Exciting New Opportunity: Interim Prime Minister

Exciting New Opportunity: Interim Prime Minister

The current Conservative Party Leadership contest is also the de facto Interim Prime Minister selection process. Consequently, it throws up many parallels for interim management in general.

The circumstances leading up to the need for an interim leader can be planned and measured or, as we are now seeing, more time critical. Interim managers are able to provide a fresh perspective, bring together different viewpoints, supply focus and direction; as well as set a new cultural outlook. The next Prime Minister will undoubtedly be tasked with all these things and much more. 

The key questions we and organisations seeking an interim manager will be asking are, what skills and experience are required? And importantly, what would be the right fit and approach for this incredible yet critical opportunity.

It reminds me of an article a colleague wrote some time ago, humorously referencing the different types of board director: ‘The seven deadly sins’. This is also timely as we are embarking on a series of webinar events exploring the transition to a non-executive director portfolio. The seven deadly sins refer to the caricatures of personality types and roles adopted by leaders we have often seen or been! Ranging from the chatterbox to the grandstander, the no-show to the fair-weather friend. 

It is essential to clearly establish the key priorities for any incoming interim and, by definition, who has the requisite skills and experience, together with the optimum leadership approach to best deliver. Do we need presence, command, authority? Or is it more to do with engagement, collaboration and partnership skills? Do we need a disruptor or steady state? Showmanship or substance? With the 11 different and diverse options reducing to five, take your pick!

Consideration will ideally be given to an exit strategy. Should this be a leader for now or a leader for the future? Will this person have the skills to transition from the here and now to a longer five-year political cycle post-election?

Usually, the interim prepares the ground for the next leader who will then deliver longer term needs. This suits those able to thrive in complexity and ambiguity versus those who perform better with a longer timeframe that offers more certainty and depth in ensuring sustainable success.

With TV debates lined up, background checks from the media and deals being struck with supporters, it is quite the interview process. All without an agreed job specification!

 If you are interested in Interim Management or our NED series of events, do get in touch with me at jes.ladva@odgers.com.


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