Change Management Experiences of an Interim Executive

How interim executives combat the complexities of change management

Interim executives step into companies often at times of crisis. Facing challenges, change management, and solving problems is what they’re good at. They are available to step into companies on short notice, to fill a sudden gap in leadership, and to run a key initiative which provides specialized skills and knowledge for a temporary period of time.

Scott Coolidge, a long-time interim executive, shared his experiences in the Cerius Business Today podcast on change management at an organization in his latest assignment. The CEO was looking to shift the organization in order to remain competitive realizing they needed to get more products and services. In order to deliver that to clients they needed to adjust the organizational structure of the team. Coolidge helped shift the company to the new direction through change management through improved communications within the organization.


Within 18 months of the new CEO stepping in, the CEO realized the company had a significant crisis. While executive management had mitigated the damage for the most part, the CEO found herself in a situation where she knew the competitive environment had changed dramatically.

Coolidge said, “She knew that she had to reposition the organization in such a way as to allow them to be more competitive on a going-forward basis, and that she needed to structure in such a way that allowed her more freedom to get out in the market, work with her customer base, and build potential technology alliances. So she needed to have a structure that was more efficient in order to allow her to do that.”

Impact of change management

Coolidge’s primary role was working with the CEO to determine what needed to be done from a communications and change initiative perspective.  He helped bring in a highly specialized consulting firm to do the organizational study, while he focused on supporting the organization through the changes. Most importantly he helped the CEO figure out what needed to be done in terms of communications to the organization and the executive team that was involved in this change in order to retain them and produce an effective structure on a going-forward basis.

He said, “Specifically I helped her finalize the organizational structure. It had a concerning impact on a number of the existing executives, so I worked with her on the very specific conversations she needed to have with the executives and helped her get through that in an effective way.”

Results of Scott’s change management

When it was all done, the company fully retained their staff and didn’t lose a single employee. The CEO had repositioned the business for success in the future, and Coolidge had helped keep the entire team on the same page through the transition with the right messaging and communication. “That allowed them to understand why she was doing what she was doing, what the impact was going to be on them as employees, and what the future would hold for the organization,” he said.

At the end of the day, the company was more than satisfied with what they had achieved. Coolidge told us, “I’m very happy to say that through all of this, she hasn’t lost a single person in the organization and it looks like we positioned them well for the future.”

Listen to Scott on the Cerius Business Today Podcast here

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