Interim help can make the difference between failure and success. We've seen this over and over again. We've seen so many new leaders flailing around because there is so much more to do than they and their existing team can ever hope to get done. They don't know whether to let things flounder while they recruit the new team or fix what they can before starting to recruit a new team.
It's a false tradeoff. You have to do both. You have to fix what you can while recruiting a new team.
Interim Managers or Temps Break the Tradeoff
Examples from organizations we've worked with over the last
18 months or so
- Interim operations manager to fill an operations hole
- Interim marketing manager to get brand strategies set and implemented
- Interim talent management lead to get organizational process in place
- Interim PMO/Project Management Office lead to make things happen
- Interim talent acquisition team to fill all the other gaps
- Interim financial planning and analysis manager to put the overall plan in place
In all of these cases, the interim person relieved a significant amount of stress from the new leader.
Steps in Bringing an Interim Manager
- Identify a discrete gap that can be carved out of your area of remit and handled by someone else
- Recruit someone overqualified for the job (So they can jump in and get going on day one. No time for a nice, easy onboarding here. No need to build relationships over time since they are not going to be there over time.)
- Bring them in and turn them loose while you concentrate on other things. (You brought in an interim manager so you could do this. If they need to be coached and managed themselves, they're not overqualified enough. But that's okay. They're on an interim, temp, contract or consulting basis anyway.)
When I was in Japan with Coca-Cola, my boss asked me to lead the efforts to get ready for a meeting with the CEO to go over our marketing budget. I immediately said I needed to hire some outside consultants to help.
"Capacity. All my team are fully engaged with other work. Don't want to let that slip. Want to do this well."
The work we paid the consultants $500,000 for over the next eight weeks was instrumentsl in cutting $150 Million dollars out of our marketing budget while growing the business 15% to produce $300 Million per year in incremental profits. Of course we couldn't afford $500,000. What a missed opportunity it would have been not to invest it.
The bad news is that having read this article, you can never again use lack of people resources as an excuse.