We recently spoke to Change and Organisation Design Interim, Andrew Neill, who drew on his 15 years’ experience in Europe and APAC to discuss what it takes to be successful as an Interim Executive.
Boyden: What would you say is the number one trait to being successful in the Interim world?
Andrew Neill: You must be flexible. Not just in terms of industry, project type and location but as an individual, too. You may not have a team of people to delegate work to. Quite often the buck stops with you and you just have to get on with it.
Boyden: Because of the temporary nature of the industry, what’s the best approach to minimise downtime?
AN: Referrals are the strongest part of your marketing toolbox, so the best sales approach is to do a fantastic job for your current client. At the same time, always keep your eye on the market as new trends are emerging all the time. Think about your clients’ needs and how you can show relevant experience – I have 5 different CVs!
Check LinkedIn every day. What roles are being advertised? Who has been promoted recently? The Interim providers are also there to help. They know the market and have established relationships so make sure you connect with them regularly.
Boyden: When there is downtime, what’s the best use of your time?
AN: If you have time between assignments, how you use this period is critical. Use it to implement your marketing plan. Get out of your office, meet people and listen to the market. Don’t expect people to be responsive if you haven’t contacted them for a couple of years. In my experience, you’ll need to give something before you get something back, so stay in touch and try to help people along the way.
Don’t be worried about job security. I would argue that, as an Interim, you can build a wider network and client base as your journey progresses which ultimately, will only enhance your prospects.
Boyden: Any parting words of advice?
AN: Taking on a career as a freelance Interim is a fulfilling, yet challenging journey that helps you to grow as a person and a professional. Keep performing, keep learning and be flexible – the rewards are there for the taking.