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Interim leadership – driving results

10 February 2011

Interim leadership – introducing a highly qualified external specialist high up in an organisation or company on a short term or flexible contract – can deliver spectacular results. Masterminding a turnaround, investigating new markets, introducing a new organisational structure or driving cost efficiencies can all be achieved in remarkable timescales under the tutelage of an experienced hand.

For interim leadership to really work, it’s all about finding the right interim professional for the task in hand. SJ Leatherdale, Partner at Odgers Interim Public Practice explains: “The critical success factor for interim leadership is being able to deliver. Our philosophy is to place ‘sensibly over-qualified’ interim managers with a demonstrable track record of delivery. That means finding someone who has not only operated at a higher level, or in a bigger arena or a higher value environment, but also someone who can show our client exactly what they achieved last time out.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean that the successful interim manager must come from a similar industry background. “We recently placed a Six Sigma process expert from a manufacturing background into a Primary Care Trust where he has applied cutting-edge process management techniques to an NHS environment. The projected savings run into tens of millions, and he’s building capacity with the management team there. He didn’t have any healthcare knowledge at all, but he did have clear demonstrable success in process management and that was the skill set missing from the team.”

Interim leadership roles are rarely about holding the fort for someone who is sick or on maternity leave. These are appointments deliberately made to manage change. By choosing the right interim professionals, the client can drive results without any employment liability, working to fixed budget and timescale. “Interim leadership is a proven model for transition. But success depends on the right match of skills, culture and experience and that’s where Odgers Interim excels.”


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