What type of interim executive are you?
There has been a significant increase of highly skilled, experienced, executive leaders entering the interim and contract market. Organisations go through different stages of growth, change and disruption and the structure of the engagement is dependent on a number of variable factors. As such our clients engage with our Gig Executives for a number of different reasons.
Some interim executives are hired to do a very specific project, some are there to bolster the organisation with the required strategic skills, and others are simply backfilling a vacancy whilst they go to market to secure the best candidate.
When considering if the agile life is the better life, you should consider the different ways you could structure your new career:
Interim Executive – Used to fill a short term business gap quickly during a recruitment process, planned leave, or the sudden departure of a leader. This maintains momentum of a team while the organisation searches for a replacement, or takes the opportunity to strategically align the position with the future needs of the business. Not only does this continue ‘business as usual’, but in most cases the interim executive completes an independent diagnostic of the area, ensuring the new appointment is set up for success from day one.
These appointments are typically full-time (with some flexibility built in) and are often three to nine months in length.
Executive Contractor/Project Manager – An experienced executive is brought in for a specific task or project. Historically organisations have tapped into management consultants as a way of bolstering their organisation with the required specialist or strategic skills. However, when the organisation does not have the capability or the resources within the business to implement this advice, it serves as a major risk.
Increasingly organisations are engaging with executive contractors to not only complete a strategic or specialist piece of work, but to also be on the ground to implement while also building the capability of the team to deliver in an ongoing capacity.
These appointments can be as short as six weeks or as long as two years, depending on the need of the business. The commitment required from the executive contractor can vary also from full-time to part-time. As executive contractors are measured on outcomes, flexibility often exists in the way you engage with the organisation.
Executive Advisor – Progressive organisations are tapping in to senior executive advice from experts to support growth, change and improvement in their organisations. Executive Advisors will often have a portfolio career comprising alternative commitments, such as Board appointments, mentoring or charity commitments. Where appropriate, members of the organisational Board can play this role to support the Executive Team in achieving the strategic direction, however an Executive Advisor is a great alternative to provide insights or connections into aligned skills or sectors.
These appointments are typically part-time, with an option for the organisation and the executive to scale up throughout the year as required. While the contact hours are typically less than that of an interim manager or an executive contractor, the engagement can be ongoing for 12 months or more.
There are pros (such as better work/life balance, diversifying your experience, or following your passion) as well as cons (such as greater financial instability, reduced benefits, uncertain future) when considering an interim management career. However, remember it is very different from permanent employment so take your time in deciding how you will manage your career.