In DDI’s recently published Global Leadership Forecast 2014-2015 over 1,000 CEOs globally reported that human capital remains their top business challenge and identifies leaders and leadership as the most critical enabler.

But only 27 percent of leaders claimed readiness to deal with the issue of significant gaps in the quality and capability of leaders. If Leadership Development has stalled or there is not time to kick-start a programme, what else can a CEO do to meet the leadership gaps and needs of a changing workplace?

Increasingly organisations in the UK, the USA and our closest neighbour Australia, are turning to Interim Management service providers such as Sheffield, the Affiliate Office for DDI in New Zealand.

In the UK, Interim Management is a well established service and its maturity is evident in the existence of three professional associations, and the predominant use of Executive Search firms to manage the appointment processes. This choice reflects the relevance of a search firm’s networks, its robust methodology and evaluative capability that a strategic component of a workforce requires.

‘Ready now’ Interim Managers are highly skilled and specialised leaders offering organisations strategic flexibility and focus to help meet tomorrow’s challenges. They are trusted to deliver critical work “on demand” and at unique times in an organisation’s evolution.

In our experience, the decision to appoint an Interim Manager is worthy of serious consideration when:

  • There is no one in the permanent team who is capable or with the capacity of performing the role or deliverables;
  • The outcome(s) sought will add value to the organisation;
  • The necessary context that will both enable and impede success is known.

There is no denying a global shift to use “self-drive” independent workers. In the UK there are over five million self-employed, and one of the boom areas of this interim workforce is Interim Management. UK organisations, including the public and private sectors, are increasingly turning to Interim Managers to help them drive growth, restructure and take advantage of better economic times.

Thirty percent of Australians are now undertaking some form of flexible freelance work. If Australia follows US trends this number is expected to rise to 50% by 2020.

In New Zealand with an ageing population, shrinking talent pool and gap in leadership quality to mitigate risk, organisations will increasingly turn to a cost effective interim resource that can be turned ‘on and off’ in response to exact requirements.

Many of Sheffield’s clients which are innovating and transforming organisational structures, processes, products and services are benefiting from an Interim Manager. Their critical impact is ensuring strategic goals are achieved.

If organisations are not confident in their own abilities to meet the challenges they are facing in an environment marked by uncertainty and constant change, the planned use of Interim Managers is recommendable.

Key Benefits

  • New and independent thinking combined with softer skills to trigger or execute a new growth initiative.
  • Focus and devoted time on the role/task starting with understanding the strategy and then shaping an effective execution and action plan. Ensuring what matters most is prioritised such as quality and in-depth strategic conversations take place upfront; especially important when seeking a deep shift in culture or operational efficiency.
  • Managing stakeholder engagement and competing stakeholder demands. Often requiring deft handling and working in close alignment with the CEO/Board.
  • If an organisation's leaders are pushing to maximise short-term results, quality attention can be given to longer-term objectives often with superior technical skills and knowledge.
  • Provide relief and support to a busy CEO or SLT.

Sheffield was founded in 1961, as New Zealand’s first organisational psychology and executive recruitment business. We are now New Zealand’s first search firm to have a well established Interim Management practice lead by Sharon Ward Duncan.

For a more detailed review of the DDI Global Leadership Forecast 2014-2015 and additional topics covered. To read the Sheffield Interim Management Case Studies, please click here.
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