As a Greek philosopher in 550bc, I guess profound insight came with the job description. Heraclitus, Greek philosopher extraordinaire, is famous for his insistence on ever-present change in the universe and is credited with the oft used mantra of business people, “Change is the only constant”. Great oratory must have also have been in the job description, as Heraclitus said on this topic, “You cannot step twice into the same stream”.
Fast forward two thousand years and, as we absorb the daily business news, it seems that the challenges of business today means the streams are moving faster and faster, there are more streams with every step and occasionally they become torrents.
This rapid pace of change continues and is relentless. Business leaders, well the best ones anyway, recognise that with all the uncertainty also comes opportunity. They are two sides of the same coin.
In the late 20th century Professor Harry Schroder, in his ground breaking research (that also comes with the job description for a Princeton professor) and some of the biggest studies ever undertaken with leaders, demonstrated that a company’s ability to survive and thrive with change was almost entirely predictable and based upon the leader’s behaviour. Not only that, Schroder measured these behaviours and put them to practical use.
The Schroder behavioural framework, which every business and business leader needs to be aware of, describes these leadership “High Performance Behaviours”. They are absolutely critical to performance and are as relevant today as ever.
The Schroder framework recognises that in this competitive world, we need leaders with a compelling vision and innovative plans. The need to be prepared to take risks, inspire and motivate others and forge relationships and partnerships. Schroder identified that a successful leader has to be able to identify today’s trends and use them to predict and understand the environment of tomorrow and most importantly must develop their teams to do the same. This is why we at my360plus use this proven framework at the heart of our 360 degree feedback and ongoing development programmes.
At my360plus we have noticed that different sectors have adapted to change at different rates. Some sectors are ahead of the game while others are just beginning to adopt ideas and tools to support their leaders to survive and thrive change.
For example, most recent interest in my360plus has come from Law Firms, Utilities, Facilities Services, Environmental Services, Transportation and Retailers. This is a reflection that the leaders in these industries are now recognised as being critical to success and need to be aware and responsive to the onslaught of change created by industry consolidation, government intervention, increased client and customer demands and diverse competitive pressures. These sectors are also beginning to understand the impact of technology and the opportunities it represents for their own innovation and competitive advantage.
In the 21st century I am not sure what Heraclitus or Schroder would make of today’s world but I am sure they would recognise that in modern business, like in ancient Greece, as you step into your metaphorical stream, the same universal truth applies “Shift Happens”.