I’ve decided to write a series of articles that help explain how finance leaders can develop high performing teams using the NASA 4D Leadership model. These articles intend to give finance leaders and professionals some useful thoughts on how to apply these learnings to their own organizations.

The 4D TDA (team development assessment) is a tool that will quickly assess how well your team is operating in the four dimensions. At a high level the dimensions measure your team on the 8 core leadership behaviours of the NASA model and benchmarks them on the following chart:

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If you don’t run an actual TDA the learnings within the model are still beneficial. Running a team that operates on the far left means you are doing some things inherently wrong. You’ll need to incorporate major behaviour changes on your team in order to remove the toxics in your culture. A simple translation of the model balances relationships (green) teamwork & collaboration (yellow), strategy & vision (blue) and execution & direction (orange). We work primarily with finance organizations that inherently have an increased focus on orange. It’s a profession that rewards tasked focused execution and rightfully so. The difference between a good finance team and a great one realizes that the execution part of the role truly is table stakes. Great finance teams add strategy, collaboration and relationship excellence to their strengths. Focusing on quarterly financial cycles and increasing demands from the business makes it incredibly challenging to keep a focus on the people side of leadership. As you can see from the chart above, missing out on those components will cause great strain on your team. Strategy and execution are the two most important parts of leadership in finance, but (and it’s an important but), the key is to build the solid foundation of the deep emotional needs of your team. People need to feel valued and included; without excellence in these two areas you won’t have a team motivated in strategy and execution. That important statement can be validated in many ways; psychology, common sense, client experience. The easiest validation is 4D helped fix the leadership challenges at NASA that were attributed to causes for both the Challenger disaster and the Hubble telescope failure. Thousands of teams at NASA went through the key lessons that the exceptionally orange organization needed to hear. Without the foundation of great relationships and teamwork, strategy and execution will always have inherent risk.

The next article will dive into the 8 core leadership behaviours of 4D and how they pertain to excellence in the finance profession. If there are any questions or comments please reach out anytime.

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Brett Bourgon

President, B Inspired Leadership

Always thanks and credit to Dr. Charles Pellerin for creating this simple and powerful leadership model. His book is highly recommended if you’d like to learn more directly from the source!

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