The Power of ZEREN Interim: Part One
By Jennifer Brook-Botfield, Director of ZEREN Interim & Consulting.
“The Power of Interim”
The world of Private Equity, across Venture, Growth and Buy-Out has undoubtedly felt an immense surge of positivity over the last year through vast investment, coupled-up in a somewhat virtual ‘golden cage’, and the main consensus is that as candidates’ selectiveness grows in a high-demand, post-pandemic market, the pool has become extremely shallow.
Clearly, in times of growth, particularly sudden or unprecedented, management of Human Capital must be a core focus as it becomes even more critical for portfolio performance.
Ultimately, how a company manages its talent can either make or break its ability to survive as well as thrive amid times of uncertainty, and therefore, Executive Leadership is the top priority for generating value during times of interruption, whether it be through growth, change or transformation.
The Consistent Rise of Interim Executive Leaders and High Impact Consultants
Over the last two decades, economic and political uncertainty, increasing competition, disruptive technology, changing working practices and agile business models have all forced businesses to transform at a record rate, and it is here that we have seen the increase in demand for Interim Executive Leaders.
There are many opportunities that come with sudden change, but what is important in the immediate aftermath is how a business responds to this ‘perfect storm’ that will generate an infinite advantage for them in an ever-changing market. Early-stage, disruptive start-ups, whilst potentially better positioned for change than most traditional organisations, can equally hit a stumbling block, as they may not have the right leadership in place to drive growth, change or transformation.
A truly talented Interim Executive Leader or high-impact Consultant will offer strategic advice, but then also bring with them a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and experience to deliver this strategy, be it independently through operation and execution or by guiding and leading teams on their journey.
In creating a roadmap with a targeted, goal-orientated approach, they will be driven to succeed in their delivery, adapt to the inevitable challenges along the way and aim to leave having made an impact, added value, and created a legacy.
The Return on Investment in Using an Interim
Across our client base of Venture-backed start-ups and scale-ups, Private Equity-owned businesses and more traditional organisations undergoing a Digital or Technology transformation, we are seeing intelligent and impactful use of Interim Talent and Consultants.
There are several advantages in utilising an Interim Executive Leader, best demonstrated by the following key characteristics:
1. Extensive Experience
Extremely qualified and specialised in the vertical and industry they operate in, it is no surprise that successful Interim Executives are usually business experts who have built-up many years of experience in guiding organisations through periods of change, and come with profound know-how, problem-solving skills, and an ability to quickly drive change across a business.
2. Independent and Resilient from the Start
The age-old saying ‘… and got the t-shirt’, is one an Interim Executive will know all too well, which brings with it an invaluable skill in evading the standard complications which are common when navigating the path of an early-stage start-up and, whilst sensitive to a company’s culture, they are also not constrained by a company’s inner politics.
Objectivity and clarity will give an Interim Executive a refreshing view, having no previous history in the business, and by taking an evidence-based approach, they can afford to be more forthright, given that they possess no hidden, political agenda.
3. Embraces Flexibility and Adaptability
Interim Executives are usually available to start at short notice and respond to immediate challenges in the business. They adopt an agile working pattern, paid on a daily rate for ease and transparency, meaning there are no additional or hidden costs involved when on-boarding. Employment liabilities are passed on to the agency, further mitigating any additional risks for the early stage start-up or rapid growth business.
4. Thrives on the Enjoyment of Challenges and Problem-Solving
During any rapid growth, change or transformation, an Interim Executive has the capability of successfully driving the business forward and can ultimately add phenomenal value. As long as an organisation can commit to clear goals and objectives, fully appreciating that these might change along the way, an Interim Executive can fulfill the hopes of what success in the business will inevitably look like.
Being transparent about where the business is, which can sometimes be rock-bottom, and having trust in the process, an Interim Executive will thrive on the challenge, and take great satisfaction in leaving the business in a much better place.
How ZEREN Can Assist
In summary, unprecedented spending into PE/VC, Investor/Portfolio and high-growth Technology businesses has seen a significant rise in demand for Executive Leadership, leading to ‘cheque-book-duals-at-dawn’, or creative incentives to draw top-talent in. The time taken to secure the right person has left leadership with immediate challenges to address, and that’s where the power of the Interim can really come into force.
Resilient, adaptable, experienced, and politically unbiased, our C-Suite of Interim Leaders are available immediately and on-demand, to solve and deliver in shaping the organisation with a strategically client-focused roadmap, ready to guide the incoming appointee.
It is worth highlighting recent examples of how Interims and Consultants have benefited our client base:
1. Interim CISO appointed for 6 months to help a FinTech strategically prepare for their next growth phase.
2. Interim CFO hired on a part-time basis to help prepare a business for a Series B fund-raise.
3. Marketing Consultant engaged to lead a re-brand of a B2C platform not yet ready to hire a senior CMO.
4. Strategy Consultant taken on to advise the Founders of a post-Series A business on how to best deploy their investment capital.
5. Head of Talent engaged to help bridge a capacity-gap and skills-shortage internally, and help hit headcount targets in the following 12 months.
Together with transparency, trust and talent, harnessing the power of an Interim Executive can be the fundamental difference between being the disruptor or becoming the disrupted.
ZEREN exists to empower the world’s change makers. We have done so recently by placing numerous future leaders into the world’s most innovative businesses.
If your business could benefit from the skill set an Interim Executive Leader or High-Impact Consultant would bring, or if you wish to transition into the world of high-growth Tech, please contact a member of the ZEREN team.