The need for interim executive leadership can occur for a variety of reasons:
- during a period of organizational transition brought on by human resource issues at the top,
- an operating crisis that existing management is unable to handle, or
- a sudden departure of a staff leader.
Whether the Board intervenes to initiate the removal, or the Executive Director exits for another opportunity, the change is disruptive and causes upheaval for the organization and its stakeholders.
Often the first response of the Board is how can we get through this transition quickly and cost effectively with minimum disruption. But this transition is a valuable opportunity for the Board to pause, reflect on where they’ve been, where the organization should go and what skills should the next executive director have to get the organization there. Additional, unnecessary problems can arise from this transition through the following:
1. The Board decides to designate a current staff member as the interim executive director.
a. The other staff resent the elevation of their colleague
b. The designated Interim has a difficult time resuming their subordinate status when a new ED is hired.
2. The Board assumes the transition will be quick and they resolve to act as an interim.
a. The search (which typically lasts 6-9 months) takes longer than the Board expected and serious problems arise in the organization’s services
b. The Board is occupied with maintaining the status quo and misses the opportunity to think creatively about what the organization’s future should be.
Interim leadership enables the organization to take the time to conduct a careful, comprehensive search for new permanent leadership. An interim executive provides valuable objective insights into operations, personnel and institutional performance for the Board of Directors and can work with the search committee to determine important skills and experience required for the next leader.
At Interim Executive Solutions (IES), we call this the “interim management opportunity”. An organization can hire a seasoned professional manager to serve as a catalyst; bridging the management gap while focusing on key issues that need to be addressed to help cultivate the work environment and improve the chances for success of the new, permanent leader.
IES offers not-for-profit Boards, executive search firms, and funders the opportunity to bring in seasoned leadership to the enterprise early in the transition process to help prepare the ground for the new permanent leadership to land successfully.
What Does IES Provide?
IES offers a roster of seasoned business leaders from a variety of different industry sectors and nonprofit organizations. All IES executives bring to their assignment a wealth of successful leadership experience, a history of senior level responsibility and accountability, management team-building skills, membership in the “IES support network” and access to an extensive “knowledge base” of for- and not-for-profit management best practices across standard functions and industries. IES executives are trained to exhibit a consistent management style and code of conduct to guide interactions with Board and Staff as expert interim leaders. IES also has available a team of technical resources ranging from facilitating Board retreats to developing an informational dashboard. IES does not perform search functions. IES places an Interim ED in the organization and stays in regular communication with both the organization’s Board and with the designated IED. Because time is critical, selected interim leaders are able to move into their assignments on extremely short notice.
Phone: 617-299-9865 or 617-501-5471