Osborne Interim Management offers specialized senior consultants across multi industry disciplines with deep functional and technical expertise. We understand that gaining access to any resource is an overwhelming and time consuming process which can delay business critical needs. Our team of interim managers and business advisors can add quick and effective access to industry best practices, new technologies, process improvement and functional expertise.
Our interim managers all have senior level executive experience; they knew how to plan, resource and implement changes for improved performance in the business environment before electing the interim management model to continue their careers. The interim manager brings value to the assignment by applying a fresh and objective perspective to the assignment and focuses on results rather than his/her future in the organization’s hierarchy. An interim manager, often “sensibly over qualified”, can provide the leadership necessary to initiate and solidify change in any organization.
Our approach is tailored to the requirements of our clients; an organization may need an executive consultant for a specific project that requires a specialized skill set, but doesn’t call for a full-time position. Or perhaps there is a senior staffing gap left by someone on a leave of absence, or seasonal fluctuations require someone to step in temporarily. Or maybe there is a new technology that you want to embrace, but don’t have the staff or know-how to handle it on your own. No matter the situation, Osborne Interim Management has the skills and can assist in your time of need.
Some examples of where we solve client challenges:
Members of executive teams may be temporarily absent from time to time due to needed parental, medical or educational leave. Vital senior management roles may be left vacant for a period of time because of resignations, reorganization or retirement. The assumption that departmental staff will somehow fill in, or another executive will take on the absentee’s responsibilities in addition to his/her own role, seldom works out. An experienced interim manager working on contract can do much more than simply keep the chair warm. In addition to providing the administrative continuity needed during the incumbent’s absence or replacement process, the interim manager provides the team leadership required to maintain momentum on existing initiatives, initiate new improvement projects and provide accountability for business performance. Upon his/her return the incumbent can hit the ground running instead of spending six months to a year catching up on aspects of the job that were allowed to languish during the absence.
1. Your COO was hired away by a competitor. You anticipate a lengthy search of six months to a year to find the right fit in a replacement. An experienced Interim Operations Manager working on contract can maintain productivity and performance that would decline if this vital executive role were left vacant for months. Ground lost to your competitor will be minimized and the new hire will launch into a fully functional, high-performance environment.
2. Your young and ambitious Director of Human Resources has just introduced some new and needed policies on performance reviews, maintaining a respectful workplace and improving the organization’s health and safety record, but now requires a period of parental leave. An interim manager, qualified and experienced as an HR professional, will ensure these policies are implemented – in principle and in practice – and the HR Director can return to a functional situation and resume progress without missing a beat.
3. The founder of a smaller, successful enterprise wants to retire from active, day-to-day management of the business. Success has been built on personal commitment, hard work over long hours and management intuition. The founder needs a General Manager, but has no idea how to go about the search, or even what the job entails from a professional management perspective. Here an experienced interim executive can help to define the general management function, outline its requirements and identify the supporting business systems that need to be put in place to make a first time General Manager hire a success for the company.
At a certain stage of growth most companies feel the need for the support of management specialists on their executive teams. At the same time, they are reluctant to bring on more senior executives because of the additional overhead that would need to be supported. Finance, human resources, information management are some of the more common executive roles involved when enterprises find themselves in that classic, “too big to be small, but too small to be big” situation. These circumstances were made for interim management and vice-versa. Businesses can access top quality expertise that they cannot yet afford on a full-time basis by engaging the interim executive they need now and moving on to a permanent hire only when the scale of the business requires a full-time person. This allows growing enterprises to build the business systems they need as they scale up and prepares them to use a permanent executive to full advantage when the time comes to make that move.
