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Ask the expert

17 October 2013


By Jane Matthews
Advisor Odgers Interim

Having the right leadership in place is key to every organization’s success. Yet, many organizations hit a point in their evolution that requires someone with a special set of skills or to add capacity that doesn’t exist within their senior management team. This is where Interim leadership comes in. Whether your business is experiencing rapid growth, is looking for new ways to innovate or you are in a time of transition, an Interim Leader may be the perfect solution. Interim executives are experienced at stepping in to fill a temporary need.

They are leaders in their field who come into organizations ready to roll up their sleeves and make an immediate impact.

Keeping the business on track
One of the biggest benefits to hiring an interim candidate is instant stability. Replacing a senior executive can take time and most organizations want to avoid a vacancy while they are looking for the right permanent candidate. Interim leaders will keep priority projects moving ahead, while providing support and guidance to their team during a time of turnover. Think of the entrepreneurial company that is experiencing rapid development and needs the strategic financial insights of a CFO but can’t justify a full time position. Instead of being at a disadvantage, they can hire a part-time CFO until full time is required. What about the large public sector or not- for-profit organization that has temporarily lost their head of HR due to an unexpected absence? Their business can move forward without disruption by hiring an interim executive.

Providing immediate impact
Interim executives have the skills and experience to make a difference from day one. They do not require long briefing sessions or orientations. They know how to assimilate into different environments, quickly build key relationships with critical stakeholders, acquire knowledge on all aspects of the business and make decisions. While achieving the objectives established for the assignment, they are also imparting their knowledge and experience and imbedding best practices that will have a long term impact –even after they have left. One Interim Executive we placed at a financial institution was able to gain his team’s trust very quickly, even after there had been a lot of turnover in his division. And because he had an impressive track record, he had instant credibility with the group. As a result, he was able to achieve a great deal in a short period of time.

Offering a fresh perspective
Many organizations say that hiring an interim executive
is like getting a fresh set of eyes on the business. Interim candidates ask good questions and see things that insiders often don’t. This helps to encourage and foster innovation and it can help make your organization more competitive. In many ways, you get the benefit of a new person, while maintaining continuity in the organization. In today’s fast- paced, complex environment, having a full-time, permanent executive team in place is not always enough. That’s why more and more organizations are turning to interim leaders to strengthen their team and their competitive edge.