4 Interim Executive Success Tips for Companies in Transition
An interim executive is often called into organizations going through change. Succeeding in a time of uncertainty is something not any executive can pull off. Interim managers have years, even decades, of experience to draw from that helps them lead organizations in transition.
We spoke to one such interim executive, Jim Hensley, about what factors that contribute to his success in interim management.
1. Interim executive tips – Leading in the right direction
A major challenge faced by companies is leading everybody in the same direction. Not just leading them, but also knowing what that direction is. Jim recommends having a clear understanding of the organization’s objectives and ensuring everybody supports them.
Integrating the company’s strategy in operations on every level makes sure that everybody is moving in the same direction. Interim executives or the manager leading the change need to remove activities off the agenda that may be distracting and low in priority to make room for what’s most important.
2. Interim executive tips – Managing scope
“To manage scope, you need to get back to your basic project management body of knowledge,” says Jim. “We’ve got to make sure that we stay within the boundaries, and we’re not doing more than we really should be doing. Stay focused on what the customer wants and what the customer’s willing to pay for. And make sure we’re delivering quality and not comprising quality to cover a wider area.”
In an effort to please the customer, businesses shouldn’t go beyond their limits. They must follow objectives that have been set by decision makers and major stakeholders. Objectives that have been clearly communicated and agreed to by the personnel implementing them.
3. Interim executive tips – Communication in all directions
According to Jim, “I think you lose the bat to the other team when you’re not leveraging each other’s knowledge.” The best way to do that is to increase communication.
Have a weekly meeting and set up a system where information flows in every direction. Knowing what issues are being faced by lower-level operations and using clear metrics help upper management make better informed decisions.
4. Interim executive tips – Pretend you’re the customer
A big tip for getting your product and strategy right is to pretend you’re the customer. Go through the process of buying the product or service that you offer and see how it matches your expectations. You’ll be surprised at what you can discover.
“We’ve done critical conversations and training where you stimulate customer interactions that don’t go well,” says Jim. “So make some recordings of your stimulations, go back and then take a look at missed opportunities. Maybe you’ll hit some blind spots.”