Delivering change (via flexible resourcing)

Organisational flexibility within the change portfolio has never been so important. Yet the current changing regulatory landscape has thrown into some confusion the role of the interim.  We have previously examined how businesses are adapting to the new rules, but here we present practical examples of how using interims during periods of change can (still) be of great commercial advantage.

Ironically, change is a constant within organisations, so staying ahead of the curve, maintaining the ability to keep adapting, growing, and still control costs while navigating the unexpected is at the forefront of executive’s minds. Building high performing teams is essential, but so is the ability to bring in new thinking to challenge systems and processes, and help organisations explore how to achieve their goals more effectively. This is where an interim provides vital momentum and drive in any change programme. Within the business context, there aren’t many problems which are truly unique, so having access to the skills of an experienced interim who has successfully navigated that specific challenge previously is compelling.  

At Norman Broadbent we are increasingly working with organisations to help them crystallise their vision for their path forward – working through challenges, defining future operating models etc –  by using experienced interims who have been through similar challenges in the past.   Being able to utilise the knowledge and new way of thinking offered by an individual from outside our clients’ organisation – and sometimes even out of sector entirely – allows our clients to deliver innovative solutions to some of their biggest challenges, while continuing to develop and grow.  Because each interim’s area of expertise is so focused, as each transformation progresses, the requirements of the interim may change – and that’s not a problem. One of the benefits of working with an interim is that you only need to draw down on the expertise as is needed.  A knowledge transfer plan is built into any interim assignment, ensuring your high-performing team retain the knowledge that is needed within your organisation to transition into the next phase of the change journey. 

At different stages of the organisational change, the role of the interim evolves: once strategic direction is understood, designing, and shaping the business case around this will be critical. Answering the question: How to drive the change into your business? may again be a good time to bring in an experienced interim executive – typically, more than half of change programmes fail because they are unable to embed the change into the culture of the organisation. Specialist skills and experience of embedding/driving change at all levels of an organisation can mitigate against this risk.  

In truth, there are interim executives with every kind of skill set and expertise you can imagine. During a change programme, we are commonly asked for the following kind of expertise:

  • Architecture
  • Organisational design
  • Communications
  • Driving / embedding change
  • Leading a change programme.

This is where working with a blended team of interims combine with internal teams can really help make a transformation programme effective. It allows organisations to build a bespoke team who will ‘own’ and deliver the change while simultaneously offering a great opportunity to upskill high potential members of the permanent team. Because interims work alongside the internal staff members, knowledge transfer is an on-going part of the process.  

Interims also offer flexibility of scope and scale. An interim/internal blended team can grow and shrink with the needs of the programme – adding in and removing expertise when it is required.  We have found that working with a partner who is able to provide a consistent service to cope with the peaks and troughs of the requirements of the programme allows our clients to manage the costs of their transformation. 

So, it seems that, despite some uncertainty around the regulations, there is still a real need for interim executives to support our clients in designing and delivering their essential transformations. While their role ebbs and flows with the specific demands of the programme, they will continue to add value as an effective tool to design and deliver change, bringing with them expert knowledge  – at the right place, at the right time.

For more information on this topic, or to explore how an interim could support your change programme, please contact Daniel Bruce for a confidential discussion : Daniel.Bruce@normanbroadbent.com