Leading organizational change projects is a critical resourcing challenge for many organizations – an interim leader can be the ideal solution.
In XLR8, John Kotter paints a picture of the world of work; “The world is now changing at a rate at which the basic systems, structures, and cultures built over the past century cannot keep up with the demands being placed on them”. He discusses a constant organizational challenge related to this: “You find yourself going back again and again to the same small number of trusted people to lead key initiatives. That puts obvious limits on what can be done and at what speed”. One way in which Kotter suggests this challenge can be alleviated is to, “selectively hire people who see and appreciate the true turbulence you face”. This is an opportunity for an interim leader.
To find a leader who is both incredibly knowledgeable, gifted in leading change, disciplined in project management, and available, is no mean feat! For many organizations, this list of change leaders is small. To address the constant demands for organizational agility and change, John Kotter discusses the need for a dual operating system – the traditional hierarchy, supplemented by the addition of a network (diagonal slice of representatives within the organization), to provide for more agile, change-oriented processes. This makes a lot of sense, but the challenge remains as to the “A” team required to lead network teams, as well as being critical leaders in the hierarchy.
An interim leader is often an experienced senior leader who has been at the helm of many change projects. He or she is motivated to work in fast-pace environments, pick up the pace quickly, organize resources, and focus on delivery – without being distracted by internal career ambitions or politics. The advantages of an interim leader over a large consultancy, are that he or she often encapsulates many skills in one body, doesn’t bring overheads or proprietary methodologies, and is a treasure-trove of experience and success dedicated to the client. Not only can an interim leader deliver critical change projects, but he or she often brings insight to organizations on other areas of transformation.
My final quote from John Kotter’s book XLR8 is; “We cannot discount the daily demands of running a company, which traditional hierarchies and managerial processes can still do very well. What they do not do well is identify the most important hazards or opportunities early enough, formulate innovative strategic initiatives nimbly enough, and (especially) execute those initiatives fast enough.” An interim leader provides a significant resource to address this challenge. Bringing in an interim leader who has had success in delivery transformational projects elsewhere, provides an opportunity for a truly inspirational leader to stimulate an organization from the inside-out.
Focal Leadership is now offering a 1-day workshop for senior business and HR leaders, based on the upcoming publication Rise of the Gig Leaders, which defines the role of an interim leader and facilitates the creation of a business case for their engagement. If you would like to know more, please use the contact form on the Focal Leadership website www.focalleadership.com