You have three brains – which of yours is dominant?

Jan 10, 2022

From team friction to understanding: How one compliance officer became trusted advisor to the traders after understanding his dominant brain.

Over recent months, we have been working with many of our clients to motivate their teams. It is even a part of what we are covering during our next workshop, which focuses on how to kick-start your teams after the New Year.

That is not the only concern that our clients speak to us about though.


Inter-personal relationship issues existed within teams before the pandemic, but in some cases, working from home and hybrid working have made the issues more obvious.

The Perfect Teams application is based on more than three decades of practical research working with teams and individuals, and dealing with inter-personal issues has been a common theme throughout that time.

One of our recent articles identified how we transformed a struggling team leader, who was in a bad place personally and professionally, into a 333:1 return on investment for a client. We also highlighted how that transformation impacted his personal and professional life.

In this article, we identify how one compliance officer became a trusted advisor to the traders within his organisation, despite the initial friction that existed within the team.


As we have highlighted in previous articles, our practical research has identified three ways of processing information the
green (go) way, blue (think) way and the red (feel) way.

It is like having three different brains. We all have the three brains, but one brain dominates our approach.

To bring this to life, we have also outlined an example of a world-class team, which has a balance of all three.

Turning to the friction that we often see within teams then; it is the conflict between these three brains.

This was the case between the compliance officer and the traders we mentioned earlier.


When our founder was introduced to the compliance officer, he was tasked with improving his internal perception – and that of compliance overall- within the company.

For the traders within the organisation, the compliance team were seen as ‘business preventers’ because of the role that compliance takes in assessing risks and ensuring the organisation stayed compliant.

In short, both sides approach the world in different ways.


Each month, the team leader of the compliance team produced a report which would be sent to each of the executives, and it was this that helped our founder identify the source of the friction.

The compliance team leader saw and presented everything in a very analytical way. His dominant brain is the blue brain, and he is therefore a very meticulous and thorough person. This meant that his reports were almost as thick as the phone directory.

In contrast, the executives and traders receiving the reports were more focused on the headline outputs. Their dominant brain is the green instinctive brain, and they preferred to receive easy-to-digest content.

Speaking to one executive, he told our founder, “When I get his report, I feel like the insides of my eyeballs are being etched with cut glass. It is agonising.”

As we have mentioned in previous articles, the foundation of the Perfect Teams application is that before you can impact your teams you must know yourself. You must know which of your three brains dominate your approach.

In this case, it was about the compliance team leader knowing himself and understanding his approach to the task at hand first. It was then about understanding how his colleagues viewed the data and importantly, what they needed to see from the data to reduce friction within the team.


You will have likely heard the story of Rogue Trader Nick Leeson, whose trades resulted in the collapse of Barings Bank in 1995.

Although our compliance officer was not linked to the bank, the story shows the worst-case scenario when traders lack regulatory structure. Traders take risks, and one of the last things they want is compliance and regulatory frameworks.

While it was imperative for this to come across in the reports then, the traders and executives needed more visual, high level and story-based reports as opposed to the compliance officer’s analytical reports.


Our founder’s work with the compliance team leader, implementing what now forms the basis of the Perfect Teams application, led to a dramatic shift in the business.

Instead of receiving the telephone directory each month, the executives started receiving a much smaller, high-level report.

It meant that the team leader, and the compliance team overall, became trusted advisors to the executives and traders.

The relationship between the two different teams became a lot smoother, the compliance team got greater buy-in from their colleagues, and there was a better internal dynamic, which helped the business too.


In the case of our compliance team leader, his company’s investment in him meant that they uncovered a skill that already existed within their business, rather than starting a recruitment process to identify that same skill.

Many business leaders we are speaking to are focusing on investing in their existing teams before they recruit new members, especially given the current recruitment market.

How are you investing in your team, to reduce any friction that may exist?

Which of your three brains is dominant?

To find out how we could help you with both answers,  please sign up to our next complimentary workshop by clicking now.

Article by:

Neil Tuson

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