Some Benefits of Interim Managers
For organizations weighing what type of leader they need, here are the benefits an interim manager brings to the table:
There’s no substitute for experience. And interim executives have it in spades. The majority of our survey respondents reported 10 – 20 years of executive experience. Many have held more than one role within the C-Suite. Others were entrepreneurs who built a business from the ground up. Most execs who make the shift to interim roles do so because their previous experiences taught them that they have a knack for building companies, launching new product lines, spinning off new units, turning around divisions, and fixing struggling organizations.
Cross Industry Skills & Expertise
Interim executives are comparable to the rolling stone that gathers no moss. Always moving from company to company, they do not develop the institutional blind spots that can set in after years with the same organization. Interims do not stagnate. They’re always on the cutting edge. They have access to the latest skills, thinking, talent, and technology, and in many cases, have cross-industry expertise that allows them to apply best practices from one business to others. The executives we surveyed repeatedly expressed a passion for continual learning and professional development.
Interim executives are measured on results. They are not consultants who sound articulate and have impressive-looking PowerPoint slides, but have never led a successful operation. They’re also not temps there to keep the seat warm. Interims make things happen. Their emphasis is on implementation, not theories and strategy. Interims take ownership of a project and execute it to success. One executive in our survey said that interims have a “laser focus on immediate objectives.” Another described their role as “goal oriented and focused on accomplishing the mission.”
Flexible & Project-Driven
We live in an on-demand world where businesses must respond in real time to rapid change and cost pressures. Interim executives bring a degree of operational agility that allows businesses to remain flexible. Dealing with a one-time ERP implementation? Prepping the company for sale? Can’t afford the overhead of a full-time executive for a short-term gig? Interim executives make it easy to ramp up for a specific project and then ramp back down when the objective is achieved.
Good leaders inspire others and make those around them better. Interim executives are big on team-building and mentorship. They excel at assessing talent within the organization and putting people in positions where they can excel. Multiple interim executives in our survey used the word “empower” to describe their approach to team building.
The average interim assignment lasts less than a year, but the effects an interim leader has on a business last much longer. While they often help to find their replacement, interims don’t stop there. Good systems outlast good people. If an organization is dependent on one individual, it’s bound to fail when that person is no longer around. Interims put in place the processes, leadership, and culture that set the business up for future success. To use the words of a survey respondent, interims want to leave a company “in a better or improved position” than when they were arrived.