Written by Anna Bernstein on 11 Aug 2015
At some point, every business will be faced with a crisis scenario. It is crucial that this situation is managed correctly or there could be a long term negative impact on the company. While the first instinct may be to manage the situation with trusted team members within the company, it may be more beneficial to engage the services of an interim professional with specialist knowledge and experience of managing a crisis situation. No matter what, it’s important to make the decisions that will provide benefits to the company in both the long and short term.
In any crisis, it’s important to take a step back and map out the steps required in order to resolve the situation. The initial conclusion may be that nobody within the current regime has the right skills to appropriately deal with the crisis. At this point, it may be suggested that an interim candidate is sought. This may be someone known through existing contacts, or perhaps someone who has worked for the company in the past. If these options are not viable then you may consider an interim management provider such as Momenta.
It’s important that the right person is appointed for the task at hand. Interim managers are experienced high level executives. During the interview, they will share their experience and track record within the industry. While you may want to talk to many people, this should not turn into a protracted interview process. Interims should be appointed based on past results, and in a crisis, it is imperative to take decisive action and make a strong appointment.
It is essential to outline the scope of any project before bringing in an interim manager. If the company are less experienced in managing crises, the interim may suggest an appropriate placement and strategy within the organisation. It is important any interim appointment knows the boundaries of their authority and where they are able to make the appropriate changes to manage the situation. They will exist outside of the corporate structure so it is essential they are given parameters in which they can operate in order to implement their strategy.
Any crisis will have a ripple effect within a company. No matter how much you try to contain the issue, it will filter down to all levels of staff. If an interim is appointed, people within the organisation will have questions. These issues should be addressed head on in order to prevent the spread of misinformation. While it may not be pertinent to share details with certain team members, informing them that there is a change at the top and that current crisis issues are being addressed is crucial.
At this point in the assignment, the knowledge and expertise of the interim manager will come to the fore. The interim will take responsibility for managing the project. They may be in charge of teams, but they will remain accountable for every action and will report back to the client with feedback periodically. Their independence allows them to focus completely on the task at hand and remain undistracted by any other issues affecting the company.
The assignment will end after predetermined goals are met and the crisis has been appropriately managed. On departure, they will ensure that any relevant knowledge has been passed on to relevant staff, allowing the organisation to resume normal operations.