Influencing Skills: The Neethling Brain Instrument Quadrants Part 1 of 4 – Not so Mellow Yellow

By Carolyn Crawford

As many of you who have participated in our Simply Influencing workshop would know, our training looks at the behaviours and drivers of people with different thinking preferences and then extends on that knowledge to explore how we communicate with, and ultimately influence, people particularly with different thinking preferences to our own.  So I thought it would be fun for a change to explore the lighter side of the thinking quadrants, a more personal point of view, based on my own interactions with friends and family.

By definition, these are of course somewhat extreme in their descriptions.  As those of you who are familiar with the Neethling Brain Instrument would be aware, we all have a first, second third and fourth thinking preference, with often in fact a second preference that is so close to our first that it takes an almost equal part in decision-making and will need to be taken into equal consideration when we are planning to influence that person.  None-the-less, caricatured  as they may be, we will take one quadrant at a time rather than trying to get into the subtleties and complexities that combinations bring to the equation.

So what better place to start than with our ‘not so mellow yellow’ friends.  Those people who have a preference for R1 ‘right brain cerebral’ thinking.  Strategic, conceptual, synergistic, exploratory, playful, experimenting, potentially risk-taking, entrepreneurial, imaginative, big picture, holistic and synthesising.

Yellows of course are the easiest for me to write about, given my own first preference for yellow thinking, that of my fiancé and a number of close friends.  So let’s peek inside the arched window to life inside a yellow thinker’s brain.

I am yellow.  I like big ideas, diverse ideas and then synergising those ideas, linking the past to the present, the broad to the specific, looking for themes and finding the underlying common threads that bring it all together.  I may be working on several things simultaneously and each of those projects will inform the others.  If I’m reading about Napoleon, and have just watched a documentary about king penguins while focusing on cutting costs at work, I’ll strategically deploy our team to protect the long-term survival of our chicks …. I mean projects.

I like TED talks.  I may well enjoy philosophy, psychology, metaphysics or spiritual concepts.  Preferable combined.

I prefer to think about big things while doing small things.  I need to keep the context in mind or I get frustrated with the detail.

I love new beginnings.  I may be less enamoured with the follow through.  I may have a reputation for starting with gusto and then losing enthusiasm with the daily grind of implementing and finishing.  Sometimes I simply don’t!

In conversation I can be distracted by the environment or by my own thoughts.  “Ooh, nice handbag” as one participant recently quipped!  What was that email that just came in? That looks interesting.

I like to break new ground, be part of a transformation and challenge the status quo.  I’m comfortable with change, flexible, open, always looking for new opportunities to improve the way we do things.  I have big dreams.  I secretly or not so secretly, want to change the world.
Vision is always there without trying. I think in pictures.  I like making forecasts and predictions.  I like working towards something.  Big, hairy, audacious goals are my stock in trade.

I’m lively, animated, passionate and excited.  I’m easily inspired and love to inspire others.  I do so with metaphors, images and seemingly unorthodox means.  And needless to say I prefer it when my team or manager present to me with vision and energy rather than tables and flowcharts.

My conversation may seem to skip around, my desk may be cluttered and I may seem unfocused, but bear with me.  I may not do it the way you do it – organised, structured and methodical – but if you give me some space and autonomy I’ll get there in my own way, with flair, pizzazz, a few value-adds, a cheeky wink and no small measure of fun along the way.

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