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Ask any entrepreneur or corporate leader to list what they want to achieve with their business and no doubt somewhere in the mix will be a desire to build a sustainable, profitable and growing business. And just as they often share common goals, many businesses – irrespective of sector or area of expertise – often share the same challenges such as:

  • Finding and retaining talent
  • Maintaining and enhancing their competitive edge
  • The need for innovation
  • Getting the right support, advice and new ideas.

This final point is becoming more of an issue. Business leaders increasingly need help and advice from objective professionals who are prepared to challenge the status quo. Their experience and skills can invigorate a team, spurring on fresh thinking, new ideas, and improved ways of working. As Leadership Teams mature, they can become stronger, yet, as one CEO said recently “we have become so collegiate we’ve forgotten how to challenge one another, even if we think an idea is not right”.

This is where the skilled and smart deployment of a professional Interim Executive can have impact. They are a more refreshing, immediate and cost effective alternative to traditional ‘Big 4’ Consultants. They bring relevant experience and fresh eyes to a situation, are objective, with no hidden agenda and career to protect.

Achieving success doesn’t just mean learning from your own mistakes, but also learning from the mistakes of others. Many professional Interim Executives, having reached the pinnacle of their corporate career, are keen to share their experiences and skills. Besides advising on, for example, operating efficiencies, new market development, marketing and fund raising, professional Interims are increasingly used as ‘Organisational Mentors’. If leveraged correctly, an Interim can help organisations develop business through improved planning, performance and productivity. Added advantages may also include the broadening of business networks to identify new opportunities, ideas and innovative solutions for the business.

But how do you access professional Interims and how are they managed to ensure the best possible outcome? Professional Interim Executives can be engaged for a defined period of time at fixed rates to produce defined and pre-agreed outcomes. An Interim provider – such as ourselves – can help define the scope, access the right Interim, negotiate fees and help you manage the process, output and outcomes.

As Walt Disney once said “the easiest way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.” Appointing a professional Interim could be the short term solution your business needs. In today’s competitive markets, the clever deployment and leveraging of a professional Interim resource is increasingly seen as the start of a sustainable long-term solution.

This article was written by Angela Hickmore, Founder and Managing Director of Norman Broadbent Group's Interim Management Division.

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