Robert James Raitt & Associates

Executive Search and Interim Leadership Talent

  
  
Corporate and SME boards appear increasingly challenged in tackling 'top down' organisation transformation and change with a digital agenda.
This perception stems from frustrations voiced by CEOs who are challenged by incumbent CIOs and Marketing Directors remaining 'Siloed' and lacking the commercial, financial and business skills to work as collegiate executives developing effective digital tools for the business. The need for a concise executable business strategy with an all-encompassing digital agenda to address user (employee and customer) experience is now clearly out weighing the importance of any one functional role in leading digital strategy.

This lack of digitally savvy business leadership in the board room is leading to an increase in 'churn', especially in the offices of the CIO and CMO, often requiring immediate support and execution from interim talent while the search is run for the substantive role. Hence our growing interim practice is experiencing increased demand for digitally capable and quality driven interims with true Executive Board credentials.

In support, we are hearing from leading interim executives that the overriding factors CEOs consider when engaging a board level interim are:
  • Engagement with organisation
  • Drive actions
  • Deliver results
However, it isn't always an interim solution that organisations first look for, many interims are brought in to take on a failed or failing situation, quite often after:
  1. An organisation has identified a need for change
  2. Decided to plan and resource the transformation/change with internal talent
  3. In failing to gain insight and benefit from a wider commercial view and 'bogged' down by internal processes and relationship, the 'big 4' consultancies are invited in
  4. Mismanagement of requirements, ability to deliver natively and escalating costs then often lead to the appointment of a senior Interim to 'come in and sort out the mess'.
Leading interim Patrick Knight comments; 
"Business growth and sustainability is being determined by speed, with the real company killer being organisational slowness. The impact of digital products and services has moved technology to the forefront of corporate strategy. Generally, forward-thinking organisations look to engage me early by asking variations on:
  • How do we create a more flexible technology operating model to continuously deliver an outstanding customer experience?
  • How do we exploit existing assets and what investments are needed to reduce operating costs and work more effectively with omni-channel business models?
  • How do we prioritise, advance and accelerate this responsibly with achievable cost?
More often though, I’ll be invited in with nothing more than the instruction ‘multiple approaches have not worked, just fix it’. The client (CEO) is just wanting action, results and progress to report to the stakeholders, city or respective investors and a real time impact on the bottom line costs, revenues and profit.”.

Interestingly, in today's economic climate and the hunger for low cost, quick moving digital engagement and business tools, Patrick sees a blurring of the lines between the roles of an executive interim and a permanent substantive individual.

Patrick adds, “I am ambivalent about permanent versus interim roles as the average tenure is often not very different. However, for businesses the timescales to capitalise on opportunities seem to get shorter all the time. If the opportunity is not seized upon, someone else will take it or the market will have changed again. If organisations can wait 6/9/12 months to exit and/or recruit in resource, then good for them. In my mind, smart organisations should make full use of interim executives. Not just to fix things but also get in early enough to reduce the risk of failure.”

As a search firm we have to carefully weigh a client’s needs and advise on the best solution, providing either the permanently appointed executive or an interim, though to echo Patrick's views, most CEOs just want decisions made and actions taken. On balance, we are seeing organisations looking for pace, change and growth and interims provide significant advantages in speed, diverse backgrounds and results focus; with permanent executives providing a more stable continuum developing teams, building and retaining in house knowledge and expertise.
Patrick Knight, an established Global CIO and leading transformational Interim Executive, has a broad range of experience in technology, digital and organisational strategy and business change. We'd like to thank Patrick for his time and insight into his perception of interim engagement.
 
 
Our team, with decades’ worth of experience in board room advisory and executive resourcing now culminating in the formation of Robert James Raitt & Associates Limited early in2015 is set up to capitalise on our collective strengths as a Corporate and SME board search firm, based in the UK working across Europe and parts of the US. Although capable and accredited for search work across the portfolio of the board room, demand and our expertise has focused us on delivering searches for the CIO/CTO, CMO, Digital and HR Director officers where the primary agenda has been for Transformation, Business Change and Turn-around situations.
 
 
For more information or a confidential discussion on the challenges and plans for your businesses please get in touch - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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