What’s the Difference – Interim Executive, Management Consultant, Part-time or Temporary Executive

When working with an executive on a contract basis, how the assignment is structured depends on your situation and your need.  Companies go through a number of growth stages and will encounter the need for all of the below at one point or another. Once you have determined what type of arrangement works best for you, you can then focus on what expertise will best fit your need.

Part-time/Temporary – A typical temporary assignment lasts between 4-6 months and could be 5 days per week whereas a part time executive role could last for up to a year or more, typically 2-3 days per week. For example:

  • CEO oversees sales but is getting too busy; resulting in thus sales are stagnating or decreasing sales. Bring in a part time sales executive for 2-3 days per week for 4-6 months, put the needed structure into place then transition to a longer term Sales Manager or someone internally that has been coached during this time to do so. (link to case study)
  • Marketing failing to deliver on the brand or new leads. A part time marketing executive can bring in a new perspective and new ideas to create innovative marketing programs that will increase leads and elevate your brand again not only in the US but also in the global marketplace. (link to case study)
  • Healthcare and employee legal challenges starting to take a toll on your company. A part time HR executive can quickly put policies and processes in place that will mitigate these issues so that you can get back to running your company without so much turmoil. (link to case study)

Interim Executive – Executive is brought in to fill a gap between the departure of one key executive and the start date of the new executive. This maintains business momentum while the company searches for a replacement, which is often 3-9 months. For example:

  • Your company’s rapid growth is starting to collapse your infrastructure. While you concentrate on continuing the growth, bring an interim President or operations consultant in to quickly rebuild your processes and organization so that it can withstand the rapid growth you are experiencing.
  • Lacking the financial expertise to grow your company without taking unnecessary risks. Using part time CFO services will get you the right expertise to avoid and mitigate those risks giving you the ability to make the right decisions for your company thus leveraging the knowledge of a been there, done that executive who.
  • Looking to sell your company but can’t get the price you want. An interim President or Interim COO who has sold several companies can help you identify and strengthen the weak areas thus creating more value in your company.

Consulting/Project – Executive is brought in for a specific task, often assessment. It is typically completed within a shorter time frame. A great option to fill an expertise gap, executive a strategic plan project or test the waters with someone new.

  • Looking to purchase a company and need another perspective regarding the right company to buy. There’s no better perspective than a contract executive with no emotions involved as well as industry specific experience with buying and selling companies.
  • Do you have the feeling that your company could be run more efficiently and your profits should be higher? An operations consultant can come in and quickly assess the areas of your company that could be run more efficiently.  Many times they find low hanging fruit that brings immediate savings to the bottom line and then will work on the longer term goals of increasing your profits
  • Looking to upgrade your technology but don’t know what technology to choose or how to get it installed on time and on budget. An experienced technology consultant who can help you select the right technology as well as get it done on time and on budget.  They also are change management agents to make sure everyone adapts and is successfully using the new technology.

Board Director/Advisor – The executive’s expertise is of great value to your company and is available as needed to provide their insights. This can be done ad-hoc or regular meetings.

  • Need to get an introduction to a person or company that can potentially increase your revenues significantly but you don’t have the right connections. Bringing on a board member who has those connections and can get you in the door right away to meet these people can be a game changer for your company.
  • You have a great accounting department but your company is lacking the financial strategy to mitigate its risks for future initiatives (acquisitions, opening a new plant, global expansion, etc.). A board member who has the financial expertise in the areas you are considering can guide you through those pitfalls and help you make those hard strategic decisions.
  • Company stagnating the past few years and not meeting its yearly goals. Every company goes through this stage at one time or another.  A board member from a similar, but different industry can bring a fresh perspective on a company’s strategy to get it growing again.

Kristen McAlister

Kristen McAlister joined Pamela Wasley to purchase Cerius. She has spent most of her career helping companies establish and improve their infrastructure for high growth. She has grown companies and created optimal infrastructure from both an operational and client management perspective. Kristen has spent the last ten years teaching companies how to leverage executives for transitional situations such as high growth and turnarounds. She is a national speaker and is published on topics ranging from operations and productivity to talent management and the contingent workforce. Kristen is a mother, Ironman, and Marine wife. Click here to learn about Kristen McAlister and send her a question.

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