Hank’s Interim Roles
COO / VP Operations
VP Operations / Start Up
CIO / Fractional
Program Turnaround Exec
There’s a time to gather information,
a time to analyze it,
a time to make a decision,
and a time to take action.
1. Who are those guys; those interim executives?
Who are those interim exec critters? They ride into town, close down a division, oversee an acquisition, rescue a project, etc, then move on. They are professional problem solvers; very senior people with no learning curve, who take on an assignment and make things happen. They’re driven by sense of urgency; come in, put out a fire, resolve a crisis, train permanent staff, and move on. They are not researchers or strategic plan builders; they are action oriented. Interim executives tend to come from the ranks of freelancers, partners, or contractors; seldom an employee. So, who are those guys? They:
- Are at the top of their game.
- Are focused at getting things done with a predisposition for action.
- Have no personal or hidden agenda.
- Are intent on working themselves out of a job.
- Drive results and provide value.
- Have serious track records of success.
- Make tough decisions; have guts with integrity.
- Are focused on implementation vs. giving advice.
- Have the ability to have fun to celebrate successes.
2. When will I need to hire an interim executive?
You don’t need an interim executive for the everyday activities unless it’s for a short term fill in. You need them when you’re in real trouble or have an extraordinary opportunity in front of you. You need them to quickly and successfully move the needle and you don’t currently have the leadership talent within your organization. Specifically, when it’s imperative to:
- Rapidly Increase sales
- Cut costs quickly
- Rescue a failing project or initiative
- Launch a new product/service
- Launch a new initiative
- Raise investment capital
- Buyout a competitor
- Expand into new markets
- Improve financial results
- Improve operational processes
- Need an executive with specialized knowledge
- Turnaround the company/reverse losses
- Turnaround a department
- Rebuild your organization
- Quickly replace an existing leader
- Fill in temporarily for an existing leader
- Find someone part-time as a fractional executive
3. What can you expect from a interim executive?
Well, you should expect a great deal from such an experienced, successful executive. Specifically, you should expect to get:
- Straight Talk
- Fast, measurable results
- Fresh perspective
- Cross industry best practices
- Increased accountability for results
- Access to their connections
- No long term commitments or overhead
- No hidden agenda
4. Why should I hire an interim executive vs. hire a permanent employee?
Many of the reasons have already been mentioned in previous questions and answers. To consolidate:
Your organization has an important initiative, a big project, a pressing problem, and/or a critical opportunity which absolutely, positively can not only; not fail, but must be extraordinarily successful. And:
- You don’t have leaders within the organization with the knowledge and experience required.
- You need results fast; no time to search and onboard a new person.
- Specific leadership skills are required now, but will not be needed in the future.
- You need a leader now who can coach an internal person to take their place.
- A full-time executive is not yet required, but you need someone very senior part-time.
5. Where do I find a interim executive?
A few years ago, interim executives were not so easy to find. Today, several firms focus solely at interim executive work. Also, many of the larger consulting firms are adding interim executive practices. You can find them with an internet search.
Also, a growing number of experienced executives, like myself, are becoming interim executives. They tend to be seasoned independents who look for interim work by leveraging their connections and partnering with private equity firms.
The value proposition for many independents centers around the fact; that, like me, they have long experience as both an executive at a large corporation and as a management consultant for numerous clients. They have been on both sides of the fence and have chosen the interim executive approach because they have seen the value for their past employers and past clients.