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How we work

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Holdsway is rated as one of the UK’s leading providers of interim executives because of our highly responsive and personalised service. We enable organisations to accelerate change and manage transition, improvement and growth by introducing interim executives we know well. Holdsway’s candid and insightful approach means organisations will always receive the service they need.

Our Approach

We understand that sometimes you need extra help when dealing with change. We know our network of interims so well that when you need to hire one, you’ll get a focused shortlist rapidly.

We like to get to know our clients and really understand their situation and requirements. We’re focused on making sure you hire the right interim.

We know how critical it is to bring in the right expertise when your business faces changes. We always introduce interim executives with the most relevant experience for your business needs.

We believe that building long-term relationships with clients and interims enables positive change, growth, and business improvement.

We only place interims we’ve met and assessed – so that we can match them closely to you and your business.

OUR VALUES

Independent-minded

We are an independent firm and deliberately so. Our service is focused on introducing the best interim executives available.

Straightforward and candid

We are straightforward and candid with our advice because we have years of experience of helping organisations manage change.

Focused on relationships

Our business is about people and about relationships: long-term and effective ones!

Accessible

We’re at your service, offering a network of interim executives we know and who have delivered before. We look forward to a conversation with you.

Focused

We exclusively and rigorously focus on interim management at senior level: permanent and interim just don’t mix.

International

Working closely with our international partner firms we offer clients a seamless network of interim executives across Europe.

Flexible and agile

We’re not too big to adapt our service each time. We’re known for our response times and personal approach.

Tenacious

Our sole aim is to help organisations manage change and transition. We’ll make sure you get the best available interim.

Consultative

Hard sell is not for us. We will advise what we believe is the right solution for you whilst offering the best commercial arrangement we can.

Transparent

You know exactly what you’re getting when you work with us. We’re straightforward, candid and totally focussed on helping you.

Multidisciplinary

We’re one of UK’s most experienced specialist-generalists, helping organisations manage change and transition, regardless of function or sector.

Hold sway

Effective interim executives are people who ‘hold sway’, providing clear leadership, guidance and a lasting legacy of improvement and change.

The complete guide to interim management

Client FAQs

During times of change, transition, uncertainty or crisis, organisations need additional heavyweight experience for a period of time to help them manage the situation they face, and quickly.  Interims are the ideal solution.  Independent, experienced, proven and available when you need them.

They have the composure and experience to walk into most change situations and know instinctively how to deal with them.

They are results-oriented achievers who combine significant strategic change, transition, programme or crisis management experience – which might not exist in your business when you need it – with bags of people skills.

Independent-minded, they have a ‘hands-on’ approach and deliver, focusing on the assignment in hand.

They leave a sustainable legacy, they know how to manage a timely exit and hand-over, leaving behind enduring results.

The differences between interim management and other non-permanent resourcing options are clear.  It’s all about what you need to be managed.

Contractors are great for carrying out tasks under direction but may lack the authority and experience to bring about significant change or deal with ambiguity. Contractors are often brought in to ‘hold the fort’ in predictable situations during planned periods of absence, to provide extra resource at peak load times or to carry out a defined project – either way they will require direct management time.

Interim executives don’t require day-to-day direction. They will manage the transition or change situation for you, drawing upon their experience of having done it before in other organisations.  They are used to coping with ambiguous or unexpected situations.

In ‘Effective Interim Leadership and Management’ (Woods et al., 2019), the concept of an interim assignment cycle was introduced.  This provides a clear structure for hirers of interims to follow to manage assignments effectively.  Significantly, the process from entry to exit is discrete, clearly defined and not open-ended. The cycle identifies four clear stages: preparation, entry, delivery and exit.

Read the full paper in the research section.

Change Management
This covers a wide range of business change situations, whether planned or not. Where change is happening there’s likely to be an interim executive available to help. Interims are used to handling unexpected change situations, whether within an organisation or an external market challenge. Interims are also frequently hired to help manage planned change programmes of all kinds.

Turnaround, Restructure and Crisis Management
Interim executives are often brought in to implement change when an organisation is facing crisis, restructure and turnaround. As objective outsiders with no career promotion expectations, interims focus entirely on what’s right for the organisation, not them. This type of interim is a robust individual who would get bored with the day-to-day!

Leadership Transition
When leaders and senior management move on, whether suddenly or with a planned exit, an interim executive will help manage the transition. It will buy your organisation time and help you to scope out what type of permanent executive you need next.

Business Transition
When organisations outgrow their current team, are rapidly going through the growth gears, or are changing strategic tack, interim executives are an ideal resource to help manage this business transition. They can step into a leadership role, implement a strategic change, keep a business moving forward or smooth the transition to new management.

Where the is no internal resource is available with the right level of experience.

When the business requires the objectivity of someone ‘outside’ its internal network.

When the experience needed is one-off, not already within the business and not required after the assignment is completed.

It also provides a cost-effective alternative to management consultants, particularly if more hands-on, operational and implementation experience is needed.

Yes. Woods et al. (2019) in their ground-breaking research ‘Effective Interim Leadership and Management’ suggest some core ‘observable workplace behaviours’ which are “likely to lead to more effective performance by interim executives.”

Understanding of these competencies will enable clients to hire the best-suited interims to their change situation. Holdsway has led industry-pioneering research on this with its academic partners.

No.  Availability on its own is not a criteria for defining an interim executive.

Being available is certainly important if an interim wants to secure an assignment and an organisation needs help.  But interims must also be proactive, decisive, results-oriented achievers who combine strategic experience with a ‘hands-on’, operational approach.  They are able to adapt rapidly to different cultures, sectors and organisations.  People-oriented, able to motivate, assess and handle a new team quickly, interims are resilient, energetic and work well independently.  In fact, this type of person is rarely available, because they are in such demand.

The most successful interim executives are specialist-generalists, able to manage most types of transition and change. Not every available executive is suited to this.

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