What is an interim executive and how do they impact my company?
What is an interim executive and how do they impact my company?
An interim executive can make a huge positive difference in your business when you are having issues or you need to make a change. They can pivot the organization to higher profits, more efficiencies, or take advantage of an opportunity in the market.
Interim executives will quickly gain an understanding of the company and the role which they hold and be able to quickly take control of the day-to-day running of the company. They are not expected to have any influence over future strategy but should be able to make decisions and implement them effectively.
When a company suddenly finds that it needs to fill a management position, or when there is uncertainty regarding the future of certain key staff members, they may decide to recruit an “interim executive.” A temporary manager can bring considerable expertise and experience to any business, but the arrangement is often seen as a stop-gap until that business is in a position to appoint someone with more permanent status.
In some cases, the arrangement may even extend beyond the original time frame. If the interim executive is performing well and helping the management team to plan for a distant but crucial goal, they might continue their employment for an extra month or two so that they can help to manage the transition when their temporary position is finally vacated.
An "interim executive" is a term used to describe a person who is brought in from outside an organization to take over the day-to-day running of a business for a limited period. The length of time they are employed is also limited, and they normally have their own terms and conditions which go beyond just salary.
Beyond simply providing good management, an interim executive will bring a wide range of skills and business knowledge to any enterprise where they are employed. A well-thought-out job specification should include key requirements such as:
- A clear understanding of the company’s existing strengths and weaknesses: A clear understanding of the company’s existing strengths and weaknesses is the key to effective planning. It is important to have a clear vision of how you would like things to be when the interim executive’s tenure comes to an end.
The following bullet points are useful guidelines:
- Identify your existing strengths and weaknesses, what new challenges may arise with this changeover? What does it mean for the company and how do we minimize these risks?
- Have a clear and ongoing dialogue with the interim executive. Share your views and ask questions to get his/her feedback.
- An effective communication system between the two parties is essential. Set up weekly meetings, or other means of regular contact that suit both parties.
- Be open-minded
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- Detailed knowledge of the relevant market: For example, a study of the market for lubricants could include detailed research into production activity in the oil and gas sector, looking at how that will affect demand for lubricant products.
- Awareness of customers’ needs and their satisfaction levels
- The capacity to negotiate with suppliers for better business conditions
These are just some of the skills that would be possessed by an interim executive since they will have experience in dealing with similar situations at other companies. These issues will be discussed in an interview before the candidate is officially appointed.
Interim executives can make a positive contribution to any company, but it should be noted that they are not an ideal choice for every organization. Particularly small companies who operate on tight budgets may find that hiring an interim executive will cost too much (even though their salary is likely to be higher than that of an existing employee).
There is also the risk that hiring someone on a short contract will cause resentment among staff members who feel they are not given the same opportunities. This may be particularly true when the interim executive helps to make key company decisions, such as where to expand and how much money should be invested in new ideas or products.
In the final analysis, the decision to hire an interim executive comes down to one central question: How can they help me? If their skills and experience are a good match for your organization, then it makes sense to use them.
Even large corporations can suffer from this problem, especially if their core business is manufacturing and they are forced to use an interim executive who has never worked in that industry. It’s important for all parties involved to be clear about the fact that the role of an interim executive is temporary – it should not feel like a long-term job application!
Another important point about hiring an interim executive is that you should never feel under pressure to offer a permanent role in return for their service. The short-term nature of an interim executive’s appointment should be reflected in both salary and the benefits offered to them. Offering overtime, flexible hours, bonuses, or even an unusual location are all incentives that may help you secure a talented person who can make a real difference while they are with you.
On the other hand, you might want to consider using an interim executive for a specific task, such as selling your products in another country. If this is the case, it’s important to make sure that they are aware of all the details upfront.
It’s also worth mentioning that there are not many people who would be willing to take on an interim executive job if they have a family or other commitments. It can be very difficult for someone who has a daily routine to suddenly take on the responsibility of making decisions on behalf of your organization – and you should make this clear upfront.
While there are risks involved with hiring an interim executive, these can often be minimized by adopting a flexible approach. If you and your new colleague communicate openly (and they feel like a valuable member of the team), then the working relationship should be successful.
Hiring an interim executive can also give you more time to focus on other business activities, such as expanding your staff or growing your customer base. This will not only help improve profits in the short term, but it could also give you a valuable advantage over your competitors in the long run.