“Leadership On Demand . . .” is a book I co-authored with Paul Travis in 2008 and today it still stands as the preeminent guide for how to effectively use interim executives. The book’s content can be viewed here: http://www.slideshare.net/cbesondy/leadership-on-demand
With all the uncertainty that persists in the U.S. business environment companies remain loath to add full-time employees (FTE), especially in marketing and sales. Unfortunately, staff levels in these two departments are still at all-time lows following the cut-backs of 2008 and 2009.
For CEO’s one answer to generating revenue, capturing market share, keeping overhead in check, and remaining highly nimble is the smart use of interim managers in marketing and sales.
On the other side of the coin, for seasoned marketing or sales veterans with solid credentials who find themselves “in transition”, starting a new career as an interim executive just might be the right move.
Our book, “Leadership On Demand” is a good reference. I invite you to check it out.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
I know many of my readers are interim managers or folks considering interim as the next career move. Therefore I’m bringing to your attention a webinar on April 13 sponsored by the Interim Association.
How to Market Yourself as an Interim Executive
- The concept and role of personal branding
- How to develop your own personal brand
- The role of social media in the management of personal brands
- Marketing tools to distinguish a Brand Called You
You can get info on the webinar and the association at www.interimassociation.org
I can’t attest to the quality of the program or the value of the Interim Association. I can tell you they put a drive for membership ahead of common sense. Case in point: I offered to them the rights to resell (and make money on) my book, “Leadership On Demand: How Smart CEO’s Tap Interim Management to Drive Revenue” . They wouldn’t consider carrying the book unless I joined the association.
I’m surprised the association directors aren’t choosing to provide the best resources to their members and seek to generate revenue from as many sources as possible.
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With my conservative-realist hat squarely placed upon my shaved head I ask you to consider that the economic environment we are seeing today (August 2009), specifically the unemployment rate, is what we’re going to see for many, many months to come.
I’m not going to be misled by politicians telling me just prior to 2010 elections that the days of milk and honey have returned. I know that the shaking we feel beneath our feet isn’t an earthquake; it is the vibration from countless business plans going through the shredder. There is fear and uncertainty in the land, but we must move forward even if on a different path with a different view of our business model.
Our economic world has changed–big time. I’m not an economist so I can’t and won’t talk about what the change means. I just know the business environment in which I need to succeed and help my clients succeed is very different from the one I was operating in prior to 2009.
What does this mean if you are a CEO or a marketing executive?
I believe that companies are going to be more and more reluctant to hire permanent marketers. Instead, companies will look to fill their needs on demand. They’ll augment skeleton marketing departments with interim and contract talent as they need it.
There is too much uncertainty in the land to confidently invest in a strong and capable marketing department. There is too much volatility in the marketing programs budget to justify a fully staffed marketing department. Better to keep fixed labor costs to a minimum and bring in the rock star interims for a few months as needed. No long-term commitments, no health insurance concerns, just the perfect skills and knowledge applied to the opportunity or problem for a season.
In past years, in a different economic climate, a high percentage of executives in the U.S. would scoff at the idea of relying on interim talent in marketing. Those same executives have no choice now but to seriously consider the interim option. They can’t stop marketing or else their companies will fall prey to the competition. However, they should think twice before burdening the operating budge with a fully-staffed, permanent marketing department.
Here are two sobering stats from The Financial Forecast Center.
They forecast the U-3 unemployment rate in the U.S. to be 11% in February 2010. (A group of economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal estimated the unemployment rate for December 2010 will be 9.5%.) We’re looking at 10% unemployment for at least the next 16 months, if you wish to belief these sources.
The other sobering forecast is the GDP. The Financial Forecast Center shows the GDP improving from -3.8% in June 2009 to zero GDP growth in February 2010. I like seeing the numbers heading north, but we can’t expect much, if any, growth for the foreseeable future.
Low growth GDP and 10% unemployment is the new business environment for the U.S.
Those who adapt to the new reality will succeed. Those who manage with an eye in the rearview mirror will stumble.
Let me know directly if you’d like to discuss what an interim marketing solution might look like for your organization. To learn more about interim management within the marketing and sales function check out my book, “Leadership On Demand: How Smart CEO’s Tap Interim Management to Drive Revenue.” It’s also available through Amazon and other online book resellers in paperback and eBook formats.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 5 so far )
This week my interview with Better Process.com aired as a podcast. Ken Rayment was the producer and reporter. If you’re a manufacturer you’ll find the short dialog interesting. I discussed the situations when manufacturers should use interim managers in marketing or sales to help them grow. I also gave a shameless (but tasteful) plug for my book, Leadership On Demand: How Smart CEO’s Tap Interim Management to Drive Revenue.
