Radu is one of the most well-established executive search & leadership development pioneers in Eastern-Europe, and his work expands beyond his business. He is the initiator of AVE – “Asociatia Pentru Valori in Educatie” (one of the most impactful NGOs supporting education in Romania). Radu is a co-founder and managing partner in K.M.Trust & Partners and is also involved in executive coaching and in co-delivering leadership development programs in EMEA.
When we launched the 1000 Purpose-Driven Leaders Initiative, Radu Manolescu was recommended by many former colleagues, clients and friends. When we had our first call about a year ago, we ended up passionately talking for 2 hours about values, purpose and making a positive impact in the world.
“I believe that a leader with the right moral values and standards will have a huge positive impact on people, planet and profit.”
Your Leadership Story
What is your current role?
My role is to contribute to something good, to improve things around, to create real value.
What are the 3-4 most important steps (jobs, people, companies) that shaped your leadership journey? How?
Each stage in my life was important, each family member, each friend, each teacher, each colleague, each acquaintance, as I have learned and shaped myself from each. If I would extract the top of mind few – my mother, an example of grit, kindness and resilience & my father, kindness and selflessness (a double-edge sword). If I extend the list, I risk forgetting other very important people among which Jim Bagnola (coach), INSEAD, Srini Pillay, Shirzad Chamine, my colleagues from AVE Romania and many others.
They have all been shaping me into a better me in relation to myself, to others and to a higher impact in the society.
What is your purpose, the “bigger why” behind what you do? How do you bring it to life?
“My own and my firm’s mission is to help companies live their values while having a memorable positive impact in the lives of the people I work with.”
Here you can read more about who I am and what I pursue: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/search-meaning-radu-manolescu.
In addition, few years ago I initiated together with some wonderful business executives an NGO with focus on education (www.ave-romania.ro). The intention was to involve the business community and not only in improving significantly the educational system in Romania and beyond. Few months ago, one of our projects was awarded “the most scalable social project in Romania” by a UiPath at the Insider Awards.
I have a strong desire to contribute to introducing in schools kindness, compassion and responsibility training in hope of a different generation of adults in 20-30 years. We have actually started exploring a strategic partnership between AVE Romania and other international NGOs to deploy Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in Schools.
What are your core values?
Kindness, fairness, trust, compassion, integrity, respect, responsibility, courage to do the right things even when difficult, I focus on the others first (without losing sight of myself) – as Adam Grant says, probably I am “otherish”, focus on a greater good/stakeholder value creation.
What are your strengths?
My values and grit, passion, adaptability, resilience, self & social awareness, curiosity, mindset of possibility, tolerance, willingness to understand the other side. And I have several flaws too.:)
Leading With Wisdom
How important is for a leader to be aware of own values, purpose, strengths?
Very high importance. Self-awareness and trust are fundamental.
What helps you deliver stellar performance?
If I would line few top of mind aspects for the pretty decent performance we have, I would say: good intention, trust, integrity, passion, no focus on myself/ego, caring deeply for my team, openness to learn, to feedback and feedforward, immediate embedding the feedback where needed, high customer focus, high fairness in treating all stakeholders, digital world savviness, resilience, curiosity, everything is possible mindset, willingness to do good.
Do you have any daily routine to build cognitive performance (focus, creativity, etc…)
I am a morning lark, I wake up early, go for a 6 km run (4-5 times a week), meditate, listen to books/read, stay with my family for breakfast and most dinners and take my kids to school/kindergarten daily.
Another challenging event was related to doing my best to keep the right people on board during the recession with a 40% utilization rate. I learned a lot about how I could handle better another recession, how to keep the strategy and direction, to have hope if I really believe in something.
What do you do for your wellbeing?
Sports, meditation, rebalancing retreats, eating healthy, sleep 6-7h, do what I love, spend little time in the car, spend time and energy with people I love to have around, read, learn from everything, allocate time for my passions, do my best to have good quality relationships.
What book/learning experience had a transformational impact on you?
I experience many transformational moments. Here are some of the books that had a strong impact on me:
- The Righteous Mind and the Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt
- Life Unlocked by Srini Pillay
- Beyond Religion by the Dalai Lama
- Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine
- Incognito by David Eagleman
- The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt
Some of the most powerful learning experiences have been the executive programs from INSEAD, Harvard, Singularity, EHL, the amazing coaching and co-facilitating with Srini Pillay MD, the via app training and coaching with Shirzad Chamine, etc.
Legacy and Making a Difference
What is your biggest dream?
I am living the dream every day. My main desire is to stay healthy and happy along my family and friends. I recently did a gratitude exercise and wrote down all the things I am thankful for. I have to say I was pretty surprised that the list was very long. I feel that every day I am contributing to building something good and this comes with an amazing energy despite the challenges we all face nowadays.
What is the leadership legacy you want to leave behind?
The legacy I want to live behind is the fulfillment of my mission.
What is the role of the business leaders in keeping the right balance between People – Profit – Planet?
Business leaders can have a major impact in keeping the right balance, but all of us have an important role to play irrespective of being a business person or not.
Business leaders can do that by living the company values, by encouraging kindness, compassion, responsibility and stakeholders’ value.
What would you like your grand grand children to say about you?
That I was a kind person who did a lot of good to other people. And that I was happy, positive and made people feel good about themselves. Professionally I would like them to say that I have changed the world for the better, that I did good at a large scale.
What is your piece of advice for us on how to spread the message on Leading with Wisdom?
Be good, do good, avoid harming others and be tolerant with people very different than you.
Thank you, Radu, for being one of the first purpose-driven leaders joining our mission to inspire business leaders to lead with values and purpose!
Interview originally appeared here – https://neuromindfulnessinstitute.com/purpose-driven-leaders-radu-manolescu/