The nature of Australian business continues to change at a dramatic rate influenced by: globalisation, the digital economy, disruption caused by technological change, the focus on new growth opportunities, demographic patterns in urbanisation and the ageing population.
The result is significant changes in management styles, working patterns and employment trends, tending more towards short-term projects and leading to a boom in part-time and temporary positions. This increasing flexibility in the labour market extends right to the Boardroom, with rising demand for a new breed of professional – the Interim Executive.
Interim executives are mature, experienced problem-solvers with a track record of success in senior management roles. They go in to companies to provide immediate leadership support and guidance in the absence of a CEO, director or senior manager, either to maintain ‘business as usual’ or to implement change management initiatives; they can direct or facilitate specific projects, mentor new directors or supplement an executive team during expansion programs, relocation, major systems implementations, public flotation, mergers or acquisitions.
Interim executives represent an innovative, powerful and cost-effective management resource for organisations of all sizes.
Interim executives can be deployed in a range of roles within an organisation, at short notice, for a defined period of time or for a specific assignment or project.
The following examples illustrate the type of situation where an interim executive can add significant value to your business:
Holding the Fort
Your CEO or a senior executive leaves the company, either permanently or for an extendedd period of absence. Whether the departure was planned or not, you need immediate leadership in that role. In this situation, an Interim Executive can:
- Act as ‘caretaker’ to maintain business as usual
- Identify and allay employee concerns or help to sustain employee morale
- Provide objective advice and assistance if you decide to redevelop the position description or scope
- Provide input or assistance to the recruitment process as required
- Mentor the selected candidate for the role.
Project Leadership and Support
You have a major project to complete. You don’t have anyone available at the right level to lead it. Or you need a particular set of skills that is not available within your organisation. Or the project is underway but running behind schedule.
In this situation an Interim Executive can:
- Take charge immediately, requiring minimal introduction or supervision
Inject high-level leadership and facilitation skills
- Develop – and implement – best practice recommendations
- Bring the project back on track
- Act as a catalyst to accelerate the rate of implementation and change
- Ensure the projected benefits are realised
- Supplement Executive Team Skills
Your company is growing. Or you have seasonal peak workloads. Perhaps you are involved in a merger or acquisition and you need your key executives to devote significant time to that task.
You may also need short-term access to specialist skills not found among your existing management team. You cannot afford additional permanent executives – and do not need them for the longer term. In these situations, an interim executive can:
- Support a particular function to maintain the status quo
- Provide specialist skills to support merger or acquisition activity and associated due diligence processes
- Improve the performance of your management team
- Provide support to the organisation during subsequent change management or transition periods.
An Objective Eye on Your Business
You need an objective assessment of the performance of your business, or a particular function within the business. Maybe it is under-performing; maybe it needs to expand into new services or markets; maybe it needs new management. Maybe there is nothing wrong at all: you just want to identify ways to add value to a business that is already doing well. You do not want to hire a management consultant – not just because the cost may be prohibitive, but also because you want the job done by someone who has worked at the frontline of an organisation, not simply consulted about it, and can effect as well as recommend change.
In this situation an Interim Executive can:
- Provide an independent and pragmatic assessment of the function or organisation
- Recommend and implement practical improvements
- Mentor and coach management staff in under-performing functions
- Provide organisational support during subsequent change management and transition.
Interim Executives: an investment, not a cost