HR Director – Manufacturing

HR Director – Manufacturing

Our Client is a food processing and packaging company going through a period of rapid growth. This has necessitated a need to identify and attract an exceptionally talented HR Director to lead all HR activities across the group. We needed to appoint an individual who could bring an increased level of rigour, discipline and commercial focus as the business scaled, without diluting the entrepreneurial approach, which had originally made the business successful.

To ensure Wickland Westcott could appoint the very best candidate for the role, our Research team methodically and swiftly mapped the market and simultaneously networked extensively to identify hidden talent. This resulted in numerous recommendations and ultimately a shortlist of highly suitable and engaged candidates.

Wickland Westcott enabled the client to hire an impressive HR Director. The client was delighted with the outcome and since joining, the candidate has made a hugely positive impact and we continue to work with the Board and HR Director on their people agenda.

Wickland Westcott have adopted the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms which, amongst other things, sets a minimum expectation level for gender diversity for each search assignment.


Global Key Account Manager

Global Key Account Manager, Electronics – High Performance Materials

A FTSE-listed plc, this business is an innovative world leader in high performance material solutions, focused on the strategic markets of automotive, aerospace, energy, electronics and medical. The company has gained a track record of partnering with OEMs in high growth sectors, collaborating in the delivery of strategic projects.

The requirement here was for a high-calibre strategic Key Account Manager with experience gained supplying technically-differentiated material solutions to the electronics sector. The emphasis of the role was on engaging with high profile brand owners/manufacturers of consumer electronics and domestic appliances, co-creating innovative and technical solutions that help them meet their most difficult design challenges.

The search targeted candidates throughout Europe, working in commercial roles – Sales/Business Development/Key Account Management – with suppliers of high-performance material solutions into high volume B2B markets. A track record gained working in partnership with global key accounts was essential, leading to profitable sales growth. In line with the company’s core values, creativity and entrepreneurship were considered key, along with the ability to recognise and respond quickly to emerging market opportunities.

The appointed candidate, based in Germany, had an early technical background and moved into Key Account Management through a series of Product Management and Business Development roles with a global supplier of thermoplastics to multiple markets worldwide. The successful candidate brought a strong commercial track record in relevant markets and stood-out in terms of their ability to form deep strategic relationships and to bring creative solutions to customer problems.

Wickland Westcott have adopted the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms which, amongst other things, sets a minimum expectation level for gender diversity for each search assignment.


Executive Chair (Media Industry Body)

Executive Chair, Media Industry Body

Our client, a prestigious and high profile media governing body, controlled by the UK national newsbrands, tasked us with appointing an Executive Chair. Our brief was to identify a highly respected media icon who could champion Britain’s vibrant news media to customers and advertisers across the nation. It was important that we identified a leader who could drive further industry-wide collaboration, transformation and growth and who would be comfortable operating at the forefront of a profoundly changing landscape at a pivotal time in the media sector.

Our research team meticulously mapped the media sector and adjacent consumer markets to identify potential candidates who were highly credible and proven leaders, with strong strategic credentials, and who could create a compelling and exciting vision that people could get behind. We were then able to refine our target list through rigorous research and candidate assessment to build a strong and diverse shortlist of candidates from multiple sub sectors of media and tech related industries.

Our client, and the multiple stakeholders involved, were unanimous in selecting their ideal candidate and Wickland Westcott managed the complex offer and stakeholder management process, securing the services of an outstanding individual.

Wickland Westcott have adopted the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms which, amongst other things, sets a minimum expectation level for gender diversity for each search assignment.


Commercial MD

Commercial MD – Training Services, Fixed Term Contract

Our client, an organisation that specialises in providing training services to foreign language students, found itself in a position whereby it had the potential for growth and expansion but needed somebody to “take the helm” and lead it forward over a 12-18 month period. As well as having a background in the provision of training services, the ideal candidate needed to have worked at MD level in an SME, with a track record of growing an organisation and setting up new service delivery channels, and a strong sales and marketing background.

Wickland Westcott quickly identified a strong candidate from within our network that had the level of professionalism, experience and capability to quickly add value, gets to grips with the operational and financial challenges, as well as ensure that growth took place in a realistic and sustainable pace. After an initial call with the HR Director, the candidate had a call with the CEO which resulted in an offer being made and accepted. The MD started within a week and has started to make a significant impact at both a strategic and operational level within the first month of the assignment.

