Top Signs You Need an Interim Executive

InterimExecs RED Team of top interim and part-time executives around the globe range in specialties from CEO to COO, CIO, CFO, CMO, and CSO. But, title is not the main focus. Interim executives are often project-based resources that can be pulled in alongside the current management team to carry out big projects, mentor someone internally, or assess how your business is doing and create a roadmap for the future.

If you meet the following criteria, we can probably help:

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5 Trends Expanding the Need for Interim Executives Now

Even before the pandemic forced businesses to be more nimble and forward-thinking than ever before, the need for interim executives had been growing. In 2020, we asked 600+ execs to shed light on interim roles, a comprehensive survey that covered the who, what and why behind the growth of this category. And now as the world is finally defeating COVID-19, businesses are continuing to adapt and re-strategize with a new set of challenges, only amplifying the need for experienced, “make it happen” interim executives even more. 

To better understand how the current marketplace is dictating the need, we conducted a follow-up survey, asking 125 executives to answer the same question: What trends do you anticipate having the greatest effect on the interim specialty in the year ahead?” 

Interim Management Trending Up

Across both surveys, the conclusion was clear: interim executives are needed now more than ever. 71% of respondents see opportunities for interim management trending up and another 21% seeing they will remain stable throughout the coming yearHere, we break down the five reasons why more organizations are drawing on interim executive leadership:

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Great Interim Executives Are Partners

When smart owners hire managers with the intent of working together for a long time, it’s easy to call their relationship – if it works – a partnership. It’s not a partnership in the legal sense and it’s not a partnership in the investment sense, where partners share costs and gains. But in great working relationships between employer and employee, each looks out for the other. Each invests to build and maintain a good relationship and share the gains of working well together and advancing the mission and economic and social health of the organization.

The problem with rampant outsourcing is that it leads to thinking on the part of employers and contractors that relationships are reduced to a transaction. Pay me x and I’ll perform as ordered. Stop paying me and I’m gone. The logic is the same whether it’s one contractor or ten thousand. While it is transactional in the letter of the contract, it is not in the spirit of one. The danger of a purely transactional mindset is that loyalty goes out the window. Loyalty from a boss to an employee and loyalty from an employee or manager to the organization. In organizations with a strongly transactional bent you can bet that any corporate talk about integrity is a watered-down concept at best.

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5 Times Companies Should Choose Interim Management Over a Full-Time Executive

Having a qualified and competent executive management team is integral to the success of any organization. Problems arise, however, when an executive suddenly vacates a position or there is a mismatch between the internal capabilities of a leadership team and the actual skillsets needed for a specific stage of a company’s growth.

Red flags may start to arise in an organization whether it be a lack of a clear vision, high team turnover, stagnant sales, missing innovation, or breakdowns in communication. The knee-jerk reaction of many companies is to look at a leadership change via a full-time executive search, which can take 6-9 months and include long-term contracts with added costs of perks like severance and benefits.

The world of interim management, a specialty that has grown significantly through the years, has offered an alternative route for companies wanting to maintain forward motion while re-evaluating what is needed to take them into the future. As opposed to a full-time executive search, interims can be on board in a matter of days and come with flexible contracts and pricing models.

Executives who specialize in interim management have track records building, fixing, stabilizing, and growing companies around the globe. In an executive-as-a-service model, companies can bring in an executive to temporarily fill a specific role – CEO, COO, CFO, CIO, etc. – or to serve alongside the current management team to execute on a big initiative where clear vision, leadership, and even mentorship is needed.

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The 6 Biggest Mistakes Companies Make

“Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan” is a quote commonly attributed to John Kennedy as he accepted responsibility for the Bay of Pigs fiasco. The idea, however, is an old one. Roman historian and politician Tacitus said that, “This is an unfair thing about war: victory is claimed by all, failure to one alone.”

