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Is your current leadership benchmark right?

Radu Manolescu

Last year in October during a valuation executive programme with prof. Kevin Kaiser
from INSEAD we had the chance to discuss about leadership teams behaviors and
long term value creation, my obsession for many years.

Kevin suggested me Fred Kiels book, Return on Character and while reading it I
found many similarities both in our missions (K.M.Trusts and KRWs) and in the
challenges we had faced in our markets in terms of convincing shareholders and/or
company executives by the importance of putting moral values in leadership on top
of the list, ahead of competences and of course, without minimizing the high
importance of the latter.

While reading as well the HBR article about KRWs findings and their methodology, I
saw a lot of complementarities to our methodology.

I therefore decided immediately to write to Fred and see whether we could join
forces somehow into enhancing our missions at a larger scale and not just locally.

He kindly replied in few hours and since then we are exploring together with the
other wonderful people from KRW (Kelly Garramone Managing Partner (who
happened to live in Romania for a short time at the end of the 90s), Brent Walsh
Partner based in Paris, etc.) a partnership to get us closer to our missions in short
contributing to a better world where leaders of certain profile* are focused on long
term value creation.

Over the years, in K.M.Trust & Partners we have developed a certain leadership
benchmark while digging into
Neuroscience (Dr. Sirini Pillay, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, etc),
Emotional Intelligence (Daniel Goleman, Chade Meng Tan, John Kabat Zinn,
Shirzad Chamine, and many more),
Micro-expressions assessment (Paul Ekman),
Body language and
Speech structure,
etc.. that led us to create a pretty good structure around it and a pretty good
methodology to assess it.

The thousands of interviews and executive meetings weve had, the opportunity to
have exposure to the very best Harvard Business School, INSEAD, Marshall
Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching, to our clients, etc. were each a huge
learning and refinement process.

Combining what we learned from the information exchange with KRW together with
our know-how, it reinforced THE benchmark leadership profile*we believe to be
complete enough to be used by companies as mandatory filter when recruiting/
promoting their executives.

*THE benchmark leadership profile:

Moral values are paramount (integrity, ethics, respect, trust, forgiveness,

responsibility, compassion,)

Professional competence (not to be read competences)

Curiosity, continuous learning


Energy and drive

Emotional Intelligence

Collaborative spirit

Puts others first/never self-centred


Digital Transformation Capabilities (adaptability, willingness to experiment,


Greater good focus (we include here a high focus on a positive social and

environmental impact)

You may say that this profile is hard to find. I may say we may not look hard and
well enough. There are not so many people like that indeed but I could bet they are
quite a few around plus some that could be developed towards that.

We only need to change our reflexes and look harder, assess better what we hire/
promote and elevate in businesses and in business schools.

Radu Manolescu