Wickland Westcott have adopted the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms which, amongst other things, sets a minimum expectation level for gender diversity for each search assignment.


Procurement Director

Procurement Director

Part of a global engineering Group, this company designs, develops and manufactures complex technical systems, partnering with defence sector prime contractors to deliver major platforms on behalf of the UK MOD. The business was seeking an experienced Procurement Director to transform supply chain performance, raising the capability, profile and reputation of the procurement function in an environment characterised by long lifecycles, high levels of complexity, broad and deep BOMs and low volume requirements

The brief for the appointed candidate involved a full diagnostic to understand and address the immediate delivery issues whilst working with a range of internal stakeholders internally key suppliers to develop and implement a longer-term recovery plan in accordance with continued political and commercial, delivery and contractual pressures.

Wickland Westcott was initially retained to map the market for senior procurement leaders operating in environments presenting similarly complex CDM and project procurement challenges. Having identified and engaged with prospects throughout the aerospace, defence, infrastructure and capital equipment sectors, we delivered a shortlist of candidates with the skills necessary to champion change and transformation across a significant, established procurement organisation. The appointed candidate brought a balance of corporate and PE-backed experience gained with major players in the rail and aerospace sectors balancing a strong technical pedigree with a highly commercial outlook.

Wickland Westcott have adopted the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms which, amongst other things, sets a minimum expectation level for gender diversity for each search assignment.


Merger and Acquisition – the elephant in the room?

Merger and Acquisition – the elephant in the room?

By Allan Howells

Higher Education is experiencing a period of unprecedented and significant change, the likes of which has not been witnessed by many of the current leaders. Whilst some development appears cyclic (surely subject TEF resonates with aspects of the 1990’s subject teaching quality assessment), others are going to deliver something which is very different. We have now entered a new phase which is market-led and commercially focused. Are our universities leaders preparing for the commercial world of merger and acquisition?

Governors and senior leaders shouldn’t just wait until their diary flags that it is time for the next strategic planning cycle. The world is changing too quickly for static strategic planning – the continued existence of some of our higher education providers remains precarious because of the post-18 funding arrangements and the increased competition for students.

One of the consequences of Higher Education and Research Act (HERA) 2017, was the demise of HEFCE: replaced by the Office for Student (OfS) and Research England (part of UK Research and Innovation). Although there has been a great deal of focus on the OfS and its role as a regulator to "protect the interests of the student" and ensure that "choice and competition drive innovation, diversity and improvement support competition", very little has been made of a key function that the former HEFCE provided. Over the years it was incredibly successful in maintaining stability and confidence in the HE sector by deploying policy levers that avoided catastrophic institutional "failure". Whilst there are a few examples where universities merged, reconfigured or renamed, it was HEFCE’s ability to work in partnership with institutions that underpinned the stability of the sector.

The strategic management of the block grants it provided for teaching and research was a major tool – large funding shifts were smoothed out at the institutional level. Alas, the OfS does not carry this responsibility. Its remit is focused on the student, rather than institution. The new safety net isn’t transition funding or policy levers, it is a suite of institutional drafted documents containing powerful words that highlight strategic risks and high-level actions that will be taken to “protect” the student. Somehow this doesn’t inspire me with confidence.

Each university really should be looking at itself and considering what actions it is taking now and will have to take in the future, rather than just produce papers. The retail sector has shown that the high street can change very quickly – Woolworths and House of Fraser are hard examples and even the solid brand of John Lewis has seen its profit margins wiped out in a matter of months. A lack of cash, the inability to make their capital or loan repayments and the absence of a supportive sector agency all contribute conditions that are ripe for acquisition. This could quite easily be in the form of a foreign investor or organisation, rather than a current UK provider. Campuses may survive but new names may appear over the doors.

Governors and leaders need to take action now. Preparations which they put in place may be deployed by their successors, but their responsibility today is to determine future needs and start preparations. For example:

  • Refreshing the Governing body with individuals who have worked in, or have experience of, merger and acquisition;
  • Ensuring that external legal providers have both commercial and educational expertise, and that competitive rates are negotiated into the contract now – it is far easier to negotiate rates at this stage than when operating in a cash constrained environment;
  • Strengthening the commercial skills within the senior team, using external advisors and assessors to help secure new talent and mitigate the potential for unconscious bias to appoint in your own image;
  • Reviewing contracts, commercial arrangements and partnership agreements for legacy clauses and costs to identify key risks and then where possible renegotiating more favourable terms;
  • Ensuring that there is diversity within the leadership team and a confident leadership culture which encourages the leadership team to both think and discuss the unthinkable, and have the humility to look beyond individual egos and do the right thing.

