Wednesday, March 13, 2013

FourSight - The Hare

Ongoing self-discovery is one of the greatest attributes of any leader and in my experience formal higher education is a key contributor to that process.  So it wouldn't surprise you that most of my years in Human Resources have been supported each quarter by a different graduate class in an area of expertise within HR or one of the affiliated fields of social science and organizational behavior.   This semester at Saint Louis University, I've enrolled in the Future-Focused Leadership course as part of the Master's of Arts program in Leadership and Organizational Development.  In that course, we were asked to complete a self assessment from FourSight:  Innovation Tools for Thinking Teams.

Well according to the feedback booklet from FourSight, I have self-assessed as a 3-Way Combination which they have entitled "The Hare".  Although they give the high scores based on their column names (i.e., Clarifier, Ideator, Developer and Implementor), from highest to lowest I am an Ideator, Developer, Clarifier, Implementer.  Well folks, this is me beyond any ambiguity.  I suspect that Dr. Grawitch knows this from our previous classes and my academic work because although I often have some "great" ideas for my work product, there are frequently holes when it comes to the final project outcomes.

Because many of you have known me for some time, this might be more transparent to you as well.  Earlier in a Team Leadership course, we did the MBTI profile where I am an ENFJ, in that framework of preference the NF is the Idealist as well (i.e., validating my highest score in this profile as an Ideator).  My StrengthFinders profile also validates this for me because I am completely at home in the world of the mind with my top 5 going like this:  intellection, strategic, connectedness, empathy and input.  From the comparison between StrengthFinders and FourSight, I make a correlation between intellection and imagination (characteristic of the Hare), input and connectedness with the Developer and strategic with the clarifier.  In my Emergentics profile I'm bi-modal with Conceptual/Social being my two equal preferences validating for me the Ideator in the FourSight profile above and the connectedness and empathy top strengths from StrengthFinders.  These play out in my social and communication styles as well whereas in Social Styles, I am an Analytical Expressive.  My communication style is generally "spirited" with lots of enthusiasm and emotion coming through.  

From an individual SWOT perspective, I believe that Creativity is actually one of my primary strengths and that my primary weakness is implementation (the Nike part of great ideas).  I have the opportunity with this profile to pay more attention to the implementation phase of our designing process and its subsequent evaluation phase from the ADDIE model as well.  I do perceive my lower score in the Implementer category to be a threat because if I don't surround myself with great doers, then my great ideas are like beautiful clouds that drift away on the horizon and provide neither rain or shade for very long.

Implications for me are very similar to those we addressed with our MBTI profiles.  I will want to pay attention to team composition and team processes by understanding each team members preferences and creating synergy so that the total team preferences get as close to the 4-Way Combination of the Integrator or at least in most cases.  Sometimes, given the purpose of the team, you will want to have stronger total team preferences in one of the four categories, i.e., if the team's goal is to be a "think tank" than one would naturally want higher preferences in Ideators, Clarifiers and Developers.  If one is on a team whose purpose is implementation than naturally you want more preferences aligned to doing and higher numbers of Implementers, Clarifiers and Developers.

Some practical utilization of the FourSight profile can be found for my current Inspirational Leadership Development program at Bluegreen Vacations where one of the core competencies is entitled "Reframe and Rethink" and is basically a supporting innovation competency that aims not only at creativity and imagination but is also focused on developing and clarifying great ideas and deciding which projects move forward to action planning and implementation.  Because the program is built from an action-research framework, I can see where this assessment would be entirely appropriate as a pre-work assignment for the participants prior to the educational piece in the group learning context for that competency.  

I know Dr. Grawitch is not entirely thrilled with all my choices of interventions and tools (non-scientific or non-research supported tools) so the fact that he has given us this assignment, I think that incorporating this tool might be more approved of given its design by a Ph.D. and its affiliation to SUNY College, Buffalo.  Two guesses for anyone still reading?  Am I very scientific?  Do I prefer research methods beyond reading about the great ideas that support their findings?

No and no, and these are opportunities for me but helps me explain why I am on my 3rd Master's degree and my 5th graduate school.  I don't have the Ph.D. candidate profile.  Maybe in retirement or as I reach greater maturity, I'll be more balanced to start down that road. Given that there are no "good" or "bad" scores, I can accept who I am for myself.  However, I do have a fiduciary responsibility back to my organization that my interventions be based upon scientific and research-supported interventions or at least an obligation to present these interventions as alternatives with any that are not scientifically supported.  Using the principle of equifinality and with a clear understanding that each organization's decision-making practices differ, there will still be room to honor the intuitive processes because in the end most of us live with what suffices for us.

Great fun and I'm looking forward to greater exposure to this topic of Creative Leadership.  Be well everyone,

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