I was recently speaking with my friends over at Michael Page Interim about the fine art of Interim Management and how the most important aspect of most assignments is affecting change. There are other types of interim assignments but I’ll focus on this need in particular. In these cases an interim assignment must be more than just a part-time gig! The power of an Interim Manager is their ability to enter an organization with an unbiased perspective, work from a holistic perspective, and guarantee almost immediate results in the specific areas they’ve been charged to affect.
When all is said and done the success or failure of an assignment is when measurable results are delivered!!
So how does an Interim Manager do this? Let’s demystify this process by saying that what we’re actually hired to do is to break “habits”. In simple terms a habit is defined as “an acquired pattern of behavior that often occurs automatically“.
Have you ever heard the term if it ain’t broken don’t fix it? This is the opposite scenario where I’ve found that 9 out of 10 times the reason something is broken (or not working properly) in an organization is because people are working based on flawed habits. And that’s what needs fixing! Flawed habits are typically the consequence of lacking development, growth and or simple adjustments to more modern best practices that suit your organizations culture. This last sentence is the greatest justification for having an outside & neutral set of eyes take a look at your organization and it’s habits. You need outside help, but it will also have to be aligned with your company culture!
Ever see a junkie on a street corner or an alcoholic that just can’t seem to break their addiction (habit)? I’ve worked with such people and there is sufficient evidence to point out that drug and or alcohol addiction is actually a chemical dependence and not a conscious choice. It provokes “an acquired pattern of behavior that often occurs automatically“. At the extremity of being lost in an addiction one doesn’t make a “conscious” choice to continue to kill oneself. Whilst this is a harsh and very graphical way of portraying a habit, I do so in order for us not to take lightly the danger of ingrained poor or ineffective habits which affect our work place & culture. When your company, business unit or process isn’t working properly and you’ve tried every other means, it’s time to bring in an experienced and objective set of eyes to point out the reality of the situation that needs to be fixed whilst almost immediately affecting change.
Mark Twain once said “a habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time“. This is a very practical example of how an effective Interim Manager is able to spot the ineffective habits you’re missing right before your very eyes, and implement the necessary steps to affect a change in your team’s ingrained habits.