A client considering taking on the services of an interim manager to, ‘hit the ground running’, may feel apprehensive at the sudden ‘jolt’ this may have on their presumably, already troubled, business. Yet, this over used phrase is useful when describing an experienced interim starting a new assignment, providing it’s not taken too literally. Far from rushing to deliver loads of ‘stuff’, the truth is far more subtle.
Starting a new interim assignment may be likened to a paratrooper landing in a battle-zone. Another phrase implying sudden dramatic impact? Let’s consider. Like a paratrooper the interim drops overnight into an, often volatile, environment with a clear mission to deliver their brief. The first hours and days are critical. During this phase the interim will gain a swift impression of whether the brief is aligned with the reality they observe on the ground. Tracking down all the stakeholders is the first task. These are often not the obvious ones like key contact or Board. Many interims have an internal ‘list’ of stakeholders to find in apparently unrelated areas.
This ability to navigate an organisation and to be immediately credible allows the interim to test and more finely tune the deliverables of the brief with the client within 7-10 days.
So, how does the experienced interim achieve this smooth, seamless integration into an organisation and yet it seem to the client as if they have “always” been there? This is the ability to ‘hit the ground running’…