The silent elephant in the room is merger and acquisition. Whilst no leader may want to be the one to take the difficult decision, leadership is ultimately about taking tough decisions. Great leaders do the ground work and preparation to enable them to execute the tough decision at the optimum time, rather than when they are forced to. Just like Brexit, when engaging in negotiations on topics as fundamental as these, it is important to know which cards you hold and then how best to deploy them. Even with a weak ‘hand’ you still have cards to play and gains to be won if you play your cards strategically and tactically.

REF2021 is just around the corner which means that the next significant shift in QR funding will be less than four years away. That is one undergraduate recruitment and fee cycle. With no HEFCE around to bale-out universities and an OfS prescribed with a student-focused remit, it would be pure madness to rely on Augar’s review of post-18 funding to deliver a solution. In this new world success will come down to leadership – having the courage and the bravery to think and prepare for the unthinkable.

Allan Howells heads up the Education Practice at Wickland Westcott. A former Deputy Vice Chancellor, and holding a personal chair in Higher Education Administration, Allan supports a range of higher education providers find and develop leadership talent.

Allan Howells can be contacted on 01625 508100 or allan.howells@wickland-westcott.email.

This article was first published on 5th November 2018 in wonkhe.com, https://wonkhe.com/blogs/merger-and-acquisition-the-elephant-in-the-room/.


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Executive Coaching: Does it work?

Executive Coaching: Does it work? How do you buy it well?

By Stuart O’Reilly

There is no shortage of opinion regarding the usefulness of coaching, but what does the research tell us?

Does coaching work?

Two composite studies give us an overview of the evidence. Jones, Woods and Guillaume (2015) focused exclusively on research looking at work related outcomes. (That is, more general effects such as increased life satisfaction were not covered). They reached three major conclusions.

  • Coaching is effective: All studies showed coaching impacted positively on work related outcomes – with a less than ten percent chance these results were spurious.
  • Internal coaches were more effective than external coaches.
  • Coaches supported by multi-rater feedback generated superior results.

The final finding is interesting because often the data utilised in coaching is self-report in nature, coming from the coachee him/herself. Perhaps these multiple perspectives add value because they help clarify the coach’s understanding of the context, whilst giving the coachee insight into their own strengths and development areas. This point about context may also be the reason why the study found internal coaches to be more effective.

Page and Haan (2014) summarised the results from two meta analyses (including the one described above) and built on this by incorporating data from their own study. They concur that executive coaching is effective, and specify its benefits in goal setting, idea generation, and in obtaining superior coachee ratings (from both direct reports and managers). They are most interested, however, in those active ingredients of coaching which determine success and conclude the following.

  • The relationship between the coach and the coachee is the strongest predictor of effective outcomes. (This factor also predicted whether the sponsor of the coaching believed benefits were delivered).
  • The coach/coachee relationship needs to be strong, but also focused on goals.
  • A further predictor of effectiveness is the extent to which the coachee can motivate themselves.

What can we take from the above?

  • Coaching works: for multi-dimensional organisations in a VUCA world, accurately evaluating any people intervention (training, change programmes, assessment processes, wellbeing etc) is fraught with difficulty. But, based on the evidence available, executive coaching is a sound, worthwhile initiative.
  • Appreciating context is crucial. This includes understanding what the sponsor (ie the person funding the coaching) wants from the program. Perspectives from others in the organisation can also help to constructively shape the outcomes and calibrate the leader’s development needs within the operating climate and direction of travel.
  • The relationship between the coach and the coachee is key. What is meant by ‘strong’ is not defined in the research, but crucial value is likely to come from the coachee’s willingness to open-up, explore, share how they feel, and tell the coach things that might sometimes show them in a poor light. To do this they must feel that the coach truly represents their interests and that their feelings, actions and thoughts are not being judged. In this way, the coach becomes a conduit for the individual to evaluate their own actions.
  • Can the coachee motivate themselves? It could be that coaching motivates certain coachees to develop. But based on Wickland Westcott’s own experience coaching has a much greater likelihood of success if it is welcomed by the coachee rather than foisted upon them.

How do you buy coaching well?

We suggest the following tips.

