IT Leadership Development with the FourSight Thinking System™: A Case Study


“[FourSight is] a great tool for driving change where you need people to collaborate and get comfortable with the changethey become part of the solution.”

BridgePoint Effect has been working with a national Information Technology organization since 2015. Last week was a landmark week as we graduated Cohort #3 of the annual leadership development program we developed for them.

Each year, about fifteen leaders at the director level (middle management) participate in the leadership development program, which launches in March and concludes in November.

As the cohort’s program winds down, each participant engages in a reflective thinking exercise where they compare their objectives for leadership development and their experience in the program.  Then, in a culminating event, each graduating leader gives a ten-minute presentation to answer the question:

In what ways might I have grown and developed as a leader?

While I’m engaged with the cohort at regular intervals throughout the program and find this work quite rewarding, I really enjoy participating in the final event because we get direct feedback on the impact of our work.

The Leadership Development Program

The program is unique in that two vendors—a national coaching organization and BridgePoint Effect—were asked by the Vice President Human Resources to design an end-to-end leadership development program that met the organization’s goals for leadership development and to increase capacity for innovation, collaboration and communication in the leadership ranks.

The organization’s goals for the Leadership Development Program are:

  • Deepen self-insight and enhance leadership capabilities
  • Build community amongst program participants
  • Improve communication and collaboration among directors
  • Increase capacity for innovation
  • Make leadership development a part of our culture

BridgePoint Effect’s role is  to provide coaching and training on the FourSight Thinking System™ specifically to increase capacity for innovation in day-to-day work, improve collaboration and communication among directors, and to support achievement of the other goals of the leadership development program.  Our part of the leadership development program included training, the delivery of a Self-Study Guide to guide leaders in applying what they learned in the classroom to real work situations, and two follow-up coaching sessions per cohort member.

Why FourSight for Leadership Development?

To lead is to have problems, and to have problems is to grow creatively.

My client chose FourSight as part of their leadership development program for three reasons:

  1. The ease with which it can be accepted, adopted, and implemented as a process for innovation—it makes innovation structural and language-based and thereby improves communication and collaboration;
  2. The fact that it has a psychometric assessment that helps people understand how they are creative and how they can bring their best thinking to work; and finally
  3. Because it plays well with other models. You can use it alongside any business process or any other model for innovation.

For the training component, we delivered our Breakthrough Thinking for Leaders course, which introduced leaders to the concept that they were “Thinking Facilitators.” The course uses the FourSight Your Thinking Profile Assessment to help leaders understand how their thinking preferences affect the way they approach problems and challenges and ultimately have an impact on the problem-solving and innovation culture of whatever group they lead. It also introduces the FourSight 4-step innovation process, based on over 60 years of research into creative problem solving, and a set of creative and critical thinking tools that can be used with the process or as standalone thinking aids.

Impact on IT Leadership

It’s not easy working in an IT organization. The need to provide timely support to clients experiencing service impacts, and the shifting nature of technology and the pressure to meet key performance indicators that reward people for quick response are not necessarily conducive to looking for creative ways to resolve problems.

This leadership development program encouraged leaders to look at problems another way: to dig deeper below the obvious, to find better solutions to daily challenges, and to engage staff in bringing situations to a better resolution.

Over the past three years, I’ve heard many things about the positive impact of FourSight on leader development.  Here’s a sampling of what I’ve heard.

“Having a structured approach to problem solving really helps collaboration.”

“FourSight changes the conversation.”

“I really value my role as a thinking facilitatorit’s not about doing everything on my own. It’s about pulling ideas and thinking from otherswe get a better result.”

 “It was an ’aha’ to realize that just by getting everyone into the room to throw some ideas at a problem, we could actually come out with things that were useful.  On top of that, it’s starting to shift the way people are willing to get involved, to helpthey want to contribute.”

 “FourSight helps us curb negativity and gets people off their objections to doing something new.”

“[FourSight is] a great tool for driving change where you need people to collaborate and get comfortable with the changethey become part of the solution.”

 “FourSight provides a useful set of tools that can be appliedgave us a structure to work through a challenging problem in a non-confrontational manner.”

 “Leadership is not about having the answer. It’s about being the person who allows the time for the team to come up with the answer.”

This year’s cohort offered us something different in the accounts of how the leaders grew through their months participating in the leadership development program. Many shared stories about the real impact the FourSight process and tools had on their teams and the business.

As an example, two of the leaders realized they shared the same pain when it comes to incident management. Each team was responsible for incident resolution from a different perspective and neither team was considering the broader perspective as they raced to resolve these incidents. People were using budgets as an excuse not to address problems. Yet, the focus on resolving incidents was actually drawing down on budgets unnecessarily—“it wasn’t saving us money, it was costing us.”

To solve this problem, they got both teams into a room and explained how they wanted to use FourSight to better understand the situation and find more productive and cost effective means to resolving incidents.  While the teams were a bit skeptical at first, the leaders took on the role of thinking facilitators and emerged with a solution that everyone bought into, and the shared recognition across both teams that collaborating on resolutions was far more rewarding than rushing to close an incident on their own.

A few hours effort to think differently together resulted in direct bottom line impact and cost savings, and opened the teams up to new possibilities for working better together in the future.

Learn more about the Breakthrough Thinking for Leaders course.

Learn more about the FourSight Thinking System™.


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