Robert Jordan launched his first company at the age of 26, when he set out to create Online Access, the first published magazine to cover the quickly evolving world of online services, computer bulletin boards and the Internet. It was a tumultuous ride, skyrocketing onto the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies, while hitting what seemed to be every pothole along the way. Running out of cash. Sleepless nights. Seeing Online Access temporarily go bust after just two years. Real-life lessons in the School of Hard Knocks. It was a story of perseverance and reinvention: after hitting rock bottom, Robert bought the rights to Online Access out of bankruptcy, rebuilt the company, and ultimately sold to a big publishing company eight years later.
Hindsight is 20-20, but thanks to the experience of running his first company, Robert saw that as a leader there were unique abilities he felt he excelled at, and other tasks he’d just as well never take that he didn’t enjoy or want to master. Having a partner or someone who would take on true responsibility for shouldering part of the burden of growing and getting through the ups and downs of his business would have spared so much pain and frustration along the way.
It was this realization that was a driving force to becoming a free agent, spending the next 20 years helping owners and founders of high-tech growth companies get over hurdles, raise money, and bring big returns to investors. After meeting hundreds of other project-based leaders, in 2009 Bob teamed up with Olivia, then a fresh grad with an entrepreneurial spirit, to create a worldwide network and meeting place for what was an underground community of interim and on-demand executives.
The concept of interim was foreign to Olivia, and what began as a job turned into a calling to discover the common themes for winning among executives who would choose such a seemingly risky career path. In the telling of war stories she was fascinated to learn that there was no playing it safe. The winners put it all on the line. There were markets disrupted, deals made, disasters avoided, drama between team members put to rest, and founders, owners, and management teams given some breathing room to do what they do best. Even the language and tone used by the best leaders stood out. It was different. These leaders had seen the good, the bad and the ugly, but innately felt they could bring lasting change to an organization.
Robert and Olivia spent the next few years growing an on-demand network of 2,300 leaders around the globe, and in 2015 after interviewing and screening out the mediocre from the rock stars, they morphed into an elite team of highly accomplished executives called the RED Team (Rapid Executive Deployment).
Ultimately, it was not only looking at a leader’s track record of bringing great results to organizations that equated to success. Mindset proved to be just as, if not more important. The most effective leaders did not try to be all things to all people. They knew their strengths. In a ten year span, 5,000 operating executives showed up on our proverbial doorstep, from which only a small percent were deemed to be incredible women and men who had the chops to push re-invention, growth, turnaround, or change.
InterimExecs is our offering to the world of smart companies serious about their health and growth. By playing matchmaker between companies and executives, we have come to see that it is never one size fits all. Okay, that’s obvious. But more pointedly: no one, no matter how talented, is best in all situations. We have a love for assessing an organization's situation and sending in the right leadership to make things happen. This is our passion, and something we aim to get better and better at every day.