The Value of Interim Leadership
Loss of the leader does not have to be a CRISIS!
The burgeoning field of interim leader has emerged to fill the gap created by the loss of the key leader in organizations. The loss of a key leader can be devastating, especially if the leader is the founder or has been an inspirational leader for a significant length of time. A planned succession is of course preferable but not always the way things go; utilizing an Intentional Interim Leader may be an effective solution even within a planned succession.
The most vulnerable organizations are small to mid-size businesses and non-profits. These organizations may not have the depth to have a solid succession plan, or personnel in place (enough people or the right skills) to successfully manage the void left when the primary leader departs. For many years there have been CFO’s for hire, Marketing specialists for hire, and other roles, which could temporarily fill gaps but the President or CEO has not often been a role that is seen as one where this could be done. Think again!
An Interim leader may be just what the doctor ordered. Imagine a proven professional stepping in to fill the seat, calm the team, and stabilize the organization. The Interim Leader allows the organization time to process and strategically plan how to move forward. This can be a critical time for an organization as the departure of a key figure can have a significant impact on several areas.
Culture, values, and aspirations matter.
How long does a company use an Interim Leader? What a great question! Of course the answer is… it depends; but, for most situations it should fall into a three to eighteen month window. An Interim Leader will likely spend the first couple months learning the team and culture, the organization and its values, and it greatest aspirations and goals. Ideally, the interim leader will perform a solid evaluation and begin to help the organization rework its strategic plans, strategic direction, and redefine itself.
Some key steps that an intentionally Interim Leader should take:
Actively listen to the employees
Determine what challenges the organization may be facing
Identify the strengths of the organization
Seek to understand the culture
Assess the team
Assess the organization
Understand who the key influencers are internally
Invest into the organization to address current challenges
Reset the key plans to prepare for a seamless transition
Define the characteristics of the next leader
Assist in finding the new leader
Transition to the new leader and then depart
The reasons key leaders leave a company vary. Sometimes it is a positive and expected departure and other times it may unexpected, awkward, and result in a variety of reactions. The value in bringing in an interim leader knowledgeable in transition management and leadership cannot be overstated. There is too much at risk when a void is created. The Interim Leader is one who is intentional in the quest to calm the seas, rally the troops, and champion the organization through the transition. When done well, the Interim Leader leaves the organization in better shape.
Exceptional people thrive with exceptional leadership!
Outside-Force is a firm that is passionate about developing people! We believe people are the absolute greatest asset, and to achieve an exceptional organization you need exceptional people. Exceptional people thrive under the right leadership. We are prepared to serve as Interim Leader for your organization. If you find yourself in a crossroads situation or a “crisis” … do NOT just jump to hire the next leader. Make sure you are fully aware of the needs of the organization; allow some time for healing and/or preparation for the next leader. Contact us to assess your need.