A tendency among interim executives is to go single-shingle: the practice revolves around you alone. That strategy is often misguided. Don’t miss out on the advantages of a partnership.
Interim CEOs in particular must realize that just because you have a good strategy doesn’t mean you can execute it, according to Shankar Ramamurthy, an experienced interim who specializes in the technology industry. He has served as chairman at outside firms as well as his own start-ups.
Ramamurthy said having experienced interims within grasp eliminates the risk that he, as CEO, would have to rush to identify an unknown to join him in a particular engagement. “You want to bring in people you’ve worked with before and who are capable of developing” your strategy, he said.
Some interim executives enter their engagements amid the glare of the spotlight. Like the Mick Jaggers of the world, they are in high demand, and unlikely to receive an anonymous entry onstage or exit offstage.
High profile interim gigs not only offer inspiration, they showcase the benefits of bringing in an interim executive.
Britain’s Ron Sandler has rock star status. Born in Zimbabwe and a citizen of Germany, Sandler represents the ability of interims to seamlessly enter where they’re needed. Sandler was called in by the U.K. government to help save Northern Rock bank during the early days of the 2009-2010 global recession.
An Echo of the Great Depression
Family-owned companies are classic examples of companies that could benefit greatly by utilizing outside expertise. However, bringing in an outsider is often a concept that is difficult for a family-owned company to swallow.
Gimbal’s Fine Candies isn’t one of them. The candy company has called San Francisco home for more than 100 years. Founded in 1898 by Alexander Gimbal, the company is still making candy four generations later.
Lance Gimbal, the company’s current president, ultimately purchased Gimbal’s from the founder. Although he’d spent his career at the company, he primarily was involved in production. A new host of responsibilities came along with ownership, and Gimbal decided to seek expertise from outside.
“Knowing when it’s time to bring in experts, and not letting ego get in the way, has been extremely valuable to me and my company,” Gimbal said.