Here’s the link to the Podcast.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
About 12 months ago I saw the need for a book that would enlighten CEO’s on the strategic use of interim managers in Marketing and Sales. With the help of co-author, Paul Travis, and editor, Theresa Heath, we interviewed top executives who had experience with interims and wrote our book. Leadership On Demand: How Smart CEO’s Tap Interim Management to Drive Revenue is now available in paperback and eBook. We self-published the title using the latest in print-on-demand technology and eBook technology. We’re selling the book directly from our site and through book resellers . The news announcement appears below and can also be viewed here.
Management’s Antidote for Turbulent Times
New Book Sheds Light on Practice of Using Interim Managers in Marketing and Sales
March 28, 2008, Austin, Texas. What is the little-known secret some CEO’s use to keep employment costs down while maintaining growth strategies during uncertain economic conditions? The answer involves the prudent use of interim or on-demand managers within their Marketing and Sales departments, according to the authors of Leadership On Demand: How Smart CEO’s Tap Interim Management to Drive Revenue.
Although companies are familiar with using interim or on-demand executives to fill temporary gaps in HR, IT and Finance departments the new book provides fresh insight and best practices on how to use interim, “just-in-time” talent to impact the revenue engine of their organization—Marketing and Sales.
The authors contend that too many companies have allowed temporary gaps in Marketing and Sales leadership to retard their revenue performance. The gaps occur in three areas: a key management position is vacant for more than a month, a critical set of required skills is missing in the organization, or there’s a shortage of management time to accomplish an important business initiative.
“This topic is one of great importance to our economy and society. The chapters do a good job of identifying the general trends that would lead a company to consider the utilization of an interim manager,” said John Mavers, First Vice President, Washington Mutual Bank.
Through its 14 chapters the book shows CEO’s how to identify when interim management should be considered, how to structure an engagement, how to socialize the solution within the organization, how to justify the fee, etc. The book includes interviews from CEO’s, COO’s and Board members who share their experiences and insights about the prudent use of on-demand leaders in small and large organizations.
Leadership On Demand: How Smart CEO’s Tap Interim Management to Drive Revenue is published by LOD Publishing, LLC and can be ordered from www.leadership-on-demand.com or http://www.Amazon.com. The suggested retail price is $28.95 plus shipping and handling. The title is available in both paperback and eBook formats.
About the authors
The authors and editor of the book have over 75 years combined sales and marketing management experience primarily in high tech, pharmaceutical and medical device sectors.
Charles Besondy, author. After a career holding marketing leadership positions for small high-tech companies in Washington State and Texas, Besondy began his consulting and interim management practice in Austin in 2001. He has conducted interim management assignments for a range of companies, such as a Web start-up, a computer manufacturer, s professional sports franchise, and a large financial services vendor. Regarded as an authority on the topic of interim management for marketing functions he is co-author of the book, Leadership On Demand: How Smart CEO’s Tap Interim Management to Drive Revenue. His blog on the same topic, One Riot – One Ranger, is a popular source of insight and leading-edge thinking on the topic of interim management.
Paul Travis, author. Having managed a team of 10 and a budget of $5 million as a Vice President of Marketing for a publicly traded internet security company, after executive roles in foodservice to software publishing, Travis made the move into consulting. He has served in both project and interim capacities primarily in branding, product marketing, and launching new offerings – for technology, food/beverage, and manufacturing clients situated between British Columbia and the Midwest United States. In addition to his capacity as President of the Institute of Management Consultants – Pacific Northwest Chapter, he serves on the board of two privately held companies. His blog, www.60-Second-Marketing.com, features educational insights around snapshots of “hits and misses” in the marketing world.
Theresa Heath, editor. With over 25 years of experience, Ms. Heath is an innovative leader skilled in creating and implementing business development plans that reinvigorate sales teams and grow new products and markets. A strategist with a global and conceptual perspective, Ms. Heath approaches problem-solving in a relational and holistic manner by utilizing experience, intuition and knowledge to craft fresh and imaginative solutions. Heath is a versatile executive with both sales and marketing expertise in the healthcare and technology sectors, with a particular emphasis on bringing new technology successfully to market and exceeding company goals. Her background and flexibility serve her well in consulting, particularly in sales turnaround situations, developing new markets and new product commercialization.