When things are going well, it’s easy to share credit as a team. When things go sideways, buck-passing and finger-pointing rule the day. Success has many fathers, but for companies, so does failure. The thing about business is that it is always about the people, the process, and systems already in place. And those can fail over time, even at the most successful organizations. Errors, however, can actually help a business move forward – if the problem is identified and fixed. It’s how the owner and management team respond to those mistakes, misses, omissions — or even complacency — that can make all the difference.

InterimExecs surveyed interim leaders from around the world for our 2020 Interim Executives Survey. In addition to asking executives about who’s hiring them and the roles they’re taking on, we asked executives for insights into “The Biggest Mistakes Companies Make.” While their responses varied, clear themes emerged in the areas of leadership, operations, human capital, strategy, financials, and change initiatives. Focusing on these fundamentals is a good starting point for any struggling business.

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When Should You Bring in a CFO?

In every business there comes a tipping point when change is needed to get to the next stage of growth. While as a company owner or CEO, you may be adept at running the day-to-day, at some point you may start to feel that you need to be more tuned into your finances.

Maybe you have a Controller or bookkeeper keeping transactions up-to-date so you can run reports for your banker from time to time. But what happens when transactions start to get more difficult to deal with or you need more insight into financial metrics that will drive strategic decisions? If the following situations sound familiar, it may be time to start thinking about hiring a Chief Financial Officer (CFO):

  • You are growing fast and looking to acquire or attract new capital
  • Investors or financiers are requesting more sophistication in reporting
  • The company doesn’t have the internal capabilities to consistently (and accurately) close out the books every month
  • The business is facing declining revenues, stagnant growth, or rising market competition that calls for someone to provide more strategic leadership and set out a direction and action plan
  • You feel like you don’ have a full handle on the metrics and KPIs that ultimately drive the business and measure your progress
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What are the Benefits of Interim Managers?

The only certainty in business is change. But change is accelerating, less predictable, and increasingly, beyond the control of organizations. As technology and unforeseen events continue to drive exponential change, businesses that can’t keep up risk being left behind.

Companies struggling to generate growth and stay relevant amid rapid transformation often look to new leadership. A growing number of companies are also looking to a different kind of leader—one who specializes in change and embraces the challenge of helping companies solve their biggest issues. Enter the interim executive, a new breed of on-demand leadership that brings outside perspective, cutting-edge thinking, veteran experience, and a laser focus on results.

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How to Successfully Market a Product No One Wants to Buy

There are marketing challenges, and then there is the challenge of marketing a product no one wants to admit they use, much less talk about it in public.

Enter Whitney Vosburgh. He’s an expert, interim Chief Marketing Officer who believes that building community can be a successful marketing strategy.

It worked for ConvaTec, a company that makes something no one ever wants to buy (but many people have to): colostomy and ostomy pouches. Those are the bags used by people who have a bowel blockage, which means they must eliminate bodily waste outside their body. It’s collected in pouches like the ones made by ConvaTec.

Not surprisingly, this is not something people want to chat about with strangers. But, Vosburgh hypothesized, putting them in a room with others facing the same challenges could make all the difference.  

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Transforming Your Business Through Technology: Chat with Interim CIOs

Technology is the most disruptive force in the business world today. It transforms everything that it touches, creating new opportunities while at the same time threatening incumbents and late-adopters.

Futurist Peter Diamandis describes the technology paradox in the following way: “Entrepreneurs will create more wealth in the next decade, than we have in the entire past century. We’ll also experience the reinvention of every industry. Understanding how to navigate accelerating technological change is essential for every leader. The problem with such dazzling change is that most people fear the future, rather than being excited by it. And fear is a terrible mindset from which to create and leverage the opportunities ahead.”

InterimExecs recently held a webinar with Chief Information Officers (CIOs) David Mitchelhill and Kevin Malover about how you should be thinking about technology and your business strategy as we enter 2020. Among the topics discussed were ways to navigate disruption to stay competitive, the value of outside viewpoints in technology, when to pursue new technology versus maximizing current assets, and balancing the fear of change with the fear of falling behind.

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