View from the Bridge

Interim Management – Providing a Bridge During Transition

One of your key executives takes another opportunity, or announces their retirement. Does your organization have a strong succession plan and a number two waiting in the wings? Maybe there’s just too much going on to ask that person to do double duty. Even if you do have someone able to step up, you may decide it’s time for an outside perspective.

Whatever the scenario, more organizations are turning to an interim management solution when there are critical leadership vacancies.

If the vacancy is in the IT space, there may be major implementations in mid-flight. Or new strategic initiatives that need a seasoned and experienced IT leader. Or you may just want some outside help to drive the current agenda forward and revisit your existing plans. Interim leaders can play different roles depending upon what the organization needs most. They can just make sure things are running smoothly. Or they can be change agents who shake things up. Or they may help set a new strategy and direction for the permanent person to execute.

Interim leaders usually have a dual role – operations and consulting. Operations means a lot of meetings, long days and plenty of issues. Consulting means there’s an opportunity to look at things differently and make incremental improvements.

An interim leader can step in, establish all the right relationships, drink from the firehose, and learn quickly what the current state is and where they need to focus. They will learn what’s working and what’s not. They will be able to offer consultative help to the extent that your organization is open to it. They will speak the truth without worrying about their long-term position in the organization. And they are in possibly the best position to help find your next permanent leader to fill the position.

The interim leader does not have the benefit of years of history working in your organization and culture. But a seasoned IT leader knows what the job takes and will quickly get a good feel for the uniqueness of the organization, the culture, the executive team, and the IT team. They will be able to evaluate candidates from a hands-on, grounded perspective and help you find the optimal permanent person.

Being an interim leader takes a different mindset and approach than a permanent position. They need to quickly establish trusting relationships with their team and peers. They need to determine where they can have the greatest impact in a short period of time. And they need to learn and listen. As much as they may want to, they can’t assume they already know everything.

Serving as an interim executive takes a specific set of skills:
• ease in establishing good rapport with people
• being a quick study
• ability to determine what’s most important to focus on
• ability to make an objective assessment of current state and issues
• honesty and directness about what’s working and what’s not

At StarBridge Advisors, we offer interim management services and partner with Rudish Executive Search to find the best permanent IT executives. Rudish Executive Search focuses solely on healthcare talent and was recognized on the 2016 Forbes list of America’s Best Management Consulting Firms. Once the new person is on board, we can assist in other ways. StarBridge Advisors also offers leadership coaching and CIO advisory services.

Our interim management services include the following positions: CIO, CMIO, CISO, and CTO. We offer a unique and comprehensive package of services that the C-suite can rely on.

No question that healthcare and IT are complicated and you need the best leaders possible to be successful. We’re ready to help!

3 comments

  1. I appreciate how it was pointed out that interim operations leadership needs to be a quick study. If I were in a position to get an interim executive, finding someone that could quickly get up to speed on situations would be helpful. Honesty and directness would also be good traits to have in an interim executive.

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