1. Your accounts payable, accounts receivable and payroll people function well from a bookkeeping perspective, but as the business grows, you find yourself needing support on the financial aspects of decision making. Also, you could really use a shorter accounting cycle, providing complete, accurate information on a timelier schedule. A consistent customer credit policy, an improved budget forecasting format, financial input on capital expenditure decisions and more adroit management of the organization’s line of credit would not hurt either. These skills are beyond the capability of your bookkeeping staff. In short, you need a CFO. But, in your organization, taking on another six figure salary is not a small concern. An interim executive, with the business experience and an appropriate accounting designation, can help here in two ways. He/she can establish the financial reporting system to support ongoing management as an initial assignment. And thereafter, as Interim CFO, be available for a few days a month to ensure that the system is maintained and suggest ongoing improvements to further adapt the system to the company’s needs. Thoroughly familiar with the organization’s finances, the interim can also be consulted on an as-required basis at a known rate for input on executive decisions and corporate financial advice.
2. Like many mid-sized businesses your organization has management, administrative and production employees but does not have a human resources professional as part of the management team. Often the value of competent HR presence on the senior management team is not appreciated until problems occur. Human resources management is an incredibly complex field as it involves staff recruitment, retention and succession planning, lay off and recall administration, labour relations, dispute resolution, employee discipline, policy creation, updating and enforcement, regulatory compliance, benefits administration, training and professional development. What could go wrong? Maintaining a comprehensive HR management function is a challenge, but at the same time, companies with fewer than, say, 50 employees have difficulty justifying a full-time executive position in HR. A junior or mid-level HR manager will not have the breadth or depth of experience to handle everything that could be thrown his/her way. Outsourcing is expensive and has its limits, especially when the need for consistency is recognized. However, more experienced, better qualified HR managers are available as interim contractors. These executive level practitioners can be used on a less than full-time basis to establish procedures that your administrative staff can follow, deal with problem situations as they arise, develop and update corporate policy and, importantly, be at the table whenever the senior management team needs input from an HR perspective on major decisions. Consistent attention to the overall HR management function at a senior level can pay off for your organization by recognizing and fixing problems before they become expensive disasters and by avoiding liability.
3. In smaller organizations (and some larger ones) the IT department is usually dominated by a small handful of technicians who are only concerned with keeping things working. Over time this leads to a patchwork of incompatible systems and inefficient workarounds. The focus is all on the technology, not on the information. However, it is information that fuels all of your business processes. If, in the daily course of business, your managers do not have the information they need, when they need it, discrepancies will occur, mistakes will be made, and opportunities will be missed. An experienced information technology executive working on a less than full-time basis can provide the oversight, functionality and innovation that your IT department needs. Someone who thinks like a CIO can put the needs of your business processes first and find ways to make the flow of information more accurate, more complete and more timely. The Interim CIO will look for opportunities to integrate systems and automate processes. He/she can make the business case for innovation and improvement in your IT function. If your management team feels that it makes decisions affecting IT more or less in the dark, a fractional CIO can bring the professional insight needed to the boardroom table.
Most organizations make progress one project at a time. Trouble is, in a busy organization, the CEO will keep running out of executives able to take on one more project leadership assignment, as well as keep up with the routine responsibilities of his/her job. However, the project would not have been proposed unless it could be supported by a business case, i.e. net benefits to the business. Having worked with the client’s team to create solutions, the interim project manager will not abandon the process, but be available to supervise the action plan that applies these solutions, to measure and account for the results. The cost of bringing in an interim to plan, lead and implement the results of a project now will pay off by bringing the potential net benefits on line sooner.
1. You have an active mid-size manufacturing business. You are doing okay, but everyone in the organization knows there are some major quality assurance issues to be dealt with and that margins would be more favourable if the company could reduce the associated costs. While all can make worthwhile contributions to the needed solutions, no one on your management team really has the capability to pull all the elements of a comprehensive solution together. All of the partial solutions suggested have upfront costs and initiatives are generally blocked by the accountant who cannot see where the return would come from to justify expenditures. Starting with building and explaining the business case for improved quality assurance, an experienced interim manager can acknowledge and utilize everyone’s input, establish quantified performance measures and integrate solutions across departments as required (an outsider, working as temporary part of the team, often has more success in this area than an internal team leader).
