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The Team at Laudale

Alec Laurie
Alec Laurie
Managing Director

Who tells the CEO? The true value of an interim.

The can of worms.

Picture this: you’re the CEO of a small group with multiple profit centres.

You’d like a closer look at your group technology strategy to help create efficiencies and spot opportunities. So, you bring in an independent consultant – an interim leader – who’s been recommended to you.

The brief entails the interim digging under the bonnet of the various business lines. In doing so the interim discovers a whole load of issues with one business in particular, which has been severely mismanaged.

There have been significant outages, there are major instabilities, and they are only one issue away from losing a major account.

Furthermore, this particular business line is key to the group’s future, and the ‘major account’ in question is a household name. There’s a considerable upside to working with them long term.

But, as of now, you aren’t aware of any of this.

You class the MD of this business line as a good personal friend and a capable individual with skin in the game. You’ve worked together for years and trust this person.

It’s not necessarily that the MD has been deliberately underhand, but there have clearly been some smoke and mirrors and, left unchecked, the group is heading for a world of pain.

In scenarios like the above, who tells the CEO?

The management team that reports into the MD knows there are some short-comings. But, given the relationship between the CEO and the MD, is it worth risking their jobs?

Peers of the MD: how would they know the detail? They have their own profit centre or functional area to look after.

A traditional consulting firm? More like it – these are definitely candidates to tell the CEO, yes. But, do they get the right depth of access? And, will they always see it? Sometimes, hands-on experience working for end clients trumps even the best IP in the world.

The true value of an interim.

The above example is not totally hypothetical. It’s an example of a scenario we’ve seen on quite a few occasions.

This is where the value of an interim leader – the self-employed, totally independent, consultant – is priceless.

The interim…

  • is not looking to further his or her career with this client.
  • is not there to make friends.
  • can call things out (appropriately) as he or she sees them.
  • is totally impartial.
  • likely got into interim consulting for this very reason – to solve real problems free from the political baggage.

Interim leaders and independent consultants can truly be your critical friend, your trusted advisor… or any other cliché.

More than any other resource in our opinion.

What do you think is the value of an interim?