Case Study – BSI.

Supporting BSI

Helping to Deliver on Their Strategy

Through a two-year process we have helped BSI to redefine leadership and the business’ selection and development processes for leaders in order that these help the business to achieve its future vision and goals.

BSI had set itself an ambitious strategy, vision and goals, which signified turning a new chapter for the business and its leadership. However, it required a somewhat different leadership skillset than the business had grown previously.

The HR department therefore needed to support the business in developing the leadership skillset required for the future. The Group HR Director and Group Head of People Development decided they needed to improve their existing set of BSI Leadership Behaviours in order to better those behaviours that would enable leaders and managers to meet the business’ strategic goals.

The Project

Where Edgecumbe came in

BSI’s Senior Leadership Team had been working with Edgecumbe and our Primary Colours Leadership Model for several years and had found it extremely useful in helping them to develop both individually and as a team.

It was therefore decided to bespoke and extend the model with a set of behaviours falling under each leadership task that would apply across BSI to all leaders and manager.

It was very important to BSI, being a UK headquartered global business, that the extended model should be:


  • Simple – not losing the usability and memorability of the Primary Colours Model.
  • Relevant throughout the business hierarchy – so that managers at all grade levels could relate it to their roles and challenges.
  • Relevant across geography and culture – so that managers in the UK, Europe, Asia and the USA could all use the same model and associated tools – creating a consistent leadership approach throughout the business – a leadership standard if you like!

BSI Leadership Behaviours

Designing a Simple, Relevant and Usable Model

People tend to support what they helped create so we involved many managers and leaders, as well as members of the HR team, across BSI’s hierarchy and geographical locations in the design of the behaviours. We used focus groups, critical incident interviews and rep grid interviews in order to tease from them the leadership behaviours they felt would be required in order to achieve the business’ strategic vision and goals, as well as those behaviours they thought would stand in the way of achievement.

Using this process, we were able to design behaviours that literally used the words of BSI managers and leaders, thereby ensuring the model would be as relevant as possible across the hierarchy and geographical footprint of the company.

In order to make the new model ‘live’ it had to be embedded into processes and have accompanying tools available to managers and members of the HR community. We therefore helped BSI to design a number of new processes and tools, including:

  • A new performance review discussion process for managers, including a booklet to guide the conversation, with a pull-out behaviour rating sheet.
  • A Primary Colours mapped personality psychometric to enable the assessment of potential in terms of the behaviours.
  • A bespoke 360-degree feedback tool using the BSI leadership behaviours.
  • A Team Development Session and Team Report (using the above personality and 360 data) in order to bring each team of managers together following their individual performance review and development conversations, so that they could look at the shape of the team as a whole and agree a team development plan.

Embedding the Model

Processes and Tools to Make it ‘Live’

In order to sustain these processes going forward at BSI’s current and expected future size, we trained a significant number of BSI’s internal HR community in facilitating feedback and coaching sessions using the Primary Colours tools, as well as training a number of them to deliver the Team Development sessions.

Implementation started at the top with the senior leadership team trialling the new BSI Leadership Behaviours model, performance review discussion process with associated Primary Colours tools and Team Development session. The senior team then shared their experiences and endorsed the model, tools and processes at their global leadership conference. We have since cascaded the process to three further levels across the business – totalling around 100 managers and leaders.

With a dataset this large, we have also been able to provide BSI with analytics concerning the business’ overall leadership strengths and limitations in order to inform what they need to ‘build, buy and borrow’.