2. A major piece of equipment, vital to your operation, is on its last legs and needs to be replaced. Downtime and high maintenance costs associated with this beast are killing your operation. You can’t replace it with a new version of the same machine – they don’t make them anymore. Modern alternatives are expensive. You are getting panic signals from your plant manager and paralyzing caution from your accountant. Your need now is for an interim project manager who has previous experience with these kinds of capex decisions. First, because the interim is an experienced executive accustomed to functioning on an strategic level, he/she will examine this as an opportunity to usefully increase or diversify your production capacity and look at various alternatives in that light. Next, the project leader will build a business case for each identified alternative. Business case analysis will address quantified benefits, costs, payback period and ROI. This is crucial in making the right decision for the future of your organization, not to mention putting your accountant and banker more at ease with the situation. It is also something solid you can take to the company owners/board of directors for approval. When the strategic level decision has been reached, the interim can also address the nuts and bolts process of creating specifications, identifying qualified suppliers, requesting quotations, making the final purchase decision, planning for delivery and installation and handing the disruption in production while the old equipment goes out and the new equipment comes in. The interim project manager will also set up a tracking method for ensuring that the positive business case is met after the new equipment goes into operation. The support and leadership provided by an experienced interim achieves better results and with much less stress on your permanent staff.
3. As successful enterprises grow it is not uncommon for the development of business systems to lag behind growth in sales and production. As General Manager, you have come to realize that systems and procedures that were adequate when the business was smaller cannot cope with higher volumes of work and demands for higher speed and greater accuracy. While the accounting, payroll, inventory, manufacturing and other systems that have been installed over the years may be excellent by themselves, the bits and pieces need to fit together seamlessly and work efficiently to support the growing business. Here is where your organization can use, for a short time, the talents of an experienced business analyst – one with CIO-level capacity to see opportunity and initiate changes. This interim is capable of capturing all of your essential business processes and determining what information is required to move each of them. Once that has been documented he/she can turn to looking for ways to enhance information flow in the business: making existing systems more effective, integrating information exchange, seeking out opportunities for business process automation, suggesting new investment in IT where cost savings are available and payoff is short term.
Whenever strategic options need to be identified, analyzed and evaluated, decision support provided by a capable, impartial interim executive can be immensely valuable to business owners and corporate directors. Any management group entering this process is in danger of making decisions and living with outcomes that were heavily influenced by personal interests, professional bias, or simply the loudest voice. Where the future of an enterprise is at stake, a calm, informed perspective, backed up by thorough consultation and polished presentation skills, a business advisor can help to ensure that sound principles and rational processes carry the day.
1. Your organization has realized modest success, but now needs to move to a higher plateau. The options are to expand production capability and go after a greater share of the market for the existing product line, or grow by diversifying and putting a new product on the market. Your small, over worked management team is enthusiastic but lacks the time and strategic planning skills needed to move forward. An interim executive, undertaking a temporary role as advisor, suggests that the best way to address the growth issue is to treat the expansion/diversification options as new businesses, each with its own, fully developed business plan. The difference being that, unlike a completely new business, the interim has access to the knowledge and shared acumen of the existing management team members, which he/she will use to full advantage. With the interim executive advisor dedicated to researching, consulting with management staff, reviewing the work stage by stage, two complete and fully comparable business plans can be prepared and presented, providing the organization and the supporting management team with a solid basis for a big decision.
2. You have a strategic plan, and it’s a good one. Your management team invested a lot of time and effort on it and you hired a professional facilitator. A year later there is a now somewhat dusty copy of the strategic plan in every manager’s office, but the organization shows no consistent pattern of moving toward its strategic objectives. You realize that everyone on the management team has a full-time job, just as they did prior to the strategic planning exercise, and that none of their jobs includes an explicit responsibility for implementing the strategic plan. An interim manager, perhaps in a temporary role as COO and working in a second-in-command capacity alongside you, can initiate and integrate the kinds of mutually supporting cross-departmental action plans needed to move the organization in its chosen strategic direction. The interim COO can advise you on how to create an annual operational planning and performance tracking framework to maintain momentum in strategy implementation and provide the entire management team a venue for communication, an appreciation for measured progress and recognition for its accomplishments.
