Interim professional with 5 legs wanted

By Carien de Vries

"Let me guess," my colleague jokes, "they want a five-legged sheep," when I mention that we've received another request from a potential client for the hiring of an interim professional.

Professional at Highberg

"Let me guess," my colleague jokes, "they want a five-legged sheep," when I mention that we've received another request from a potential client for the hiring of an interim professional. I nod and pick up my phone. We've been approached by a large organization's procurement desk. They've made a significant effort to match the Business Unit's request with a specific profile. Do we have someone like that? Yes, we probably know a good interim manager who more or less fits the profile. But does that guarantee that you'll actually get what you need? In our experience, that's usually not the case. In fact, there's often a better, more efficient, or cost-effective solution.

A good interim manager asks the question behind the question. 

The basic question is usually the same: there's a need to expand the capacity for change. In addition to the manager who is fully occupied with operations, there is a need for someone to manage a desired and often necessary change. That's clear. But why does a Business Unit need to expand its change capacity? Maybe it can be solved differently? What is the actual problem and what underlies it? In our view, a good interim professional always asks the question behind the question.

Sometimes that can be a bit challenging because the procurement desk has received a request from the Business Unit and has neatly passed it on to us. They've created a profile based on the requirements and organizational conditions and have come to us with it. Then we ask a lot of tough questions. In our opinion, the procurement desk is missing an opportunity to position itself as an internal service provider. They do consider content, costs, and cultural fit, but that's not the whole picture.

We sometimes receive calls from Business Units trying to avoid what they jokingly call the "procurement police." In their experience, the procurement desk doesn't always solve their problem adequately. They are bound by various requirements and don't think about alternatives other than hiring. We understand that. And we also understand the frustration of the procurement desk. There are professionals there who can do more than just play the role of a police officer. So why not turn your procurement desk into an advisory desk for your organization?

Hiring desk desk, take on your role as a business partner. 

Now the focus is on the solution, not the problem, in our view. That's not right. That's why we like to go back to the beginning before seeking a solution. What is the real question that needs to be answered? It's not a lack of change capacity; it's the needed change itself. Driven by the daily grind, organizations often follow the same old paths. There's a shortage of people, so we hire. It's fun for us; we like to provide people for hire. But ultimately, we want to realize the necessary change as effectively as possible.

That's why we first like to map out what the problem is and what the possible solutions are. Perhaps you have the capacity internally. Is there someone internally who can handle it well, perhaps with consultancy from our side? Maybe there's a project team that can do this? Or does it need to be set up? And does the change agent have to fit your culture perfectly, or do you need someone who looks at it from a completely different perspective? Perhaps that one full-time position can be filled by two people, and that's how you can find that interim professional with five legs?

By engaging with the Business Unit, we often find a solution that makes all parties happy. We continue to meet the procurement desk's requirements and help them take on their role as a business partner. Through the added value of our expertise and a bit of mediation, we arrive at a solution to the real problem.

Would you also like to have a conversation with interim professionals who go beyond filling a job description?
Are you ready for someone who provides solutions for structural changes? Then invite us for an informal meeting.

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