When To Hire Interim Executives
At Cerius, we have been working with companies for over a decade to find them the right interim executive or management consultant to fit their exact needs.
I never know from one day to the next when contacted by a client what their situation will be and which combination of resources and expertise will be needed. Though many businesses share a number of underlying principles about how they run and how they are successful, each company is very unique. They differ from where they are at in the lifecycle, how it was founded, what has spurred the growth, the leadership team, the culture, the challenges and what types of expertise is needed at what point.
Though it may not always be intuitive there are a number of ways a company can leverage the expertise of an interim executive or management consultant to get what they need in a flexible and more affordable solution. You now have a resource for executive expertise on-demand that can help your company in a number of ways. To give you some ideas, here are some actual client situations:
Interim Sales Executive
The CEO had been managing sales for the past few years after letting go the prior sales manager. As the CEO, he knows he is not the best person to be managing the sales team of three people but is very hesitant to bring someone else in after a string of bad experiences. At the same time, he is having a number of challenges with sales and knows he needs some additional expertise.
In this situation, it is sometimes difficult to know where to begin. Is the issue with the sales team, the leadership or the company? Is it a matter of just finding the right sales manager or are there some other dynamics involved that may prove too challenging for anyone you bring in.
This is a great time to bring in an interim sales executive. Rather than jumping into all responsibilities of a full time sales manager including gathering leads and making sales calls, the interim sales executive can be part-time and focus more on the critical items. The sales executive will have the experience of working with a variety of sales teams and situations. The goals and deliverables are clear and based on all of their experience the executive can provide a much needed outside perspective. This includes assessing the current team, how is their support throughout the company functioning, do they have confidence in the company’s ability to deliver on what they sell, is it a pricing issue, are they compensated correctly, and the list goes on. The interim sales executive can then eventually work with the CEO to find the right sales manager now that they know exactly what is needed or stay on for one to two days a week and continue managing the sales team.
You’d be surprised how part-time a CFO can be, yet still deliver what is needed. We worked with a small company in the construction industry. There was an on-going frustration from the CEO of not having the information he needed to make decisions. He continually noticed inconsistencies on financial reports. He also had issues in one of the most critical areas – job costing. They either lost jobs because their pricing wasn’t competitive or even worse, they won jobs but the pricing given was less than cost due to the misquoting of the sub-contractors. With his size company, it didn’t make sense to hire a full time CFO yet he still needed the help. His accounting and operations team had grown up with the company and also needed some guidance.
We found a part-time CFO who had not only worked with these types of issues before but the team quickly gained confidence in him and the CEO had an advisor he could confide in. In less than 40 hours he was able to give the existing team enough direction to fix a number of issues, provide accurate reporting, deliver a budget, advise on a multiple financial situations and start their first ever strategic planning process.
When it comes to interim executives and management consultants who have worked in a number of companies and have faced with varying situations, a lot can go a long ways. Where it may be difficult to imagine not having executive leadership sitting in your office five days a week, many situations simply don’t need it and the dollars can’t justify it. Yet, you can still end up with the same or better results.