Impact Executives

Michael Chivers gives us his thoughts on leadership and interim management

Nyhet   •   Nov 29, 2016 10:00 CET

What challenges do you see within leadership and change management today?

In my opinion there are three big challenges affecting all leaders with a global mindset. The business climate of global businesses is changing rapidly and we can see that the expected “flat world” with breakdown of trade barriers and true globalisation of capital and supply chains is slowing down or even reversing. I also believe that the rise of populism is a response to our workforce, customers and partners recognising inequality in wealth distribution. Furthermore, technology is racing forwards with A.I., robotics and increased use of software and services to replace work previously carried out. The sum of these challenges requires all employers to move quickly to find capabilities that maybe were not needed before as they race to review strategies that will enable them to win in the new environment.

What are the most important factors when hiring an interim leader, regarding competence, leadership skills and cultural fit?

There are many different reasons why companies are reaching out for interims but primarily it is because the expertise that they need for a limited period of time is missing in the current talent base. In my opinion it is critical that interim leaders are courageous enough to give the input that we need, not necessarily what we want to hear. In order to do this the interim must have great "soft skills" in order to identify key stakeholders and find ways to influence them whilst at the same time understanding the culture well enough to navigate within the system they are brought into.

What are your expectations on an interim leader/change manager?

Courage, capability and conviction. A change leader must gain trust very quickly and if we assume that the skills and technical capabilities that are needed can be easily assessed and measured the softer skills around building confidence within the organisation and quickly influencing change will become more critical.

What value does an interim manager bring into your organisation?

Often the interim can act as a teller of the truth. Bringing experience from different environments and help the core of the organisation recognise the scale of change needed. And this alone however is not enough, the most successful interims are able to help set a road map for change and bring a voice of calm reassurance as the company moves towards its intended new state.

At what point does your organisation need an interim manager?

Primarily our challenges in Maersk and also in my previous roles have revolved around the need for new capabilities in order to meet a changed strategy for success. This could be necessary at any point when the organisation requires a reset, sometimes due to disruption (as was the case when Apple disrupted the established mobile communications business model) or when growth requires rapid acceleration or innovation.