In this latest edition, Lisa Farmer, Managing Partner, chats with Daniel Harrison, Principal. He shares his background, his focus and expertise on the technology sector and how it relates to opportunities within interim management.
Lisa Farmer: Daniel, as a Principal in Boyden’s Interim Management practice, can you tell us about your background?
Daniel Harrison: Firstly, having known Boyden by reputation for years, I am delighted to have joined the Boyden UK & Ireland Interim team. I consider my career in 2 phases; having worked within the sales and marketing space across the UK and Australia for 5 years, I then focused on supporting technology businesses with key hires in 2007. What excited me about the industry back then was the opportunity to work with people utilising my sales background and the ability to immerse myself in the fast-paced technology environment which I had a natural affinity with. After 10 successful years as an IT Consultant, I was keen to develop my career further and moving across to the Executive Search/Leadership industry was the obvious next step given my network. For the last 5 years, I’ve built a reputation as a trusted and qualified advisor to help CTO’s, CIO’s and IT leaders find their next assignment.
Lisa Farmer: What is your focus and priorities for the interim technology practice?
Daniel Harrison: My focus is Technology from a functional and sector standpoint. I work with businesses to support them with Interim board, C-Suite, Heads of Product, Architecture, and Engineering roles both nationally and internationally. I work with both private and public sector clients, particularly those going through significant periods of growth mainly through Series A or B funding.
Lisa Farmer: How do you manage your clients’ need for interim executives to support their businesses?
Daniel Harrison: Bringing an Interim Manager into a business is different from a traditional permanent hire. Quite often there are internal difficulties, challenges or changes that need to be addressed swiftly. I often say to my clients an interim has a 90-hour plan not just a 90-day plan. They are there to make an impact. My role is to quickly understand the business challenges the client is facing, and why, and to understand the person profile they need to enable the interim to have significant impact on their business. I work with my clients to clarify the outcomes and deliverables that the interim needs to achieve to make the assignment successful for the interim and the client. I work closely with my colleague Neil Pilkington, Partner who is responsible for our executive search offering across the Technology functions and we collaborate when needed to support our client’s needs.
Lisa Farmer: What do you see as the key challenges and opportunities within technology moving forward?
Daniel Harrison: The pandemic initially drove a huge boost in health technology – especially in innovations that combine AI and imaging, where there was a lot of buzz and infusion of cash in late 2020 and 2021. Post 2020 we saw a cultural shift to focus on employees as a whole, which included a focus on mental wellness, working from home and more of a work-life balance. Moving forward it is likely that we will see more features developed over the next year to help workers be more efficient with their workday, finding that balance between productivity and personal goals.
Lisa Farmer: What do Boyden candidates and clients value the most in the Boyden approach?
Daniel Harrison: Boyden is a trusted name in the industry. We were founded in 1946 and through our three lines of service: Executive Search, Interim Management and Leadership Consulting we partner with clients to address their critical leadership needs. Clients look to Boyden as an extension of their organisations in identifying talent to ensure they have high-performing teams and we are viewed as trusted partners. We go the extra mile to ensure our clients and candidates are given the best possible service. We have our client’s trust.
Lisa Farmer: How do you measure your own success when working with interim managers and clients?
Daniel Harrison: I have always tried to have a wholistic view of the person that I am representing. What motivates them? What challenges do they particularly enjoy? What is key for them? What do they really not like or enjoy in a role? Honesty and trust are important in any relationship, and representing an Interim Manager is no different. I am not afraid to have challenging conversations, but I like to think anyone I’ve represented in the last 15 years knows I genuinely want to secure them the right role for them.
Lisa Farmer: Can you share with me how Boyden’s international footprint benefits clients?
Daniel Harrison: Firstly, it allows our clients to receive an excellent service. Working within a global executive search firm I have already seen the benefit of being connected with my international partners. It gives our clients access to talent worldwide, therefore I am able to support my clients more broadly. Not only am I able to help clients with excellent interim resources in the UK and Ireland, additionally, within the Boyden network I am able to provide my clients with interim solutions across the world, and can also introduce them to partners across Executive Search and Leadership Consulting in parallel.
Lisa Farmer: What do you look for in a great interim profile?
Daniel Harrison: A CV tells that person’s story, needs to be presented clearly and needs to be authentic. It’s always beneficial to see interims clearly articulate what outcomes and what objectives were achieved for each assignment. Although interim assignments can be short by nature, longevity in multiple assignments is always a real plus. It’s also good to see Interim Managers going back to the same client as this demonstrates the real difference they have made.
Lisa Farmer: What are your top tips to be a successful candidate in the interim management industry?
Daniel Harrison: A good reputation goes a long way. Although the technology market is vast and ever-changing, it can be an incestuous place at times. Successful interims do what they say they’ll do and always complete assignments to best of their ability. Make sure you ask lots of questions about the company and the role, complete your own due diligence on the interim assignment to make sure the role is aligned to your skill set. Build relationships with a small number of consultants that take the time to understand your background and who you want to be represented by. It’s your brand aligned with the interim service provider’s so select those individuals wisely! Not too many, not too few, but having a few trusted individuals you can lean on for advice and who work on interesting and challenging roles that suit your skillset and pique your interest will pay dividends.