Senior Interim Support
Interim management has become more influential in recent years, presenting an alternative path for organisations looking to address problems and sustain momentum while assessing what they might need to take them to the next level. Interim support embraces an executive-as-a-service model, offering organisations the opportunity to hire an executive to fill a specific senior role on a temporary basis. This could be as CEO, CFO, or a variety of different executive positions. Interims can also work with the current management team, complimenting their skillsets to successfully implement a major new initiative, bringing leadership and a clear vision to help get the job done. In contrast to the comparatively lengthy process of securing a full-time executive, additional senior interim support can be embedded within an organisation much more quickly and can be secured through flexible contracts. Interims may also assume a mentorship role, providing guidance, experience, and support to prepare someone internally to take on a top-level role.
Specialists in interim management have valuable experience in building, restructuring, and growing businesses and in improving work performance all around the world. In January 2022, the International Network of Interim Manager Associations (IMINA) released a survey reporting a 11% growth in interim management roles across Europe over 2021, with a standout 21% rise in new roles in the UK.
With this trend set to continue in the coming years, this article will take a closer look at the world of interim management. What value can interim support add to organisations? What are the challenges and circumstances where organisations would benefit most from bringing in experienced interim management? I will explore these issues and will outline some of the common situations where hiring an interim executive may be appropriate, including when a company is implementing changes and needs temporary leadership to guide it through, or when an organisation needs specialised expertise to lead on a new initiative. I will discuss how interim support can add real value to organisations in a wide range of sectors and circumstances. Could interim management be the right solution for your company?
Interim Management: Optimising Your Leadership Team
The Institute of Interim Management (IIM) describes interim management as the provision of effective business solutions by an independent, board or near-board level manager or executive, over a finite time span. The principal business challenges leading to interim assignments include change management, operational transformation, business development, and project management.
Although interim management duties begin with evaluating the position of the organization and creating a plan of action to address specific problems, they are more than just consultants. Interim executives assume a more hands-on role, embedding themselves within an organization so that they can take the lead on implementing a plan of action. Interim executives take full project responsibility from day one, and are held accountable for results, reporting directly to their client organisation.
With the challenges of disruption, uncertainty, skills shortages, and transformation, demand for interim management and the additional leadership and experience they bring continues to grow. Below, I discuss in more detail four typical situations where organisations can benefit from the insights, skills, and experience of executive interim support.
Some Insights: Common Situations Where Senior Interim Support May be the Right Solution.
Case 1 - A Business is in Turmoil and in Need of Restructuring.
Businesses can struggle for many different reasons. They may be battling disruption from increasing competition, costs may be too high, management may be misaligned, employee morale may be low. If your business is in trouble, if you’re experiencing falling demand for your products or services, interim support can be brought in to help to identify the root of the problem, re-evaluate operations, and start to turn things around. With the challenges of restructuring, balancing financial and commercial imperatives, and the pressures to make sustainable cost savings while maintaining relevance in fast-changing markets, more companies are choosing to appoint interim executives with the expertise to lead on a complex turnaround or restructuring.
Executives from outside the organisation will offer a fresh and unbiased perspective on the business’ current problems. The addition of interim management, experienced in restructuring and turnarounds, gives organisations enhanced capacity to get to the root of the problem quickly, make the difficult decisions, and put a strategy in place to get the business back onto a positive and sustainable track.
Case 2 - A Senior Executive Leaves at Short Notice.
A top-level executive can leave an organisation for many reasons – sometimes by choice and sometimes because the board decides they are not the right fit. Deloitte recently partnered with research firm Workplace Intelligence to survey over 2,100 c-suite executives in the UK, US, Canada, and Australia, and found that nearly 70% are seriously considering quitting for a job that better supports their wellbeing.
Whatever the reason for the vacancy, an unoccupied executive role can have serious consequences. It can compromise operation momentum, it risks disrupting workflows, and risks damaging employee engagement and morale. An interim executive can be brought in and embedded within the organisation quickly and tasked with managing operations on a short-term basis while a permanent replacement is found. The sudden exit of an executive doesn’t have to lead to more disruption and uncertainty. Interim support can step in to lead the organization through a period of transition, while helping to determine what kind of leadership would be most effective long-term. Additionally, an interim executive can play a mentorship role, helping to evaluate and develop internal talent to prepare them to move into more senior executive positions.
Case 3 - A Business is Engaging on a Big Project or Transformation and Needs Additional Skills and Experience.
The Institute of Interim Management’s 2022 survey showed that 17.8% of interim manager’s most recent assignment focused on business change/transformation, and a further 12.7% stated their most recent interim role was in programme/project management.
High level projects and processes of transformation can be very demanding. A management team pursing a business transformation for the first time can risk making costly mistakes that can be avoided with the help of experienced hands. Whether you’re embarking on a process of business transformation or preparing to launch a major new project, interim executives experienced in leading business transformation and project management can be an invaluable resource. Companies exploring the feasibility of ambitious projects or big initiatives can hire interim executives with the relevant technical expertise and experience to ensure their project can be successfully implemented. Interim support offers companies the opportunity to improve management capability by bringing in additional leadership with specific talents and technical skills that they may need on a temporary basis.
Case 4 - A Fast-Growing Business Facing Challenges Getting to the Next Level.
Whether it is budgeting for scaling up, recruiting and onboarding new employees, managing expanding supply chains, or managing the challenges of more diverse customer needs, there are many difficulties and stresses that may arise in a fast-growing organisation.
Interim management provides flexible and specialised executive leadership to help businesses through different growth stages. An Interim COO may be required to review streamline processes and create a more efficient operation, or an interim HR executive could be quickly installed to prepare the organisation to meet the demands of a growing workforce. Interim assignments are about the challenge at hand. Expansion and growth and the new opportunities that come with it can be exciting. It’s important to appreciate that fast growth often comes with a variety of new challenges. Interim management can be the perfect solution to address these growing pains and help put the business on the path to achieving sustainable growth. Interims can be brought in to apply their experience and know how to help guide this growth while helping to manage uncertainty and maintain efficiency in an expanding and increasingly complex organisation.
Conclusion: Senior Interim Support – The Power of On-Demand Executive Leadership
As we can see, there are a diverse range of circumstances where senior interim support can add real value to organisations. Whatever the challenge a company is facing, whether that is finding someone with the right skills and experience to lead on a big project, helping to manage operational transformation, or leading on business development, senior interim support can serve a vital role as an on-demand executive solution, giving organisations the opportunity to respond quickly, address their most pressing issues, and maintain or regain their competitive edge.
As Interim Management continues to deliver results, more and more organisations are coming to appreciate the value of on-demand executive leadership. Hiring interims gives organisations access to widely experienced professionals, with strong track records of building, restructuring and growing companies and mentoring executives across many different sectors. Senior interim support is an invaluable resource that organisations should tap into to meet their most urgent challenges today and prepare for the challenges of tomorrow.
Axentia – Lead, Transform, Innovate, Develop
Are you an organisation interested in bringing in senior interim support to cover a significant gap in your senior management team? Are you a fast-growing business in need of support and mentorship to help drive growth to the next level and maintain your competitive edge?
Axentia can help. Our trusted, established, and knowledgeable team can provide interim support in Facilities and Workplace Management, Marketing, HR, and Program and Project Management. We can also provide temporary support for CEO, COO, or CMO roles.
The Axentia interim support team have experience in all aspects of transition management. We can step into roles quickly and have an immediate positive impact.