Having recruited within the Human Resources discipline for over a decade now, I have had the opportunity to build an extensive network of interim managers that are hired into organisations at time of change. From this I have had the privilege of learning and understanding how interim executives can truly add value to organisations; along with the challenges that face the interim community and the changing trends of the market.
One of the key elements that comes with my role is being a subject matter expert, and being able to respond quickly to my client’s needs. This is when I lean on my trusted network of career interims to support, identify and overcome the challenges that my clients face.
In a series of blogs, I uncover Dawn’s insight into the Interim market which I trust will resonate with many within the interim community and provide insight to hiring leads.
So, if you are interested in gaining insight into the Interim market, do keep reading.
Dawn, what are the typical engagement scenarios whereby you would recommend people partner with an Interim provider such as EO Executives to engage an individual like yourself?
I find it difficult to pin down a “typical” Interim engagement scenario. From my experience they can vary so much in both duration and content and that is what is so exciting about being an Interim. Defining the engagement is difficult and the key thing when first engaging with a supplier, or even directly with an interim themselves is being open to being questioned about what you want to achieve and what you believe success looks like.
Being open to questions to get to the bottom of “the need” rather than “the ask” is critical if the right resourcing solution is to be identified for the client. This can take some time and often requires the client to go on a journey to reach their own level of understanding of the need – sometimes this can be quite an eye opener. It may feel like being grilled on the detail to begin with but getting to the bottom of the request up front will help to get it right, saving time and money in the long run … and the answer may even be that an interim is not the right solution for the particular challenge...
What is the main benefit of hiring an interim?
Interims working alongside members of an organisation’s own teams brings together business knowledge and an external perspective. When I go into a transformation programme as an interim I can bring objective views, I can probe into the history of why things are as they are, and I am also distanced from the day to day issues and internal politics that can affect an organisation’s employees. One of my favourite questions will always be “why do we do things this way?” It can unearth a wealth of information and insight that informs how to communicate and engage with employees in the best way to land and embed the change.
What do you believe constitutes a successful interim?
The success or failure of an assignment hangs on the ability of an interim to manage and understand people, their actions, reactions, motivations and emotional state; whether referring to key stakeholders, steering committee members, employees or other consultants.
For me, stakeholder management is the number one skill of an interim and strong emotional intelligence to be able to navigate through the minefield of board members, executive teams and steering committees to successfully get strategies, plans and proposals signed off and implemented is vital.
Executive teams and senior leaders in the business are under enormous pressure at the moment with the universal push for effectiveness and efficiency. As an independent member of the team I often find that I become an informal executive coach and unbiased ear for the duration of assignments and sometimes beyond.
Many organisations underestimate the people side of business transformation activities, neglecting to treat it as a priority and forgetting that managing change is a skill. Whilst it is possible to send employees on a change management course, nothing can replace the knowledge that comes from previous experience – the lessons learnt through practical hands on experience are invaluable. Getting an interim in at the start of a transformation programme with a combination of skills, experience, commercial acumen and a strong track record, will ensure the successful completion of business change. It is important that you prioritise investing in change management, leaving it too late means that you will have to go backwards to go forwards. People have long memories and repairing damage caused by a lack of focus on people will be a lot harder, and more costly than you think and can have a long term impact on business performance.
Dawn Wright is a career HR Interim, with a key focus on partnering with organisations to deliver their people strategy and driving Organisational Development activities to support business transformation programmes, both in the UK and internationally. Dawn has a demonstrable track record in delivering results through a collaborative and results–focused approach.
To connect with Dawn, please visit her LinkedIn profile here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dawnwright2/
In the meantime, if you would like to discuss engaging Dawn or any challenges you have around hiring / working within the interim market, comment below or get in touch at: firstname.lastname@example.org.