Bob often wondered how his background in Economics, Statistics, and Business would merge with his passion around personal, spiritual, and people development. Attending his first company sponsored management training session was eye opening and prompted him to enroll in a Master’s Program in Organizational Development the very next week. Early in his career he set about to learn from some of the very best in the field. He had the good fortune to be in close working relationship with people like: Peter Block, Peter Senge, Robert Fritz, Marv Weisbord, Clay Laugherty, David Whyte, Robert Kegan, and a host of others. He recalls being mentored by the best of the best. What Bob noticed as he got deeper into the thinking of each of these thought leaders, was that while the field of Leadership and Organization Development was littered with useful theories, frameworks, models, and research—it was largely unconnected and unintegrated. Bob desired to weave the threads of all this powerful theory and research together.
Over a 20-year period, an integrated model emerged. It became a Unified Theory of Leadership. It integrated into one coherent framework the best theory and research that had emerged in the field of leadership and psychology over the last half-century. As the Unified Theory evolved, Bob began using it as the basis for his work with senior leaders and senior leadership teams. The work was deep, life changing, and yet directly connected to the business of running a business. The inside-out work that he had longed to do with leaders was translating into higher levels of leadership effectiveness and, as a result, increased business performance.
During that same period, Bob was frustrated that he could not find an optimal set of assessments, because like the leadership field, leadership assessments at the time were largely unrelated and unintegrated with each other. He could not find an assessment that was capable of working with leaders at the level of depth, nor that fit seamlessly with the unified framework he had developed. So, as he puts it, “I naively set out to create one.” A few months into the process of creating what is now the Leadership Circle Profile, he was having a conversation with a colleague, David Womeldorff, who was certified to use most of the big 360° assessments in the field. David said to Bob,
“Bob, the world does not need another leadership 360°. They are a dime a dozen. It is a mature market. I don’t understand why you want to waste your time doing this.”