Interim Management should be part of every executive’s tool kit
Ragnar Norbäck, CEO of Nobina AB, has experience of Executive Interim Management from as being a manager for hire and as by hiring interim managers. He has been in this business for over 30 years as an interim CEO, reporting to a number of boards – and by now he now what is working and what is not. Why Executive Interim Management? The most important point is that I get more than I bargain for – during analysis, development, and implementation. As a leader you handle important projects or changes that must be a success. With Interim Management we get access to skills that are hard to reach otherwise. These kind of people are hard to recruit. Their competence level is too high and they prefer to not be tied by employment. I would say that Interim Management should be part of every executive’s tool kit, besides employees, staff, and consultants.
Are there any other advantages with Interim Management? An interim is very goal focused, lacks internal dependencies, and can stay away from internal policies. It can also be a way to think outside the box. In all recruitment, we strive to get the one that can do the best job, instead of hiring someone we like. When recruiting, however, there is a risk that we go by chemistry, rather than employing the best candidate for the job and that can reach the goals. You might think that an interim manager would be more expensive than recruiting, but sometimes it is the other way around. Partly because it can become a mismatch, partly because we are missing the best work forces. One of the interim manager’s absolute best value add-on is that they know “how to do it” by previous experience. Analysis is one thing, but sometimes extensive experience is more valuable. Nobina's definition of leadership is to get others to voluntarily achieve the agreed goals. Just the “knowhow”, without being able to lead, is not enough. Least of all for an Interim Manager.
What kind of relation would you like to have with your provider of Interim Managers? Talking from experience I would say that long term relations are valuable. After the initial mission, the provider understands our business thoroughly and know what kind of support and input we need. When you go into a dialogue with the interim provider, you should initially make an analysis of your own needs, and then to jointly develop a specification of requirements. You should ensure that you meet several candidates and not just go with the first resume you pick up. Finally, an interim assignment should be at least 6 months.