Traditionally interims have been a responsive solution to a need for instant expert help: you might have expected to engage an interim in a very short space of time so that an issue can be addressed immediately. However, these days interims are seen as being more than just a rapid response solution, called in to resolve problems and prevent disaster. Instead, they are being employed in much more strategic roles and thus part of the bigger picture in an organisation’s growth and development.
The majority of interim appointments we see are to support and drive through transformation and programme management. These assignments are not necessarily ‘knee jerk’ reactions to other factors, such as a downturn in sales or economic concerns, but a planned for engagement that is very much part of the organisation’s business strategy.
Here are some of the most common reasons for engaging an interim from our latest market research:
Business Development and Growth: Whether you are looking to new markets, to increase your current capacity and production, or for a significant expansion of your organisation; you may not have the expertise on-board to implement this growth and development. The use of expert interims to help in key stages of your plans will ensure that you cover any areas where you do not have sufficient experience or support.
Addressing Internal Change: Growing businesses are also changing businesses, and while some of that change may be organic, there are times when significant changes need to be managed to optimise business performance. Although external and internal factors may create an immediate need for a change management specialist, often internal change can be planned for as part of the organisation’s long term strategy.
Major New Project / Programme: Interims are employed effectively across all kinds of projects and programmes. Function-led interims offer businesses expert assistance on varying scales such as the relocation or restructuring of an organisation, to the implementation of new systems in specific areas of a business.
Of course, interims are also available within days of identifying a requirement and therefore are still the paramedics of the business world. Even here, their use is less about ‘crisis management’ but more strategic. For example, an unexpected departure of a key member of your team does not need a rushed recruitment decision. Instead an interim can be engaged to not only ‘hold the fort’ but also to continue to drive a business forward while important decisions about a permanent replacement are made.
Knowing When to Hire an Interim
When deciding whether it is the right time to hire an interim, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Do you have the skills and knowledge you need within your organisation, and if so are you able to channel these resources appropriately?
2. Do you have a specific objective in mind that needs to be driven through in a set timeframe?
3. Does your organisation face external or internal challenges that require immediate action?
4. Do you need a fresh perspective, someone who can see the big picture?
5. Would independent experts, without a vested interest or their own agenda, benefit your organisation?
6. Could you benefit from having someone on board to do the ‘difficult’ jobs that are perhaps culturally or politically sensitive?
7. Do you need someone who can not only advise on the best course of action for your business, but also follow through and implement that advice?