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.
Ramamurthy generally chooses from a “good number” of people with whom he’s already worked. He also comes across people who he’s interacted with in some fashion and knows directly what they have done. He wants to “know what they do and how they do it” through direct knowledge, he said.
Many interim executives have expressed that they will use an association to identify and connect with other members who have credentials in varied area. Members may also realize the advantages of a partnership by connecting with interims who specialize in their own functional arenas to share information specific to them.
Interim executive Al Zielinski, a former U.S. Marine, is understandably a big proponent of having the support of high quality colleagues behind him.
“A man’s got to know his limitations,” Zielinski said, quoting the famous line from Dirty Harry. Zielinski said that although technology is one of his specialties, he needs good backup when it comes to server and cloud technology. He said he has CTOs to call in when they’re needed, and that it makes a difference when you can bring in a partner you trust as opposed to an unknown quantity.
Being in a partnership or active network can increase the odds of executing an interim role well. It’s like the soldier with a Swiss Army knife who’s able to whip out any tool needed to get the job done.
The spirit of competition and accomplishment is alive and well in the world of interim executives: the trick is making sure a competitive will doesn’t force an executive into a cocoon, but rather into situations where shared knowledge leads to shared success. The advantages of a partnership should be seriously considered.