“I would say 8 times out of 10, the conversation I have with the client about the hiring of an interim executive is: I wish we had done something 6 months ago. To bring in somebody to help us with this. But we are now in a position where can you please provide me with somebody YESTERDAY?”
– Charles Wilson, UK Partner at Senior Management Worldwide (SMW).
Asking for help
A company that needs an interim executive to step in immediately is a company in crisis. While the interim executive has no problem rolling up their sleeves and immediately defusing the situation, the loss in time, cost and resources before they enter can cause severe damage to the company’s growth, morale and revenue.
Many organizations don’t know when to ask for help, especially when the board and investors are comprised of executives or people who work within the company. Not having that outside perspective makes businesses myopic and ignorant of their blind spots.
Rather than putting out small fires on their own until the fire becomes uncontrollable, business owners and CEO’s can prevent chaos well ahead, if they seek the help of an interim executive at the right time.
Distressed Purchase Moment – You Need An Interim Executive
The time when organizations call Charles’ firm at the eleventh hour asking for an executive to help “yesterday” is something that he likes to call a “distressed purchase moment.” It’s not a problem for his executive placement company as they have executives available to move in on short notice.
Many times that distressed moment appears when an executive decides to leave but because of their sensitive role, they can’t stay around for next 3-6 months. The organization finds itself suddenly with a hole in leadership. Neither can they find anybody within the business to fill that role nor can they look in the market as that would take another 9 months. A plugged hole is necessary to not only keep the business stable, but also to bring incremental change and add value.
Warning Signs That You Need An Interim Executive
An interim executive has much more to offer than just defuse a crisis. Having one on deck when smooth sailing will spot warning signs well ahead of time, preventing your company from large losses as well as helping you achieve sustainable growth immune to any pitfalls. Many businesses have begun to use interim executives as their people strategy.
Telltale signs are anything that involves serious amount of change like a large-scale program, new direction or entering new territory where they feel like they don’t have the right skillset to perform. Any kind of transformative or transitional change is by itself a warning sign to ask for an interim executive to drop in.