As businesses around the world react to the changing needs of the global pandemic, many organisations have undergone a period of transformation in which they’ve modified to meet the immediate needs of the market, to fill a leadership gap, boost leaner teams or complete a short-term project.
As organisational restructures have advanced forward on the agenda to meet these economic, social or commercial needs, the spotlight has been shone on the role of an interim executive. Uncertainty and unpredictability have touched just about every organisation in the past 12 months, and with many industries in such flux, capitalising on opportunity or preventing further upheaval have been key to surviving, or even thriving, in a challenging economy.
It’s often during a challenging period, that many leaders show their true colours – whilst a few flourish, many tread water and become overwhelmed, opening leadership voids and an opportunity to enact change.
Interim executives are usually highly experienced, strategic talent who hold a track record, with a proven, specific skillset. Often welcomed into organisations as a capable, they are seen as a safe pair of hands to lead a period of change, an acquisition or even navigate an organisation safely through a period of political upheaval when permanent hires are unable to be made. This pool of executives lean on their heavy credentials and vast experience of similar situations to successfully lead the charge over a short period of time. On a similar basis, new legislative or regulatory requirements may be the trigger to stimulate a request for an interim executive, enabling an organisation to lead through difficult, perhaps even unpopular changes, before handing the reigns back to a more permanent leadership hire once the project or organisational restructure has been completed. Well versed in managing the hard conversations, Interim Executives can cut through the noise, communicate change and bring about transformation, with a speed to market not always available to more permanent hires, who may have to tread more delicately.
Savvy organisations often wish to experiment with differing structures and roles – especially with the advent of customer centricity, which has seen whole teams restructure to meet the changing face of customer demands. An Interim Executive can frequently provide a layer of expertise beyond what the regular FTE budget could deliver, to strategise and bring about heavy hitting change over a short period, which would not be affordable in a permanent capacity.