3. Having established a successful business, you have reached a point where it is time to consider a transition so that you can enjoy a well-earned retirement and management of the business can be passed to the next generation of the family, or to a new owner. You have prudently allowed yourself about three years to pull together and execute this business succession plan, but you know you will need help. An interim executive can help you not only to pull together all the legal, tax planning, asset evaluation and corporate restructuring details, but also keep you focused on the task of creating a truly manageable enterprise. Objectively, you must realize that the next owner will not have your appreciation for every detail of the business you built nor your intuitive grasp of how the organization works. The interim advisor can remind you that things you may take for granted will be a complete mystery to someone who is new to the business. Good business systems, contemporary best practices and clear policies and procedures in every aspect of the business will make the enterprise more appealing to a new owner and help you to realize the full value of your legacy. The interim executive advisor you engage will also be someone with whom you can discuss some of the intangibles involved. As with many business founders, the enterprise has been your life and it may be difficult for you to give up control. With your advisor’s help you can explore transition options for yourself – you may stay on for a period of time in a mentorship role with the new owner, or you may retain a role as shareholder/director in the company, for instance. Managing your own stress and expectations is an important part of the advisory role.
Many business management professions have developed and agreed upon “best practices” that assure a superior level of performance if implemented. However, many enterprises, especially those with smaller senior management teams, never put these well-known and effective procedures into place. Senior managers may not have sufficient time, or the right expertise, to establish best practices in every area of their responsibility. A contracted interim manager, who does have the required expertise, can focus on the task to quickly develop and implement a best practices program that middle managers and supervisors can carry on. As soon as best practices are implemented, the benefits begin to flow to the company.
1. Smaller organizations frequently do not have a senior human resources manager as part of the executive team. While personnel functions like hiring and payroll carry on, HR policies and procedures can become outdated and inefficient causing compliance issues, liabilities and employee issues to pile up. From time to time, some leadership coming from a seasoned HR professional can put the business back on track in a short period. Using one of the accepted, standardized frameworks for HR functional assessment, the interim HR leader can efficiently identify those functions that need upgrading and introduce the policies and procedures that will bring the organization up to current standards quickly.
2. Sometimes the disconnect between operational performance and financial results can threaten the profitability of an otherwise successful organization. Since no one else ever has the time, an experienced senior operations manager, on an interim assignment, can be engaged to assist in the establishment of an operational planning process that incorporates meaningful participation from the whole operations team and integrates with the company budgeting process. Focusing on forecast and actual P/L statements, operations can learn to relate its KPI to financial results and make improvements, quarter by quarter. In the process, the walls between sales, production and accounting begin to come down by concentrating on tools that enhance teamwork and focus on collective results.
3. Almost everyone is genuinely concerned with Work Place Health and Safety. Even with safety training programs, personal protective equipment and regular safety inspections in place, organizations find the costs of lost time and regulatory compliance on the rise. The answer to these challenges lies in more efficient administration of WPH&S. Few organizations have this kind of expertise on staff, nor should they, since it is unlikely to justify another full-time management position. An interim manager with the appropriate qualifications can work with the staff to add programs on regulatory compliance, liability identification and risk assessment, compensation claim tracking and return to work procedures to their arsenal of working tools to reduce risk and cost.
Often, a specific project arises that requires a specialized skill set that your employees do not possess, and even if they did, would not be able to fulfill because their current requirements already demand all of their time and attention. These projects are short-term in nature and therefore do not necessitate hiring a full-time or part-time employee. Also, often, the projects are time sensitive and need to be completed sooner rather than later. Contracting a specialized consultant, who is an expert in their chosen field, can bring your project to completion in a timely manner and with the attention and diligence required.
1. Your not-for-profit Association is at a stand-still with regards to growing its membership base. Over the years, the demographic makeup of the current membership, and potential new members, has evolved and become more modern. You need to better understand this new demographic in terms of what concerns are of priority importance; how, when, and how often they want/need to be communicated with; what is their perceived value of the Association; what would they recommend for the future viability and effectiveness of the organization, etc. A consultant specializing in survey design and analysis would get you the answers you need. A research consultant knows the right questions to ask, knows how to interpret the data and can provide valuable recommendations on how to achieve your goals.
