It is likely that every organization will reach a crossroads where they must decide to grow, transform, or stagnate. No business opts to stand idle but by default, many do. In fact, when it comes to achieving sustainable growth, only 20% of organizations find success. How do organizations find themselves in a standstill? Usually, leadership has their hands tied — whether they are at a loss as to which direction the organization should go, are bound by layers of bureaucracy, or do not have the capacity to drive much-needed organizational change.
Many organizations realize they are in desperate need of revitalization, but can’t put their finger on exactly what is wrong, how to change it, or what success looks like. Ultimately, they seek outside leadership to conduct an intelligent and unbiased needs assessment. Based on their findings, the interim leader also serves as a mentor to the team, helping to facilitate organizational change management that drives a future of sustainable business growth.
As a mentor, an interim executive can enter an organization temporarily to help current leadership steer the helm back on course and set up for future growth. Interim executives are most often accomplished C-suite professionals who bring decades of experience in organizational transformation. In most cases interims are hungry for a challenge after rising through a large corporate environment where they led the charge entering new markets, launching new products, or turning around divisions.
Alternatively, interim executives might have more of an entrepreneurial career, building companies from the ground up before deciding to help other companies do the same. This wealth of experience helps them rapidly identify barriers to organizational growth through a business assessment, and charge through those roadblocks with strategic operational roadmaps. These outsourced executives with specialized experience can also train and mentor current executives who might have the industry experience but are lacking the expertise to take the company to the next level.
How do interim executives invigorate organizations that are running on autopilot and aren’t sure how to grow? With a variety of specialized backgrounds, interims can be leveraged for an organization’s specific area of need. They quickly provide an in-depth needs assessment, create a strategy to tackle challenges and capture opportunities and execute on the plan. For example:
- An outsourced CMO with specific industry experience and a strong network can mentor organizations that want to tap into new markets. After completing a needs assessment and market research, they can help build a business’s brand, launch new product lines, and position the company in a new way that will boost growth.
- An outsourced CEO or temporary CEO can work in tandem with the current CEO to execute on big corporate projects, global expansion, or provide mentorship to another leader in senior management who needs development before fully stepping into the CEO role. The interim chief executive is truly a partner that exchanges fresh ideas and helps identify in the organization’s capacities.
- An interim CIO can help an organization through a technology transformation, evaluating current systems and implementing technology to support a business’ strategic initiatives (i.e. SAP implementation, business, and IT outsourcing, or integration of multiple IT systems into one global solution).
- A fractional CFO can grow your business by conducting a financial needs assessment to ensure proper accounting and financial reporting systems are set up, review cash flows, conduct due diligence on mergers or acquisitions, and provide budgeting and financial planning for the future.
- An outsourced COO can complete a thorough needs assessment of operations and the organizational structure. They then can put new systems in place and develop processes to improve operational efficiencies and mentor current leadership to drive performance.
- For mergers and acquisitions, an outsourced CEO or CFO can provide operational and financial guidance, identifying new opportunities, conducting due diligence and providing expertise post-acquisition to ensure acquisition integration runs smoothly.
- For organizations in trouble, an interim executive can assess which fires to put out first. Through this highly sensitive time, they can stabilize the organization and put controls in place while preparing a short and long-term recovery plan.
Interim executives also offer an unbiased view as an outsider of the organization. While they take an approach actively listening to everyone in the organization to assess the current situation, they can quickly cut to the chase and identify core issues by filtering out the noise of inner politics, organizational silos, and groupthink. Cognizant of how organizational culture affects progress, interim leadership knows how to apply new solutions that are empathetic to cultural dynamics.
Many times businesses have a hunch about they have a need, but actually, aren’t quite sure what that is. With the guidance of an interim executive, organizations can get to the crux of what is wrong, and act in a transformative way that secures a sustainable future and organizational growth.