Wisnio use case by a leading Private Equity firm

Our client, a respected Private Equity firm with more than 30 years of experience and more than 120 investments, wants to be the most sought after private equity investor and the partner of choice for management teams.

Ott Niggulis

The Client

Our client, a respected Private Equity firm with more than 30 years of experience and 120+ investments, has a long-term goal of being the most sought after private equity investor and the partner of choice for management teams. Their investment approach is simple - take a majority equity position in companies that grow faster than the broader economy.

Being a responsible investor, the firm aims to build a good working relationship with the management teams of its portfolio companies. They provide companies with extensive support while also granting freedom to founders and leadership so that they can run the business as they see fit.

Talent Team and its challenges

Hiring and retaining a robust, adaptable leadership is an essential part of the value equation for any company. Understanding that and to give better support to the management teams of its portfolio companies, the firm recently established a Talent Team. The team is tasked with handling all C-suite related talent activities across the portfolio: talent acquisition, leadership assessment, and development.

One of the challenges for the talent team includes finding reliable and scientifically proven tools to assist with leadership assessment and team development. The existing leadership tools proved to be time-consuming and provided no direct output for business decisions.

The team was looking for something that would add clear value to the leadership team and not take the team away from their daily activities for considerable periods of time.

The Solution - Wisnio Platform

An executive search partner introduced the team to Wisnio, a tool the search partner had started using to add more value to their clients. Wisnio is a leading talent analytics platform designed to build winning leadership tools developed by leading executive search professionals, coaches and data scientists. It combines decision science with data analytics.

We gather thousands of data-points per team and visualise the result in real-time using a proprietary algorithm based on hundreds of scientifically validated facts about high-performing teams.

The Use Case

To test out Wisnio, the client used a recently acquired mechanical engineering company. A working hypothesis by the client was that the engineering companies C-team might lack some of the competencies needed for rapid scaling and growth.

The C-team included two co-founders with several other management team members being long-time employees most of whom had a background in high-level academic research. In addition, the C-team included new hires brought in during the last few years of business expansion.

To better understand and identify possible gaps in the current management structure, the talent team used the Wisnio platform.

For this process, the team used the following flow:

    • Wisnio assessment - all management team members complete the Wisnio assessment (it takes ~20 minutes);
    • Interviews - short interviews with all team members;
    • De-brief seminar - a half-day team event co-facilitated by Wisnio and the talent team to de-brief the C-team, discuss the findings, and plan necessary actions;
    • Separate de-brief with the CEO, the chairman and investment managers.

Due to the recent travel restrictions, the process happened virtually. Being a web-based platform, Wisnio can be used anywhere with a stable internet connection and thus is well-suited for these trying times.

After the initial assessment, members of the management team concluded that the data gathered with Wisnio would be valuable for additional use. We provided the team with a series of 1-hour exercises using Wisnio data that the management team is now using as part of their weekly meetings.

Assessment Results

All data presented below are anonymized and meant to serve an educational purpose in understanding the basics of the analysis. Any similarity to real teams or organisations is entirely coincidental.

Wisnio is a survey-based platform with a total time commitment of ~20 minutes to complete. After each team member has gone through the assessment, results from all are combined and analysed by our proprietary algorithms.

A quick overview shows the core competencies, behavioural strengths, and top motivators of the team as a whole:

Analysed competencies - Teamscope

On personality traits, Wisnio assesses team members based on extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional-range, and openness (The Big5). We combine these individual scores to produce a graph that shows the overall numbers per trait and diverseness or similarity of the scores across all team members:

Team Big6 analysis - Teamscope

As the figures illustrate, the C-team is moderately diverse in personality with similarities in emotional-range.

Next, team values. The values map combines all team member scores to produce a map that gives an overview of the overall team image. Clicking on any one value enables to explore how the scores of different team members differ in that particular value:

Private equity team values map - Teamscope

The core values of them are in spheres of openness and self-transcendence - loyalty, kindness, and creative freedom. At the same time, there are several values where team members’ preferences are sharply polarized, and the potential for conflict is high.

For example, some team members (including the CEO) do not care much about capital and control, while these values are important to others:

Teamscope Values map - Capital

Partly this appears to be the differentiating line between the “old” and “new” members of the team - the latter being more oriented towards profit and influence, while other team members are more interested in the common good and wellbeing of others.

Both are in tune with the vision and mission of the company, but the acknowledgement of these differences was an important finding for both the CEO and the newly appointed chairman of the board.

Additional Insights

For purposes of additional insights, results for the new chairman of the board and the CEO were compared. For both of them, the result was eye-opening. They discovered profound insight that helped them understand several frustrating interactions that had taken place in the past.

The CEO and the Chairman appeared to be very similar in their personality traits and competencies, but mildly different in values.

This is not an ideal combination for a good collaboration relationship. Indeed, the opposite might be desirable. People who are similar in values and different in everything else, especially their behaviours (personality traits) and competencies build a trusting relationship where conflict is easy to bear, and different approaches create synergy and agility.

Realizing these issues, the Chairman and CEO could work through and agree on rules for their interaction to improve effectiveness moving forward.

“This is the most effective way of analysing teams I have encountered. Perfectly valid and very cost-effective, considering the output and resources used. Some of the findings were real eye-openers, confirming my gut feeling. Some made me think about situations where I had the feeling that something was not right, but now I could clearly see what I can do to modify my behavior for better results.”
Chairman of the board


After seeing Wisnio in action, the talent team concluded that:

    • The Wisnio platform provided valuable input for planning and executing the management team’s onboarding to the client’s portfolio of companies.
    • The platform can and should be used at an even earlier stage - the pre-investment DD process and in the process of selecting and onboarding new stakeholders
    • The platform proved to provide excellent value to the talent team and will be a key component in the process of onboarding new portfolio companies and supporting management teams of all portfolio companies.

To learn more about Wisnio and its main use cases, contact us at wisnio@wisnio.com or start a free trial below.

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