2. Your management team, while qualified and effective, is in a rut; they seem indifferent and restless. You value them enough and don’t want to lose their talent and seniority to the competition, but you do not have the time, or skill set, to draw out their concerns effectively and create a personalized path to help each one feel rejuvenated and reaffirmed. An Executive Coach, as a consultant, uses a wide variety of behavioral techniques and methods to help the employee achieve a mutually identified set of goals to improve his/her professional performance and personal satisfaction, which will ultimately result in a culture with engaged employees and increased productivity.
3. Your company’s website has become out of date, is not compatible with the various mobile devices on the market, and is not registering with search engines for key words and phrases. You have a full-time marketing person, but she does not have the capability, nor the time, to create a new website and implement a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Hiring a consultant with website design, programming, content writing and SEO expertise on a project basis will allow you to get your company’s new website functioning quickly and effectively. The consultant can then train the full-time employee to execute updates as needed, or can be contracted on an as-needed basis to perform these updates and ensure the website is evolving and the SEO strategy continues to progress.
“I want to convey that Osborne would be a valuable resource for entities looking to engage the types of services they offer. I would not hesitate to refer someone to Osborne in the future.”
Heather Gore-Hickman – Trustee & Chair of Audit Committee, Kisoniyaminaw First Nations Heritage Trust Fund
“We engaged Osborne Interim Management to redesign our outdated website, wanting to modernize the design and make it easier to read and understand. Working with little direction and with a short time frame, Osborne was able to produce a dynamic, fresh and user-friendly website on time and under budget.”
David Dial – VP Corporate Services, Next Hydrogen
“We used Osborne to develop improvements to a number of education courses offered by our association. They delivered great work, great ideas for improvement and did it on time and on budget.”
Gary Belgrave – CEO, Radio Marketing Bureau of Canada
“The Calgary International Film Festival contracted Osborne to develop, with senior management support, a capacity expansion plan that was strategic, specific and attainable. Osborne delivered on all counts and on schedule; receiving unanimous Board approval to move forward in the plan’s execution. I would not hesitate in recommending the Osborne team.”
Stephen Schroeder – Executive Director, Calgary International Film Festival
“We needed interim leadership during a time of transition and Osborne’s Principal exceeded our expectations. He was able to garner both staff and funder support and ensure continued excellence in program delivery. He also found a very dynamic new executive director for us. I would highly recommend Osborne’s services to other organizations.”
Krystyna Williamson – Board Chair, Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth
“The Osborne Principals assisted us in identifying areas of improvement, then worked with us to make their recommended changes. Their actions have had a positive impact on the way we operate our business.”
Andy McKnight – Partner, Maskell Plenzik & Partners Eng.
“After an exhaustive and inclusive recruiting process led by Osborne we were pleased to find a local Calgarian in our own backyard to take on the position of President and CEO. We were impressed by the quality and experience of applicants that applied, which made our decision even more challenging. I would personally like to thank (Osborne Principal) Mark Olson for his first class leadership over the last eight months.”
“Osborne clearly communicated a process they would undertake in creating our marketing plan and then proceeded to meet all our expectations, on time and on budget.”
Kate Stenson – Community Food Program Supervisor, Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association
“Following the sudden departure of our CEO, Osborne responded immediately with a very qualified interim senior executive on site within days. He was able to hit the ground running, reassuring staff and implementing business processes that greatly assisted our operation. He reached out to stakeholders within the greater Habitat community and communicated recommendations to the Board. Osborne also assigned another executive with experience in recruitment to assist us in attracting and triaging talent for the full time CEO position. The end result was the hiring of a dynamic new leader transitioned in with Osborne’s support. I would highly recommend Osborne Interim Management to any organization finding itself in a similar situation.”
James Wright – Board Chair, Habitat for Humanity-Red Deer
“Osborne Interim was able to provide us with a Principal who helped guide us through a technology start-up. His extensive business experience complemented the technical expertise we bring to the table and he continues to provide support and assistance to allow us to smoothly bring our product to market.”
David Lloyd – COO, FREDsense Technologies