  1. Explain to your potential coachee(s) what coaching involves, gauge their interest, and only spend money on those willing invest time and effort into their coaching program.
  2. Articulate how a strong coaching relationship should feel, and then offer them a choice of coaches. There are good reasons for ‘chemistry meetings’. Use them. The right coach should offer these obligation-free.
  3. Enlist coaches who will work with the coachee to deliver tangible outcomes. Insist clear goals are in place for all coaching programs.
  4. Ensure that the coach speaks with key stakeholders, particularly the coachee’s line manager, to obtain a truly rounded understanding of context.
  5. Expect clear bounds of confidentiality to be specified and respected.
  6. Monitor the regularity of coaching sessions to understand coachee engagement.
  7. Suggest scheduled review points between coach, coachee and sponsor/line manager to establish if/when the defined outcomes have been delivered.
  8. Think about how you might bring these coaching skills in-house, and indeed start to develop a coaching culture within your organisation. At Wickland Westcott we find that more senior individuals tend to want external coaches, therefore it is probably worth having clear criteria for when to use internal and external coaches.
  9. If using more than one coach extract key themes from their observations and build into the L&D agenda. Also, link any coaching to other development activity.


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The Trend to Recruit Disrupters

The Trend to Recruit Disrupters

By Louise Earle

From Maverick in Top Gun, to James Dean as the Rebel Without a Cause, we have a cultural romance with the rebel. The Donald Trump presidency is perhaps a perfect example of how much we love a rebel in tough, unstable times. The political climate and the business climate is becoming ever more VUCA1, and many leaders left with the challenge of getting their organisation to respond to a disruptive environment are hiring ‘disruptors’.

Disruptor is a trending corporate term for the rebel, and hiring for the right mix of attributes needs care and thought. You need someone who can bring change. But should they be disruptive? Rebelliousness can take different forms. Carl Jung described the archetypal nature of the rebel, with the drive to identify things that are not working and change them. Preferring to do things differently, the rebel can often be driven to break the rules.

But what is the price? Driven by disruption, rebels can also desire to destroy or to shock. There can be a lust for freedom in those with strong rebel leanings, and they will fear powerlessness and a lack of impact above all else. Their desire to leave a mark can become destructive where they fail to get traction for creating the change they believe is needed. It is therefore key to understand the rebel’s sense of purpose before hiring them. Is there a strong sense of social conscience and desire to do good things, or is there a hint of anger and lust for power in a candidate’s rebelliousness? Has their pattern always been one of rebellion or do they know how to work with others as well? How big a part of their identity is rebellion? I have seen those who rebel and challenge to undermine and jostle for position, and contrast this with those who, whilst ambitious, seek to challenge how things are done out of a drive to achieve goals that are bigger than themselves.

In the podcast “revisionist history2” Malcolm Gladwell describes how it might be disagreeableness, rather than disruption, that is the key in driving innovation. He cites Steve Jobs as one example of the disagreeable high achiever. Gladwell cautions; be disagreeable in action not in temperament. I.e. be prepared to make unpopular decisions, but don’t upset people. However, often the two go together. Memoirs and accounts have suggested that Steve Jobs was disagreeable in both action and temperament, and here lies the risk when you recruit for the rebel.

Academic studies exploring the correlation between disagreeableness and innovation have supported the link in some cases, but the evidence is not conclusive. This is probably in part due to methodological issues. Agreeableness is a big 5 personality trait, and measures likeability, friendliness, social conformity, compliance and love3. The dominant theme here is temperament, but as Gladwell points out, for innovation you seek the willingness to reject social conformity whilst not being disagreeable in temperament. I think here of a Head of Innovation, who whilst willing to challenge or ignore bureaucratic processes even where this would not be popular, was effective at building relationships with her peers and selling her ideas in a compelling way.

For this reason, more detailed assessment of candidates than that provided by simply taking a big 5 measure is beneficial for organisations looking for people to bring change. For example, the Hogan Development Survey (HDS) is a psychometric tool that offers a lens on how a candidate might exhibit their disagreeableness, and how they might ‘derail’ when things are not going well for them. It is based on the work of psychoanalyst Karen Horney (1938) who theorised that we deal with this stress in one of three ways – by either moving away, moving towards or moving against others. Or you could reframe these classifications as flight, freeze, or fight behaviour, respectively.

Thorough assessment supported by in-depth psychometrics is critical to understand the risks that a ‘disruptive’ candidate might bring. A rebellious candidate always carries risk, however, this has to be traded off against the risk of having an ineffectual jobholder in a key role, conforming to company culture but lacking real impact. At Wickland Westcott, we always provide our clients with a clear view on a hire. If you are looking for someone who can drive change, the willingness to be nonconformist is critical, but take care not to take the trend for ‘disruptor’ too far.

