I have begun to read more lately on the concept of Interim Executives. Well it is not really a new concept as much as a new buzz word for consultants. I guess the real difference is that the Interim Executive comes with some clout above and beyond a consultant, and they are stepping into the role with full authority to make things happen.
While I have performed projects for clients that had a fixed price and a completion date, each new project is another engagement and agreement with the client. If I stepped into a role as the training leader to build a training function, it would be easier for everyone as an Interim Executive with a list of tasks and timeline for a monthly engagement rate. This would allow rapid engagement and less stopping and starting which loses time.
Most consultants I’ve spoken with are gun-shy about interim positions as they feel like they are being taken out of the market for other clients. And yet I believe that is just a challenge the consultant needs to focus on and weave into their time each week. Some project work is long-term, so where is the difference? Other consultants are concerned that the longer the engagement, the lower the price needs to be. The reality is that Interim Executives are paid much more if they are worth what they say they can do.
My reading has illustrated that the interim allows the same insider role to get things done, without having a long-term personal stake in the company. The interim is focused on completing the tasks and then usually handing over the reins to the long-term hire. The role allows for the company to remain on track while HR recruits a good fit replacement, and if the interim is retained as a consultant for the new hire to lean on later, then nothing gets lost in the transition.
Finding companies that are open to Interim Executives is getting easier, as contract employees in general are getting used more by corporate America these days. As we look for workers to fill our needs, HR managers would be doing a service to themselves and their companies if they suggested an interim while they are looking for replacements. It takes the pressure off everyone!