The increasing trend of cross-industry interim appointments in order to challenge decision making and provide boards with a broad perspective.

The increasing trend of cross-industry interim appointments in order to challenge decision making and provide boards with a broad perspective.

A Fresh Perspective

Continuing public spending cuts to help aggressively bring down the deficit is a key source of concern for many social welfare related sectors in the UK currently, with numerous organisations having to rapidly review their business models and consider new ways of working.

In line with this and as a more general trend, we’re seeing an increasing shift towards cross industry appointments in order to introduce fresh and diverse perspectives into organisations that need to adapt to sector challenges. Interim executives from a broad range of backgrounds are being brought in to challenge decision making and help boards make sound financial decisions and explore all available options effectively.

This is particularly true in a sector such as social housing which is facing an unprecedented period of change as registered providers are forced to deliver services with only a fraction of the resources that they are used to. Likewise in the volunteer sector, further public spending cuts will put charities under more pressure as fundraising remains highly competitive and restrictions on campaigning are imminent.

While fundraising in the small UK pool is highly competitive, many charities may be missing fundraising opportunities by not evaluating market opportunities from a commercial perspective. Board members are increasingly recognising this and are keen to shift focus on to diversifying and commercialising income, particularly as partnerships with government and private industry are likely to become more necessary.

Likewise, with the recent rent cuts sustainable revenue generation is at the top of the agenda for the social housing sector. As a result, registered providers and charities are also looking to gain a more commercial perspective.

In order to strengthen their approach, both social housing and third sector organisations will need the expertise of individuals who are adept at mining for revenue opportunities and cutting costs. Many are choosing to invest in project based interim executives who can provide a quick injection of support and expertise within a fixed time scale.

Through this investment, social welfare organisations can to look to develop more sustainable business models that help to identify new opportunities, attract and retain essential talent and ultimately ensure that the goals that remain at the heart of these organisations are met, now and in the future.


Barry Ryan at 30/07/2015 16:55 said:

An interesting article. Good to see the promotion of the principle that sometimes those, whose own experience is diverse like mine, can bring alternative thinking to current problems. However, the reality, is very often a resistance to doing precisely that, as many organisations are reluctant to step away from the concept that a person must have x years prior related experience.
Not so, and most certainly not true.
Some organisations, particularly among middle and lower management, block new blood. Much to their detriment. The drive for injecting new ideas, must, I believe, come from COO's themselves. The trick is, getting in to talk to them.

Robin Border at 05/08/2015 09:53 said:

Dead right Barry. Doing the same thing time after time will just perpetuate the status quo. As a finance Director my skillsets are totally transferable between sectors and I am sure the same is true of HR and IT colleagues.Its great to see big providers like Odgers recognise this. And yet they still organise themselves by Industry sector.....

Geoff Moss at 06/08/2015 09:56 said:


Your comments are a true reflection of my experiences as well. I note with concern the inability to influence for example, the banking sector, where without previous experience, you are automatically sifted out of consideration.

Keith Maher at 10/08/2015 10:35 said:

I am coming to the end of an assignment with a major Life Science organisation where I employed methods learned in Retail and Logistics. We over achieved by utilising a completely different approach to arriving at the result and the organisation is delighted. If we had performed as per the norm I must question if we would have just delivered the same outcomes again. This for me is evidence that if failure occurs or a different outcome is required then activities need to be approached differently. Barry Ryan's point on fresh blood is extremely important and in my experience, interims can bring fresh perspectives and energy.

Chris Davis at 17/08/2015 10:43 said:

I agree completely with the article and the subsequent comments - I have just completed a three year assignment in a logistics division having previously had no logistics experience at all, and it is the most successful change programme I have ever lead!

I think core skills, competencies, and most importantly attitudes far outweigh specific industry sector experience.

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