For a discussion about any aspect of leadership, please contact Louise Earle on 0203 940 6446 or email louise.earle@wickland-westcott.email.


1 VUCA refers to Volatile, Uncertain, Changing and Ambiguous.

2 Gladwell, M. (2018) www.revisionisthistory.com. Season 3, Episode 7.

3 Barrick, M. R & Mount, M. K. (1991). The Big Five Personality Dimensions and Job Performance: A Meta-Analysis. Personnel Psychology, 44.


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Four Steps to Digital Transformation – #4 Leadership

Four Steps to Digital Transformation – #4 Leadership

By Adam Hillier

From talking to CEOs and Board Executives, I have identified there are four essential ingredients needed to drive digital transformation – Structure, Culture, People and in this, the last of four articles, we address the importance of Leadership.

The difference between winning and losing within digital transformation is the ‘leadership’. Digital must become a top agenda item, and driven from the top. The digital leader needs Board exposure and the ability to incubate a digital team and identify what needs changing. It is the digital team’s role to make these changes, to educate people and demonstrate the value of digital to the wider business. This ethos should pervade throughout the organisation so that everyone owns and contributes to delivering the strategy. According to a Managing Director at Google "Ultimately the success of digital transformation depends on how high it is on the agenda".

Strong digital leaders understand the importance of the wider company mission; if they are too technical they tend to be unable/unwilling to step back and look at the bigger picture. Digital is about multiplying the customer touch-points and it is the digital leader’s responsibility to maximise those touch points. At the embryonic stage, digital leaders must join the dots between online and offline: brands, products, technology, and exploit opportunities for greater synergy – the digital leader is the glue. Leaders also need to instil the right behaviours in the organisation around output, decision making, financials, metrics, pace and how communication takes place.

Communicating success gets people behind digital and generates momentum. People with strong digital experience should be very familiar working with data and they need to translate this into clear messages and actions across the business. Explaining the need and benefits of digital, creating an open collegiate environment where experimentation prevails and instilling a fail fast mentality is essential. This needs to be combined with clarity around decision making and the foresight, vision and ability to motivate the team.

Creating a supportive framework, which is visible to the business, will help drive participation, engagement and bring about confidence in digital. Using hard measures to engage individuals, for example, shifting KPIs, remuneration, bonus structures and offering training and development, and hiring top calibre digital talent all help to engender a deeper level of commitment and loyalty to the business. Those who demonstrate the right behaviours should be highlighted and encouraged. People need to be given permission to experiment and staff should be moved around.

A former digital executive and CEO highlights the importance of prioritising what is required, and then allocating resources, which need to be sanctioned at the top. It is likely that new skills will need to be brought into the organisation to instil a faster pace of change and to explain the opportunity cost of not doing it. The digital leader’s relationship with the CEO is crucial. They obviously need very strong interpersonal skills, but their credibility in the digital market is also crucial. People offline might think they are great but digital natives might not think they are great! People with true digital experience know it is about portfolio management and risk management – they are comfortable launching if something is imperfect, good at working in teams and generating a sense of cohesion, they operate with pace, urgency, curiosity, and intense enjoyment of learning, drive change and embrace technology, digital natives by choice – not viewing digital as a profession. None of us are experts and should not pretend to be.

To drive digital performance requires quick implementation of digital plans. At the embryonic stage, the business should monitor how digital operates relative to the traditional business and any signs of similarities should be rectified – you should notice an evident change in behaviour and the business should be aware of this and measure it. Any sign of hierarchical decision making will turn people off – team-focused decision making must be promoted. Equally, questions should be framed at the top and outcomes discussed, but it should not take the form of process and detail as this reduces impact and traction.

In a digital business, your ability to understand your audience and become truly customer-centric in your approach is even more important. This requires you to monitor and understand the core metrics: growth in audience, engagement, revenue and EBIT, and competition in the marketplace.

Conclusion

In conclusion, these four recommendations for creating a great digital business should not be implemented in isolation – structure, culture, people and leadership – each is interdependent on the other. Also, before embarking on such a journey, companies should consider the scale of the transformation in the context of their business and their competitive landscape. The rate of digital disruption is different depending on the scale and type of business and industry; what is important is blending the opportunities offered by digital with the traditional strengths of a large company. Finally, there should be some caution around the level of investment made in digital in context with the revenue line – whilst digital is very important it does not represent the lion’s share of revenues in most businesses – yet!

