Interim Executive Leading a Company Through Transition
An interim executive is your best bet on leading a company through a transition
All companies have challenges and issues. The difference between companies is how they assess and handle those challenges. Oftentimes, leadership finds it difficult to take the time to properly assess the situation before trying to correct it. They miss diagnosing the cause going by the assumption that based on all of their years with the company, they instinctively know it.
Business owners or CEOs who have been with the company for years lose that outside perspective and can easily become myopic. An interim executive brought into a company views its problems from a fresh angle and offers solutions drawn from their decades of invaluable experience with multiple firms.
Interim executives take advice from the inside
Interim Executive Don Labowsky, has been helping companies face challenges for over a decade. He advises companies to look inward and take feedback from their employees. “The staff always has a feeling that something is going on despite the fact that management may try to downplay or even sometimes hide the need for these transitions,” he says. “I’ve found the staff to be very receptive to having somebody from the outside come in, and actually they’re very, very willing to talk about what they think needs to be done.”
One of Labowsky’s rules is to always engage people at every level from top to bottom in asking for whatever solution is needed, because everybody’s got their own idea. He says, “They’ve been watching it for years, they know when something is going to go wrong or is needed to be done.”
An interim executive breaks the “we’ve always done it this way” cycle
One of the biggest pitfalls management can fall into is getting stuck into a rut doing certain things certain ways. They oppose any kind of change by saying “we’ve always done it this way.” One way to break the cycle is to ask them, “Well if you were doing things over, how would you do them differently?”
Labowsky takes their answers and asks them to do it the alternative way now and to make it a course correction. He says, “if the only reason someone can give you why someone is doing a particular action is “we’ve always done it that way,” then you immediately know that something needs to be investigated.”
Interim executive treat symptoms over problems
Problems are different than symptoms. All too often, executive leaders are unable to differentiate between the two and instead treat the latter leaving the problem unresolved. To find the problem, they need to find the company’s pain point which can be located by finding the impacts where they’re feeling it.
It can be anywhere. Are they feeling it in the cash flow? Are they feeling it in the sales? Are they feeling it in the overtime? Are they feeling it in high customer returns? There are a number of areas to look into for the cause of the problem.
Interim Executive Labowsky says that a lot of people will come to him and say, “Oh if we fix this issue we’ll be fine,” but that may not fix the underlying problem. He says that interim executives have to be able to go in there and always differentiate between the problems and the symptoms to solve the crux of the matter and help ensure the issue does not persist.
Listen to Don Labowsky’s full interview here
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