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4D Leadership

4D Leadership – Competitive Advantage Through Vertical Leadership Development

Twenty years ago the accumulation of skills, knowledge and experience (‘horizontal development’) was sufficient for business success. Today, it’s not. 4D Leadership – Competitive Advantage Through Vertical Leadership Development, offers a new approach of ‘vertical development’.

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Understanding someone else is transformational


I’ve served on three executive boards in my career and if I look back on the most challenging times, I am sure that if I had had a better understanding of everyone on that board, we would have been much more effective.

When you’re dealing with a group of senior executives, by the very nature of where they’ve got to, they are all pretty strong characters. That is great, but without an understanding of their value system, you can come up against all sorts of challenges. As a HR director one of the key parts of the role, on each of the boards, was to ensure the effectiveness of the executive team.

The Leadership Values Profile (LVP) is an assessment that provides a deep insight into how people understand and view the world. If I had had that kind of insight, without a doubt, we would have made decisions in a more informed way. Not only that, but we would probably have made quicker decisions and even, in some cases, we would have made different decisions. 

I remember one, more recent, occasion when I was trying to get a particular point across to another senior colleague and for some reason I just couldn’t get him to understand; I felt as if I were speaking to him in a foreign language. I simply couldn’t help him understand my point. I looked up their LVP and realised they were an extreme example of a particular value system which, by way of short-hand, we call ‘uber’ orange. The different levels of value system evolution, within the LVP, are designated different colours. Orange represents someone who understands the world from a commercial perspective and would want things explained in that way. Once I’d understood their perspective, I changed the language I was using to get my point across. I didn’t change the message, but just changing the language made the difference and we were suddenly on the same page. That experience was really powerful.

If I’d understood where other people were coming from earlier in my career, I would have handled some people very differently. Seeing the results of someone’s LVP totally helps you understand where the other person is coming from. As a HR director that’s especially important; understanding your execs and the way they view things is incredibly powerful.

In all my years as a HR director, I haven’t seen any other assessment that gives you such a deep insight into individuals, the way the LVP does. I think a lot of assessments are very interesting and in the moment they tell you something about yourself, but I’m not so sure they’re all useful from a developmental perspective. The LVP is useful because you gain an understanding of yourself and others. Not only that, you can use it developmentally for yourself, which you can’t do with a lot of other assessments. It’s not static and it looks at the whole of your life, not just how you show up at work.

If I’d had the LVP in my leadership toolkit when I first started out, it would have made my working life a lot easier!

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Carol Evans

Carol has held senior board level positions since 1988 and as a result has a sound understanding of the demands of all aspects of business development.

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