There are many benefits of using an executive interim director. Here, I’ll look at why you might consider hiring one, how they can help, and where they can take your business.
Your business isn’t performing the way it once did, and your year-on-year numbers are declining or stagnating. You’ve adopted the same tried and tested strategies that always served you well in the past. But for some reason (sometimes seemingly intangible; sometimes obvious – for example, Brexit) the slide or stagnation doesn’t look like changing. If anything, it’s showing worrying signs of getting worse.
What do you do?
The kneejerk response might be to spend spend spend! – on an expensive new ad campaign; on more staff; on bringing new faces into the boardroom. All of which are big gambles, and could make a difficult financial situation worse if they don’t have the desired impact.
Alternatively, the opposite reaction could be to cut cut cut! – reduce marketing; reduce overheads; reduce training and similar. Again this is a really big gamble as you may end up cutting the very things that are still bringing in business.
A smarter and lower-risk alternative could be to hire an interim strategic and operational marketing director.
The benefits of using an interim director
More than a consultant who will come into your business and advise, an interim marketing director will parachute into the middle of your team and hit the ground running, leading from the front with full accountability to kick-start change in the short to medium term. That’s one of the core benefits of using an executive interim director.
Crucially, however, an interim marketing director will also focus on leaving behind tools, resources, processes and strategic plans which can help that change become self-sustaining long after they’ve moved on.
The following are what I see as the biggest benefits of using an interim director.
When you work in one company for many years (or even decades), you become incredibly good at solving the kinds of problems you experience within that business and its industry. This can, of course, be a strength. But when you’re faced with a problem your team are struggling to solve, this more institutionalised way of thinking can also be a weakness.
An interim director will have spent time in diverse settings, encountering and solving problems your own team may not have experience with. The first reason to hire an interim operational marketing director then, is their ability to think in ways that more tenured members of staff wouldn’t, and come up with unique solutions based on that unique perspective.
An objective outlook
Office politics are part and parcel of the corporate world. Sometimes they can be beneficial, such as competition between team members for bonuses or promotions pushing everyone to improve their performance. Often though, conflicting agendas and aspirations can prove a problem and affect productivity.
Another of the benefits of using an interim director is that while they are a part of your team, they’re in a unique position to cut through the politics. An interim director’s only agenda is to get everyone pulling in the same direction and to leave your team in a better place than when they entered the company. Their experience makes them the perfect person to put aside egos, identify problems, choose the right solutions, and reach a consensus that’s best for your business.
Building on that last point is the fact that an interim director’s own business lives or dies on their reputation and track record. With that in mind, you can be sure that despite them not being a salaried and tenured member of your team, they’ll operate with the same commitment and passion for your business as you most valued and dedicated employees.
In fact, one of the big benefits of using an executive interim director is that their very vested interest in speedily establishing timelines, defining outcomes, and creating efficient workflows will benefit your whole operation.
In-house marketing directors typically have long notice periods of anything from three to six months, which gives you time to find a replacement. But if yours suddenly leaves in a hurry – or you just aren’t able to find the right replacement in the time you have – it can leave you with a significant skills gap in your marketing team.
One of the most obvious reasons to hire an interim operational marketing director is simply that they can quickly fill that skills gap for you in a matter of weeks. They can then stay on until your new permanent team member beds in, ensuring business continues with no loss of efficiency or momentum.
Additionally, interim marketing directors are typically able to be flexible on their working patterns. So, if you need one to come in on a part-time basis, or be available on demand at short notice, they’re often able to adapt to whatever your situation requires. Yet another reason to hire an interim operational marketing director!
So… what can an interim marketing director do for you?
In a nutshell… rather a lot!
Having the right person with the right experience and focus to get the job done, available when you need them, can solve so many short-term problems. Especially when they deliver game-changing strategies at low risk to your bottom line, while simultaneously setting your business up for success in the longer term.
How do I know this? I have 30 years of international marketing, strategy and business development expertise, at senior level and across a range of business sectors. So if you need an interim marketing director, I’m ideally placed to help.
Have project or situation you’d like to discuss? Please get in touch today to talk things through.