The Swiss Re Group is an international financial services provider. Roughly 15 years ago, the company established a branch office in Bratislava, Slovakia, which offers the European companies of the Swiss Re Group a broad range of internal services based on a shared services model.

With the company’s tenth anniversary, in a phase of strategic realignment, also the topic of leadership should be analyzed and dealt with in a structured way. Matthias Knott, HR Director at Swiss Re, commented: “A key objective was to offer young managers – mostly between the ages of 24 and 30 – comprehensive support. To achieve this, their leadership competencies were to be analyzed and specifically developed.”


With the help of LEaD, a company-specific competence model of leadership was designed. During planning, it became clear that the company’s values and management model could be easily translated into the five dimensions of the LEaD model and further developed thanks to its holistic and highly flexible approach.

Based on the completed LEaD questionnaire, each manager received an individual management profile in the form of a results report on his or her self-image and third-party perception. Of course, the English version of LEaD was being used.

This profile was evaluated in an individual coaching session, from which an individual development plan was derived. Knott says: “For me, this is the special attraction of LEaD – it is a scientifically very well-founded tool that at the same time enables the implementation of the results in beneficial measures for effective leadership.”

The individual results were then used in moderated team workshops for team development, to improve communication and cooperation as well as the effectiveness of the teams. In addition, an aggregated report was prepared based on the results of all participating executives.


From the analysis of the overall result of the leadership feedback, important decisions for the development of the organization could be developed. Matthias Knott explains: “The strengths of the management culture were a generally high level of self-motivation, a good team atmosphere and an objective focus on results.” According to Knott, the LEaD competences “strategic orientation”, “innovation and change competence” and “conflict management” were less pronounced.

Specific initiatives for improvement were derived from the shortcomings identified, such as the Change and Innovation Management modules for leadership qualification and forums to intensify strategic dialogue. The use of LEAD has thus triggered competence development at the individual level (leadership feedback and coaching) and at the organizational level (leadership program and strategy dialogue).