Interview with Radu Manolescu, managing partner of K.M. Trust & Partners, a respected and reputable Romanian executive search & leadership development firm.
We are meeting Radu at his office in Bucharest. He just finished a presentation at an National Bank of Romania conference, where he was one of the key speakers.
Hi Radu, what was your pitch at this HR conference about?
“Well, it was very interesting in fact! I had a very short pitch where the central statement was around the fact that a big part of today’s problems is an increasing tolerance of unethical behaviour.”
OK, can you explain what you mean by that?
“Sure, I learned a lot from some of the largest company bankruptcies in the US and not only, such as the collapses of Enron and Lehman Brothers. Most of what happened there had to do with lack of ethics, greed and what I call ‘a sense of relativity’.”
What do you mean by relativity?
“Well, ‘relativity’ has to do with the fact that, for example, many people believe that the difference between right and wrong is “relative”. Radu adds to that: “I am convinced that a company’s problems begin when people lacking strong moral values are hired or promoted because interviewers do not look at or miss key clues in the selection process.”
OK, that sounds like a serious problem. What is your solution to this?
“Well, at K.M.Trust we are always stressing the fact that Human Resources is, most of the time, the gatekeeper of who goes in and out in a company, so HR officers should focus more on values when recruiting or promoting. I am not saying competences and skills are not important. They are extremely important just that the priority should be given to character.”
Radu continues: “to illustrate my statement, I’m often using a quote from Jim Collins: “Money cannot buy the right behaviour. With it, you can get the right people though and keep them there.”
What would you advise companies today to change in their HR procedures?
“Glad you asked, because I’m always telling company directors to first define and measure the values they really want to see translated in behaviours within the company. Then make sure that in the key functions are people of high character, train them in assessing the values right, and use values as mandatory filter at all recruitments/promotions/firing, no exception. It may seem utopic, difficult but I can assure you, it is not as difficult as one may think.”
Tags: executive search, executive search consultant, IICPartners, K.M. Trust & Partners, Managing Partner, Radu, Manolescu, Radu Manolescu