay in touch (i.e. slack, teams, zoom)
  • How do we currently structure our time and communication? How can we improve? 
  • As a leader, how do I avoid the proximity bias?

Red Quadrant C – The “Who?” The “Who” is all about people. Creating psychological safety for employees by creating a space where people feel safe is paramount. Trusting people means that you’re focusing on outcomes versus activities. A lot of managers have been focused on activities and not outcomes. Managers ideally offer direction, guidece, and stewardship; not directions, orders, or rules. This, in turn, makes sure that people understand that they’re trusted to get the work done, whether they’re working remotely or whether they’re in the office. It’s about trust, telling them specific outcomes, and then letting them figure out the “how” they’ll get it done.

Google’s People Operations set out to answer the question, What makes a Google team effective? Using data and rigorous analysis, they came to the conclusion that there are five key dynamics that set teams apart. The #1 contributing factor is psychological safety. By building a safe space it also helps to build a culture of inclusion which is extremely important in terms of a hybrid model. It’s important for people to know where they fit and that they really belong. 

Yellow Quadrant D – The “Why?” The “Why” is all about an employee’s work and the meaning of their work. Employees will want to know how they can continue to achieve their same goals within a hybrid environment. Based on Gallup, 60% of people aren’t even aligned on the real purpose of their company. The new hybrid movement is a chance to get people aligned by asking the question, “What are we here to do, and how does that connect to me?” 

Learn More About Hybrid Work

Want to learn more about how you can be successful in a hybrid working environment? Download the remote collaboration team activities that lead remote teams through three reusable interactive games as a way to improve remote collaboration.

Remote Collaboration Quick Start Guide (1).pdf

If you haven’t taken the HBDI, you can select it here, go through a great deal of online training videos in the Thinker’s Portal, after which you can schedule a 30 min review of your profile with me.

Let me know your biggest challenges and opportunities in hybrid work? David Nour 

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