In September of last year, the ABC’s board of directors decided to terminate their CEO Michelle Guthrie’s contract. The board cited that after several emergency meetings about budget concerns and Guthrie’s poor relationship with Canberra, the decision was taken to end her relationship with the ABC.
The ensuing chaos at the ABC happened because the board removed a key leadership figure without having a plan to deal with the leadership vacancy.
Whilst the ABC story was a well-publicised case, many organisations that find themselves suddenly without a key leadership figure find themselves in chaos. Due to varying reasons they may have no one to step up in to the role, and it can take take twelve to eighteen months to find a replacement. To fill the leadership gap, many companies have turned to Interim Executives.
What is an Interim Executive?
An Interim Executive is an individual with a high level of expertise and experience, who is used by a company to further their business goals.
Interim Executives are often used to fill unexpected vacancies, manage projects, handle mergers or acquisition, oversee new company developments and deal with company restructuring.
Who are Interim Executives?
Interim executives are accomplished business people that have a proven track record and extensive, valuable experience. Most are aged in their forties, fifties and sixties. They thrive in new situations, are adaptable and confident in their ability to contribute. They are goal, not career orientated. Performance Drivers uses the term “Grey Haired Gurus” to describe these experienced subject matter experts (SME’s).
Why use an Interim Executive?
There are five major benefits to the use of an interim executive:
Interim executives have already “been around the block”. They use their knowledge and past experiences to identify the key issues and provide effective, innovative ways to deal with business challenges.
2. Hands on management
Interim Executives are proactive leaders not merely advisors! When an interim executive takes on a role, they ‘hit the ground running’ to provide hands on management for a company or project, to produce a successful, timely outcome.
Whilst an Interim Executives time with a company may be brief due to the nature of the position, they can provide a long-term beneficial impact. They pass their knowledge onto the internal teams that they work with, allowing solutions that an interim executive develops for a company to be integrated into business practices to provide long-lasting sustainable benefits.
4. Risk Mitigation
Experienced Interim Executives have most likely confronted the issues facing the business before. They are able to clearly identify and communicate to management the benefits and the risks associated with the preferred plan of action. They are the unbiassed, objective voice unrestrained by the existing processes and company politics.
5. Affordable Leadership Talent
Hiring permanent staff at any level is expensive and time consuming. Interim Executives provide a cost-effective way to fill a leadership gap, run a project, fill a key skills shortage or gap in experience, providing management a competitive edge and allowing more time to focus on the business.
References https://www.boyden.com/media/the-interim-executive-gaining-a-business-competitive-edge-throug-588442/the-interim-executive-gaining-a-business-competitive-edge-throug.pdf https://iim.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Interim-Management-Survey-2018.pdf https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/sep/25/why-the-abc-board-sacked-michelle-guthrie https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/behind-the-scenes-of-the-abc-s-week-of-chaos-20180928-p506oz.html