Title: Leadership On Demand
Subtitle: How Smart CEO’s Tap Interim Management to Drive Revenue
Authors: Charles Besondy, Paul Travis
Editor: Theresa Heath
ISBN: 978-0-9802035-1-6 (paperback), 978-0-9802035-0-9 (eBook)
Category: Business Management
Length: 112 pages
Retail price: $28.95
Binding: 6”x9” trade paperback
eBook platform: Requires PDF reader software
Illustration: Charts and tables
Additions: Case studies, resources, survey, Website for the book’s readers is http://www.leadershipondemand-book.comRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
By Charles Besondy
Depending on the political slant of your favorite news source the U.S. is either falling into recession or experiencing a mere speed bump. Everyone can agree the economy has taken it on the chin lately. The undertow caused by defaults of sub prime mortgages is still threatening to pull some financial companies under. The record high price of oil is having an inflationary impact on nearly everything we buy. The value of the dollar is at record low levels compared to the Euro. Swings of 100-200 points a day on the NYSE is common place. Unemployment is still relatively low, however, and inflation is in check (at least for now).
These are unnerving times for executives responsible for driving their business plans forward no matter the head wind. Revenue forecasting, always a challenge, is made more difficult by the economic factors in play (not to mention a Presidential election). When there’s less confidence in the revenue forecast executives are loath to add to their fixed costs, such as payroll. It is common in times like these for companies to become very cautious about filling vacant positions, or adding head count.
Just because the economy is sputtering doesn’t mean that companies are putting key initiatives on the back burner, or hunkering down in a bunker mentality. It simply means they are looking for ways to maintain momentum while mitigating financial risks. Interim managers or on-demand leaders in Marketing and Sales can play invaluable roles for companies during uncertain economic times by achieving the necessary results without adding to fixed payroll costs.
Q2 Employment Outlook Softening
ManPower, Inc, the $21 billion employment services company, just released its Manpower Employment Outlook Survey for Q2 2008. It clearly reflects a softer jobs market for the quarter ending June 2008.
ManPower’s CEO and Chairman, Jeffrey A. Joerres summarizes the report’s findings, “The important change we are seeing is not about reductions in workforces, like we would typically expect in a recessionary period, but rather an increase in the percentages of employers who are planning to put a hold on hiring and forge ahead with the people they already have. This is definitely a ‘wait and see’ approach as they evaluate where their economies are headed, rather than a panic attack at this point.”
In the survey “a quarter-over-quarter comparison shows the weakest employment prospects since Quarter 1 2004. According to seasonally adjusted survey results, employers in nine of the 10 industry sectors expect the hiring pace to remain stable or decline during Quarter 2 2008. Of the 10 industry sectors surveyed, only Transportation/Public Utilities employers anticipate improved conditions for job seekers in the coming quarter versus Quarter 1 2008.”
As you’d expect the figures vary by region and by industry sector. The report can be downloaded from ManPower’s Website.
Damn the Torpedoes and Full Speed Ahead
Any experienced business leader will tell you the keys to achieving results during periods of uncertainty are to mitigate the financial risks but keep charging forward. The use of interim managers is a smart way to achieve much-needed flexibility and results during unnerving times. Here’s why.
- You can quickly apply the right talent to achieve the necessary results. Hiring an interim is much faster and easier than is recruiting someone for a senior-level permanent position. Less valuable time is lost.
- You can focus entirely on the skills you need for the short term without complicating the picture with concerns about future requirements. You don’t have to find the marketing or sales leader who is perfect for this quarter as well as next year and beyond. You can focus like a laser on meeting the short term requirements.
- Interim managers are the utilities of management talent. You only pay for what you use. This is an enormous benefit during uneven economic conditions because you can adjust the volume of service you need very easily and quickly. To use interim talent you’re making short-term financial commitments with variable dollars, rather than long term, fixed cost commitments.
- Interim manages can deliver results for less. When the total cost of recruiting and employing a permanent executive or senior manager is compared to an interim’s fees the cost advantage can be significant.
- Interim managers often provide a more practical and cost-effective solution than management consultants. Usually you can bring in the same level of talent, one with both strategic and operational credentials, who can be a member of your team for less than management consultants with bureaucracies and fancy offices to support.
Don’t let the next months of economic uncertainty prevent you from keeping your customers satisfied and your competitors on their heels. Maintain fiscal flexibility and generate results through the use of interim management for filling gaps and driving forward key initiatives.
For a more in-depth look at how to successfully utilize interim management strategies check out these sources:
- Leadership On Demand: How Smart CEO’s Tap Interim Management to Drive Revenue, available from Amazon.com