In a recent interview with The Philippe Matthews Show, Association of Interim Executives Chairman, Richard Lindenmuth sheds light on the most important component of any company in transition: its people. Lindenmuth, who has been an Interim CEO in a number of industries ranging from high technology to services shows how to gain people’s respect, trust, and engagement.
Interim executives are becoming a popular alternative to using a consultant or leaving a position vacant while a search for the right person is conducted. An interim executive also brings a fresh, unbiased review of factors driving organizational health and operational results. The interim executive does not waste time or company resources trying to secure a full time job, but is driven by the opportunity to make changes which lead to a sustainable value increase for all the stakeholders of the business. The client and their customers can expect immediate improvement in delivery, quality, and cost while a search is conducted to fill the permanent position.
Nearly every one of us has experienced leadership transitions that could be described as “good,” “bad,” or “ugly.” And the percentages of disastrous transitions are astoundingly high. As Australian sociologist Hugh Mackay says, “Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes are uncertain. People are irrational.” So what else should we expect but to experience our share of bad leadership transitions?
Today companies operate in a complex global economy which is more diverse, connected by the Internet, and not very predictable. Many companies still pursue classic business approaches (inside-the-box thinking) with a focus on short-term results. Failure to focus on business improvement and adapting to the new business environment can cause many issues and eventually lead to delisting from a stock exchange, bankruptcy, or liquidation. How many of 1960’s “Fortune 500” companies still exist today?
Over the years I’ve encountered far too many business owners who profess comfort with their current levels of revenue, service, culture and rightful place in society. When asked about growth plans, they offer some variation of the line “If I had any more business, I would lose the capability to service my existing business.”
I call that business situation, Stasis. Some of the definitions in Webster are:
• a state of static balance or equilibrium : stagnation
• a state or period of stability during which little or no evolutionary change occurs
For me, Stasis is synonymous with Disaster.
Experts like interims are in demand, and not always by clients who are acting with integrity. How do you spot corruption before taking the gig?
And once inside the company, how do you make sure everyone’s playing with integrity, and that partners and vendors are likewise? Poor leaders ignore corruption at their peril, and the toll corruption takes is incalculable. There are the obvious effects: theft of resources, injury to a company’s reputation, and, in a worst case scenario, even federal indictments. Maribeth Vander Weele, president of the Vander Weele Group, a corporate investigations firm that specializes in preventing and investigating complex fraud schemes, says less obvious is the toll that internal corruption takes on a company’s effectiveness. “Time and time again, when our team looks beneath the covers of bad decision-making, we see some form of corruption as the source.” In the webinar, Vander Weele presented red flags that must catch the eye of the interim executive. Vander Weele also spelled out ways to avoid corruption, and actions that must be taken once it is identified.