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The Role of Executive Interim Management In Times of Business Disruption and Transformation

17 Nov

The Role of Executive Interim Management In Times of Business Disruption and Transformation

We now all know the infamous expression, “Never waste a good crisis.” The year 2020 will certainly go down in history as the year the COVID-19 pandemic irrevocable changed the world in which we live and work. The immediate shock of the crisis may be over, but the aftermath is irreversible and change the only and absolute constant.

A crisis can bring great opportunity or come at significant risk for businesses. Indeed, many factors influence the outcome of what “the other side” will look like, but the bottom line is that an experienced Change Manager can work miracles for companies in distress and managing resultant change. So, when exactly do companies call on Change Managers in the first place? And at what point is it wise to turn to an Interim Change Manager yourself?

Turning Crisis into Opportunity

A good Change Manager knows how to mitigate the impact of a crises of this magnitude, or even turn it into an opportunity for the company. If a crisis gets handled swiftly and intelligently, it could spell the start of meaningful and even productive change.

This means that a Change Manager needs a specific skillset to lead the way. Leadership skills are obviously crucial, but so are communication skills. Other essential traits such as efficiency, thoroughness, resilience, and perseverance – coupled with a strategic and creative approach to events as they unfold – only come through years of experience.

External Expertise is Crucial

When a company is facing exceptional challenges, as is the case in the current pandemic and its aftermath, external expertise is often crucial to finding a way out of the storm. Experience tells us that Interim Managers are often hired as both Crisis Managers and/or Change Managers, when a company is involved in situations such as:

  • The closure of a specific branch or site due to drastic changes in the business environment,
  • Buy-outs with workforce downsizing,
  • Scandals and PR crises,
  • Severe accidents or calamities,
  • Drastic changes in geopolitical situations,
  • Forced revision of the supply chain to generate efficiencies, optimize costs and improve cashflow

Interim Management is a business model that thrives in the face of uncertainty. The focus is to provide companies with the resources they need to rise to their challenges. Interim managers are chosen based on their skills to work under pressure and turn around the impossible, and therefor interim managers are well prepared to help you survive the profound changes to your business landscape and to prepare you for the future.

There is No Quick-Fix – Ramifications Often Linger

The impact of a crisis on a company cannot be underestimated, and its ramifications often linger. General concerns among employees, a damaged reputation, uncertainty over when and if business will resume or return to normal, are all issues that can have a profound impact on the company and even jeopardize the very survival of the business long after the initial crisis has been overcome.

If these issues are not addressed head on, insecurity can take over, leading to productivity and revenue losses, lost market share and more. A period of rebuilding after a crisis is therefore of vital importance to the company’s interests. Once productivity levels are stabilized, a new dawn can finally break. And that would be right time for you to bring in an external change manager to analyse the situation and put together new business, marketing and financial strategies.

Managing Unexpected Leadership Changes

The pandemic has placed a tremendous strain on leadership as companies had to double down on their efforts to protect their business and their employees, and in many instances fighting for survival. This took a toll on leaders who, like their employees, had to juggle business and family, with the additional burdens placed on them by the business. Because of illness, fatigue, business uncertainties and perceived risks associated to changing careers during this period, many companies have found themselves with gaps in their key leadership structure at a time when those gaps needed filling the most. Interim Managers play a significant role in business continuity by temporary filling key roles within the leadership structure, and given their extensive professional track records, they can usually step into such caretaker roles without any disruption to the business.

Interim Management is a familiar concept to many businesses, especially in Western Europe where this is a booming sector with clearly defined rules and structures. But in other parts of the world, especially across Central and Eastern Europe, Interim Management is experiencing a bit of a renaissance as companies increasingly turn to Interim Managers to provide them with the external resources they need to help them manage which is undoubtedly, one of the most difficult periods in recent memory.

SpenglerFox Executive Interim Management Solutions

If your company is facing uncertainty in this worrying time and if you need expertise supplying high value and impact on a temporary basis to manage and/or strategically position your business, SpenglerFox and our pool of qualified Executive Interim Managers are here for you. To find out more, please visit our website for more information.

Jacques de Jager

Head of PR & Corporate Communications


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