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Benchmarking senior leadership behaviours


A rapidly growing bank, our client had pursued an aggressive expansion across its region with both organic growth and acquisition. It had established its presence in more than ten countries and was now looking to consolidate and integrate this into one unified company.
Part of this involved aspects such as the alignment of products and processes such as its banking software platform. It was also essential to develop a common approach to leadership. The Chief Executive wanted to set a benchmark for leadership behaviours within the organisation and audit the performance of his senior management population against that exacting standard.


We started by constructing a leadership competency model of the behaviours required for success within the bank. This was done through interviews with senior stakeholders including all of the top team and the CEO. We also consulted the wider senior management population by surveying them using our Online Qualities system. The outcome was a clear and consistent definition of leadership success within the bank. The consultation process ensured that the competencies were both forward looking, reflecting the aspirations of the Directors for the business and also reflecting the current realities of leading people in the bank, across markets and cultures.
We then constructed a hi-fidelity Development Centre, the core of which was a rigorous assessment process, to establish how the current management population stood up to the standard that was required. This included a range of challenging business simulations, from our Stretch Simulations range, especially selected to stretch even the most able managers.
The assessment process was then applied to the top executives in the bank, including the CEO. This willingness to stand up and be counted set a really strong example, and helped to establish a challenging but realistic benchmark against which the rest of the senior management population could be assessed. Each of the top team had individual feedback sessions with our consultant psychologists to explore their personal profile of strengths and developments and to help with subsequent development action planning. This greatly raised their levels of self-awareness around their behaviour as a leader, and how to leverage their strengths and address the factors limiting their current performance.
We also presented a combined report to the CEO outlining the overall strengths and weaknesses of his team so that these could be addressed and the leadership capability at the top of the organisation could be reinforced.


Since then we have rolled the process out to the rest of the senior management population. In an integrated programme of events, carried out in a nine month period, over forty key executives were profiled against the leadership requirements.
This has provided a wealth of data which the HR Director, our key client is now using to identify common development needs for the organisation. The process has been invaluable in highlighting both individual and group development needs and in informing the succession planning for top jobs.
The value of the information provided from this process and the impetus given to people’s development is considerable. In testament to this, the bank has now decided to roll the process out to the next tier of middle managers.

Success factors

The success of this initiative is strongly related to the initial and ongoing involvement and commitment of the senior team. The willingness of the CEO and top team to stand up and be counted, rather than simply “doing it” to the rest of the leadership position set a really strong example, and helped to establish a challenging but realistic benchmark against which the rest of the senior management population could be assessed.
Members of the top team who went through the initial process have now been trained as assessors and their experience of being assessed themselves is highly beneficial in helping them to excel in this role.
Before each session we run further assessor training and, importantly, benchmarking sessions using actual data from previous attendees. This ensures that the consistency and objectivity of the process is as high as possible, adding to the credibility, power and utility of the programme.

What our client says about Human Qualities

"This executive talent management initiative has provided vital information for our business to develop the leaders we need for the future. The Human Qualities' assessment process is rigorous and challenging and provides powerful insights into how individuals need to develop to meet our demanding standards. I know - I've been through the assessment myself."

Amos Herai, HR Director RBTT