All Interim Management Models Aren't Created Equal

As someone who has lived interim management for the past eight years, it has been intriguing for me to see how other professional services or consulting firms have added “interim” as a service tab on their websites to capitalize on a growing worldwide trend. In reality, when you ask the question (and I have many times) you find out that the truth is they once offered it as a service but don’t really now, or it has become simply an extension of their executive search model. The executive registers with organization X, he/she is uploaded to its database and if an opportunity arises for which they could be a match, full or part-time, they might get an interview.

When I’m asked why some of the big multinational search firms who do interim can’t seem to make it work in Canada, or the US for that matter, to any great degree, my answer inevitably is “because they don’t offer executives the opportunity to collaborate on integrated client based business solutions”. We don’t view this as a trade secret, but rather extremely logical in its benefits for executives and clients alike.

Recently an Osborne Principal, who had been working on site with a client for months, was approaching the critical stage of delivering his go forward recommendations to the CEO and Board. It was a delicate situation and the Principal wanted to discuss his approach and receive input in a confidential and secure environment. It was also a multi-discipline challenge, where a number of different aspects of the business had to be considered. Conferencing in with three other Principals, in senior finance, business development and executive management, the executive was able to formulate an approach in which he had complete confidence. And the client, without even requesting it, was about to receive the benefits of a virtual advisory board. Going forward it may even be that other Principals could be brought on site to assist in the execution of the company’s growth plan. Because after all, that is what interims do, they walk the walk.

There are two other benefits to this approach that I find refreshing for experienced executives; it’s quite frankly more fun and absolutely educational. After years of paying their dues and being in the pressure cooker, senior executives want to enjoy their work; otherwise it’s not worth it. And, when you have a chance to practice your craft alongside like-minded and bright people with a variety of industry experiences behind them, you can’t help but grow in your capacity to serve your clients. I know Osborne could have 10-20 times the number of executives in our stable if we didn’t operate this way, but it’s why our people and our clients stay with us as long as they do – we make it personal and we make it effective.

Mark Olson
Managing Partner & Principal

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