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How do you deliver change while doing the day job?

18th March 2022

One might argue that we no longer have day jobs. At least, our working days now look very different. We see each other less often in an office environment, but still have to keep businesses running normally. That’s on a normal day. What happens when the competitor landscape changes, systems and processes won’t cope, or an opportunity to grow through acquisition arises? Often, executives are expected to have the bandwidth to do the day job, keep operations up and running, and lead a change programme. If anything unexpected then needs to be dealt with, this could seriously spoil someone’s day.

Gain Crucial Time During Change

One solution is clear, and I’ve been championing it for fifteen years: hire an interim executive. Business leaders should hire interims when they are trying to combine the day job with making change happen. Experienced interims bring a shot of adrenaline when companies need to accelerate change. They can be hired at short notice when a company hits unexpected bumps in the road or even something more existentially challenging. The core benefit they offer is time. Bringing in an experienced head – someone who has managed change before and will get on with delivering it – gives business leaders crucial time to think and act rationally under pressure.

The Qualities of Interim Executives, the Expert Game Changers

Interim executives bring clear thinking and best practice from a wide range of different companies and industries. So what are the qualities of these expert game changers?

  • Years of change leadership under their belts: Interims have an immediate impact because they have plenty of ‘scars’ from learning, doing and leading. There’s no wasted time ‘getting up to speed’.
  • Unmoved by status: Interims have usually scaled the career ladder and now want to help others deliver change successfully.
  • They’re not in it for a promotion or job title: they are just there to deliver great results.
  • Performance focused: All interim assignments should start with a clear brief and an expected time frame and budget. There are regular updates on progress each month, with a clear goal to achieve. At completion, all interims present a proper handover, so it is clear what has been delivered. There’s no long-term dependency or open-ended contract.
  • Proactive and people-oriented: Interims are used to walking into a boardroom or onto a shopfloor and engaging proactively, establishing rapid credibility with all kinds of people. They won’t stand on ceremony or stick to formality if that gets in the way of building important rapport. Crucially, they’ll instantly reassure the leadership team that the change situation is under control – and that they will deliver.


Whether a company faces planned or unexpected change or has to deal with a leadership transition, when an executive leaves – interim executives are a serious solution. Much has been said and written about what an interim is, and what they do. I like to keep the message simple so that companies know where to go when they need extra experience fast. Interim executives accelerate change because they are the great expert game changers of the business world.

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