Latin Got Interim Right 2,000 Years Ago

Latin Got Interim Right 2,000 Years Ago

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.

About the Author

Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan leads InterimExecs, matching smart companies with smart leadership. His first company, Online Access, put him on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies. After selling Online Access, the first Internet-coverage magazine in the world, he helped launch, grow and sell a number of fast growing companies through his interim management firm RedFlash. Robert Jordan is the author of How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America.