My daughter eagerly accepted an internship at the morgue. Wait – how does she put it? The medical examiner’s office. Regardless, all I hear is morgue. Anyway, let’s move past the whole your-daughter-is-around-dead-people issue because here’s the interesting thing. They ask their interns to sign a statement agreeing to work pro re nata.
This was a new phrase for me: pro re nata. It is latin for “in the circumstances” or “as needed” or “as the situation arises.”
I believe the phrase is really a guiding light for the best interim execs around the world, because the best leaders operate as needs demand – pro re nata.
If a client needs the executive for three months, no problem. If the need is two years, so be it. If the need is 24/7, accepted. If it’s three hours a month, great. What gets baked into the concept of as-needs-demand is a whole lot of integrity – something we caution interims and clients about all the time.
When we got a call from a company that had previously engaged a placement firm who brought in an “interim” who then abandoned the client after one month onsite (when more time was required), we knew a couple things: 1) the placement firm did not do their diligence to make sure they brought in a true interim executive; and 2) they did not perform as needs demand, as the situation required. The opposite is also true. If the engagement requires a year and the executive lingers longer, was that truly as needs demand?
The integrity test is the toughest one on the books – and that’s why we tell executives we can’t rush the process of coming to a trusting relationship. It’s all about: as needs demand.