Before the year 2000, interim leadership was an anomaly in the U.S. In the late 1990s and the early 2000s; however, two things happened to change that. The first was Y2K, which sent companies scrambling to find short term CIOs to save them from certain catastrophe. The second was the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002, requiring companies to have a top financial executive in place at all times. Today, several trends continue to sustain the hiring of interim executives:

Companies' leave policies are being expanded. Deloitte just joined a growing list of companies that offer professionals 16 weeks paid leave for caregiving across a broadly defined, multigenerational family. Who minds the store over such an absence?

Agility is not just the new buzzword. Today's markets call for companies to recognize the immediate need for a particular talent or leadership style, and fill the slot - NOW - or lose out on opportunity. Interims to the rescue!

Executive talent is more readily available today.  More people are opting for a flexible lifestyle that accompanies contingent employment. Some retire early and choose interim work to accommodate extended travel and vacation home living. Dual-income couples often want summers off or other family time options that a long-term career commitment does not allow.

Mature executives are retiring faster than they can be replaced. It is simply a baby boomer phenomenon. To compound the issue, however, companies aren't keeping up with adequate succession planning. According to a 2016 survey, 47 top senior living executives found that only 28% could identify anyone being groomed as their successor. As important as all agree it is, succession planning, too often, is not urgent enough to make it to the A list. Until it is!

Five good reasons (and one precarious one) to hire an interim executive

  1. Help through a specific project

When a top manager exits in the middle of a project, the downside potential can be daunting. Finding an interim with the skills and experience to pick up the threads and see a project through during the search period can be pure gold.

  1. Buying time to do an executive search

The average executive search takes 6-9 months. Few things endanger a business like a hurried selection decision, so a mature set of hands on the helm buys time for a thorough search process.

  1. Time for board to develop or reformulate a strategic plan

It is, of course, no coincidence that when a company changes its strategic direction, management turnover often follows. An interim executive can buy time for the board to fully prepare for the new direction.

  1. Placeholder between legacy CEO and replacement

A legacy leader, particularly a beloved one, has so saturated the climate and culture with his mark that breathing room may be needed before introducing a replacement. This helps dispel harsh comparisons and readies the playing field for the new quarterback.

  1. Calming presence during a time of turmoil or culture change

Inserting a new captain may seem like the best way to right a listing ship, but the whirlpool can suck her under as well, and make her forever associated with tumult. It is often better to insert an interim executive to weather the storm.

  1. Executive on trial

"Trial" hires are made to lower the risk of a bad permanent choice. But hedging bets in this way can send a message of risk-averse, namby-pamby decision-making.

Every business has unique needs for interim executive leadership. Talk with our folks in the LeaderStat Premier division to find your best solution.

Contact Us

LeaderStat specializes in direct care staff, interim leadership, executive recruitment, travel nursing and consulting for healthcare organizations nationwide.