Interim Executive Service
23rd Sep, 2019
Having delivered the training of Interim Executives for the last three years and, in that time, been the Interim Executive of three 3rd sector organisations, it feels like a good time to reflect on the experience.
From the point of view of 3rd sector organisations, bringing in a skilled and experience Interim can fulfil at least five key tasks:
- It can help the board assess the health of the organisation and what kind of permanent leader is required for the future
- It can identify the problems an organisation faces and fix them
- It can provide an effective and immediate response to a crisis
- It can fill a temporary gap in the staffing structure, usually at a senior level
- It can support the recruitment, selection and induction of an appropriate new permanent post-holder (usually the CEO)
It can be both rewarding and challenging to work as an Interim. The rewards include having the great privilege of leading a 3rd sector organisation, even for a temporary period, and bringing about change to make it more effective in delivering for its beneficiaries. Rarely do you get the chance in life to dive deeply into an organisation, assess its strengths and weaknesses and come up with, and deliver, appropriate solutions to its problems and then walk away. As one interim put it to me: “I see my job as helping the organisation improve so it is in the state that I would want to find it if I got the job of Chief Executive”.
The role can also be challenging. Before an Interim starts work, the organisation may be unaware of the difficulties it faces or may be unwilling or unable to surface them. There may be people in the organisation who are unwilling to change. There may be significant internal conflicts. The finances of the organisation may mean that substantial savings need to be identified and implemented. That can be painful too. There are often challenges in terms of governance and the skills and commitment of the Board. You need to be disciplined in how you use your limited time.
These challenges can mean that the Interim role is often for longer than was originally discussed and may involve the Interim undertaking various challenges that were not envisaged at the beginning.
From my own experience and talking to other Interims, however, I have become more and more convinced that recruiting a CO3 Interim can bring huge benefits to an organisation and can be extremely rewarding for Interims themselves who can draw on their many years’ experience to bring about real change and, by doing so, benefit the lives of others. What a privilege that is!
If you would like to know more about how to access the Interim Executive Service that CO3 offers, or when the next training session is running for prospective Interim Executives, just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.