There are low investment steps which can be taken first, starting with raising digital’s profile if it is not a priority. The burning platform argument is unhelpful and loses credibility very quickly. Companies need to build steam and momentum over time and bring the whole organisation along on the journey. The reality is that everyone needs to be a digital professional in the future!

For a discussion about any aspect of leadership, please contact Adam Hillier on 0203 940 6446 adam.hillier@wickland-westcott.email


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Are Interim Managers Really Different?

Are Interim Managers Really Different?

By Keith Butler

Over the 15 years or so that I have been involved in interim management, I have worked with interims from most sectors and disciplines, ranging from first time interims to seasoned professionals with a wealth of experience. During this time, I have often been asked “what makes a successful interim?”. Alongside having a marketable skillset, the experience to make a difference and the ability to ‘hit the ground running’, I have always felt that the most effective interims tend to be good communicators, resilient and thrive in situations of change and uncertainty. However, this is a very subjective opinion. Therefore, on joining Wickland Westcott, I felt the time was right to carry out a more scientific exercise to determine whether experienced interims share any common attributes.

Wickland Westcott employs a team of experienced occupational psychologists and has a vast array of assessment tools at their disposable. We invited professional interims to complete a personality profiling test called Credo. Credo identifies an individual’s preferences, motivational drivers and likely behaviours in the workplace environment, and outlines the implications in a business context.

Collating the responses to the completed tests, we then compared them to our database of over 3000 assessments completed on permanent senior managers and professionals.
The key findings from the survey are as below, grouped into three general headings:

1) Interims flourish in ambiguity and enjoy a challenge

  • Interim managers tend to be more comfortable operating in flexible and ambiguous environments.
  • As such, they tend to be able to tolerate greater levels of uncertainty when compared to other managers and professionals.
  • They also had a slight tendency to be more enthusiastic and ‘up for a challenge’ than other managers and professionals.
  • This preference also indicates that they are less likely to enjoy environments that are highly process driven or where there is a lack of flexibility or autonomous working.

2) Their style of communication is low key and supportive

  • Interims tend to be more accommodating and measured in their communication style when compared to other managers and professionals.
  • This suggests a more supportive and collegiate leadership style.
  • However, they may be more cautious in what they say and at times may not assert their views as strongly as some. Whilst this might not fit with some people’s perceptions of interim managers, it may well be due to interims wanting to make sure that any views they give can be fully backed up by facts rather than subjective opinions.
  • There is also a tendency to be more sceptical and guarded when trusting people. This would suggest that they may be less inclined to give others the benefit of the doubt in certain situations. Again, this is probably due to them distancing themselves from politics and personalities and offering a more objective, facts-based solution to the challenges they have been brought in to address.

3) They are possibly more introverted than extroverted

  • Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, interims showed lower levels of social confidence and were more modest than other managers and professionals.
  • Less surprisingly, given the nature of interim work, they were less likely to seek out high levels of recognition for work efforts, possibly due to being more confident and focused on completing the task in hand rather than needing reassurance from managers and peers.
  • The results would indicate that the group may, at times, need to proactively raise their profile, for instance when joining a new organization where their track record will be less well known. However, given that we are evaluating responses from interim managers, it is more likely to reflect the fact that they do not feel the need to promote themselves too much. They will typically have high level backing and will focus more on achieving results for the business as per their brief, rather than on self-promotion.

Conclusion

Overall, interim managers and directors showed similar personality traits to their permanently employed counterparts in many areas. However, as is to be expected, they appear more comfortable in situations characterised by change and have developed an approach and communication skills needed to be effective in such circumstances.

What might initially be unexpected is that interims tend to be more introverted than extroverted. However, this probably reflects the fact that they do not necessarily need external validation or the approval of others to function effectively and achieve the results they need to. This backs up my own experiences in that the better interims tend not to shout from the rooftops about what they are doing but rather will quietly and confidently go about making the changes needed improve business performance and achieve their assignment aims.

As such, it might well be worthwhile clients assessing these skills when they meet with potential interims and, possibly more importantly, individuals considering a career in interim management reflecting as to whether they have these attributes before ‘taking the plunge’ and entering the interim world.

If you need any further advice, please contact me at keith.butler@wickland.westcott.email or on 01625 508100.


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