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How do you measure success?

Meeting Executive Interim Managers is always interesting. Many of the interims I know have some wonderful stories. These include being held at gun point in Asia, being stopped by the police in the Middle East for wearing Lycra whilst cycling, and discovering that an organisation was still paying for an ex-employee’s mobile phone – eight years after they had left.

Enjoying the odd brush with the law does make for a great story, but it is never the punch line.

The conclusion is more often than not a business rescued, a successful exit, millions saved or legacy passed on to a permanent employee.  The common theme is one of success – usually after an incredible amount of effort. It is easy to see why many of us are so passionate about the interim management sector.

The difference between good and great

Over the eleven years that I have run Interim Partners we have been part of some amazing projects.

At the beginning of our journey we could polarise some of our experiences as good or bad. We saw some great outcomes and these experiences helped shape our view of what worked and what didn’t.

Over the last five years we have learned a lot and moved our thinking forward. Today I am interested in the difference between good and great.

I believe we are a good company; and we strive to be a great one. Likewise our Interim Managers are keen to understand the marginal difference between doing a good job and delivering great work.

Being good within a role is often expected and demanded, however delivering great work that sits above expectation truly delights. Being great requires a broad mix of skills, from intellect and experience through to personality type and resilience. It seems that being better than good is a small margin and involves numerous factors.

Great results

Over my fifteen years of being in this marketplace – the defining challenge has always been insuring that our Interim Managers deliver a great return on investment. Our clients want great results and we want to support them in this aim.

In order to really understand great outcomes we must first identify specific and measurable assignment objectives, test that these outcomes are attainable and measure the time and investment required to achieve them. It is through measuring performance and understanding the key ingredients that we can deliver great outcomes.

To help us with this aim we have redeveloped our performance on assignments reporting system and hope to launch this system early in the New Year. We designed the software to address the primary challenge of measuring results to achieve a return on investment (ROI).

We have called our system ROI too and I hope you like our subtle variation on meaning – ‘Return on Interim’.  I look forward to telling you more about our ROI system in the coming month.

I am keen to hear from Executive Interim Managers – or those that have hired them – on how they measured success at the end of assignment. What are your criteria for determining ROI (Return on Interim)?

I am especially keen to hear from those who have also wrestled with the challenge of understanding the difference between good and great outcomes.

Doug Baird is the Managing Director at Interim Partners

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