Interim Executives Allow for Easy Entries and Easy Exits for Organizations Part 2 – Preservation of Both the Company and Executives Reputation
The company was rapidly growing and the new interim CFO, originally brought in for his M&A background, was now building up a finance and accounting department to support the growth. But the reality of the situation no longer matched his background and his skill sets. His abilities to onboard, train, and motivate employees was lacking—and then some. His inability to lead a growing finance and accounting department quickly led to the end of his engagement. The CFO’s skill sets were no longer a good fit for what the company needed.
And with that, the engagement reached a logical end. When an interim executive’s skills no longer match the needs of the company, there need not be an agonizing, extended period of “managing somebody out,” endless demoralizing performance improvement plans, HR involvement, or documentation. Interim executives are on-demand talent, used when and where you need them. They are not meant as a longterm solution. When business and its needs change, interim management gives companies the flexibility to change the expertise as well.
Just Not Ready for Change
The father of a small company had recently died and left the business to his son, Stephen. His son had been working with his father for about five years but had always been in sales, which he loved. Now, he suddenly was thrown into running the company. He had no idea what to do.
When Cerius was initially called in, Stephen was looking to strengthen the company and its financials to sell to a competitor who had expressed interest in buying it.
When the interim COO, Paul, came in, the first thing he did was to assess the situation to find out where he could be the most helpful in shoring up the weaknesses of the company and making it profitable again. Paul discussed many recommendations with Stephen but was having a difficult time getting support to move forward.
When Paul did get the OK on a few initiatives, he hit a brick wall when Stephen stepped in and told everyone to stop what they were doing and to go back to the old way. Realizing there was no further value or impact Paul could have on the situation, he chose to end the assignment.
Stephen did continue on, attempting to implement a few of his own ideas, but resisted input from his internal team as he had with Paul. Within eight months of Paul leaving the assignment, Stephen’s company went bankrupt.
It can be difficult to see the forest through the trees when thrown into an unfamiliar situation, trying to lead through grief. Unfortunately, in this case, the young new leader’s inability to listen to internal and external advice resulted in bankruptcy rather than a sale of the company. The interim executive, however, was able to preserve his own career and reputation by managing his own exit timing.