How Interim’s Add Value During Recessions

Planning for Interim’s

Interim’s can add value in a number of ways but they are a costly investment if not briefed or managed correctly. For an organization to decide whether it is appropriate to bring an interim on board, it needs to work with an interim provider to scope out a project outline. Once this project brief is established, there are a number of issues to consider such as:
 
o Is there internal resource available with the correct skill set?
o Is it appropriate to use that person or would it be better to have an ‘objective outsider’? For instance, in the case of redundancies, does it make more sense to bring someone in to undertake this?
o Is the skill set required unique to this recession and these economic circumstances and not likely to be needed again once the recession has run its course?
o How cost effective is this solution compared with other options (eg management consultancies)?
Thinking through these issues is incredibly valuable for an organization engaged in firefighting.
 
Bringing in an interim provides the impetus for an organization to take stock of its current skill set and define some key future deliverables.

They have the right experience for now

Many interim’s have the right skill set for now. As the last UK recession was in 1990/91, many organizations today do not have people with the skills and confident to lead their business through recession. As an experienced and seasoned resource, a disproportionate number of interim’s have experience of what it feels like to work in leadership roles during such challenging times.
 
Interim agencies look for skills and competencies in their interim’s which are particularly well suited to an organization undergoing turmoil:
 
o Natural leadership and interpersonal skills
o Successful track record of change
o Not job seeking – no risk of leaving an assignment halfway through
o Resilient and energetic – works well independently
o Happy to work a level or two down
o Good mentor and coach
 
Whilst these skills will always be in demand, interim’s who have actual line experience and are ‘resilient’, ‘energetic’ business change managers are worth their weight in gold at this moment in time. In short, interim’s have the right skills and experience for now.

Interim’s deliver results when all around are flailing

Interim’s are used to working independently without the need for close supervision. Whilst organizations are preoccupied with responding to the recession, the interim can be relied upon to get on with the job and deliver the outcomes agreed. Delivering results despite the recession and uncertainty provides a confidence ‘boost’ and a positive ‘news story’ for staff to focus on when the more typical news coverage is filled with doom and gloom.

 
Interim’s are there to do a specific job within a specific time frame, so are not likely to get caught up in the politics which inevitably exist within every organization. In a highly charged, emotional environment such as that experienced during a recession when redundancies are rife and people are understandably concerned for their careers, interim’s provide objectivity. When managing issues such as redundancies and outsourcing, this objectivity is crucial.
 
Finally, bringing in an interim with a brief to deal with the negative aspects of downsizing or reshaping the business, enables the leadership team to focus on the more positive aspects of moving the business forward and rebuilding morale.
 
Once the economy turns around and these skills are no longer necessary, it is time for the interim to leave and move on to the next assignment.
 
BIEĀ© February 2009