Getting the most out of an interim executive manager

Want to get the most out of your interim executive then give them the authority to go with the responsibility
A couple of years ago I undertook an interim executive engagement whilst the CEO of my client was undertaking a search to find a new Chief Sales Officer (CSO).  The CEO was initially worried about giving me the authority that he would have given a full time employee.  I was empathetic towards his concerns and so we discussed the downside of responsibility without authority.
Experienced interims are executive level professionals, they are not temps, they are not typically "between real jobs".  They are self sufficient, motivated individuals, who above all else, will be highly skilled and experienced and can be trusted to "just get on with it".  An experienced interim executive will know their personal boundaries and know when to seek authority and involve the client.  An interim executive should free up the client's time, not consume it.
So here are some tips when you are appointing an interim:

  • Establish in advance the level of authority that the interim is going to need.
  • If, for example, you are giving hire and fire authority, make sure the interim understands your policies and procedures, and appropriate legislation.
  • Make sure the interim has the experience and track record to assume this level of authority.
  • Assess the influencing and persuasive skills the interim has, even when you do have authority, persuasion works best.
The freer you make your interim, the more effective they will be.  The more effective they are, the freer you will be to do your job.   Don't tie one of your interim's arms behind them, give them the freedom to operate that only comes when you give them the appropriate level of authority to go with the responsibility.
In the 25 years that I have been undertaking interim assignments the most successful engagements I have experienced for the client and the interim - are when the client empowers the interim with the authority to go with the responsibility of getting the job done.

Posted in Interim Management. Tagged as Executive interim, Fractional Manager, VP of sales for hire.

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