“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 )
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 )
The cover story of the March issue of Inc Magazine was about Zipcar, an innovative company that specializes in renting cars by the hour to its members. It’s a very attractive concept for city dwellers and students who don’t need a car every day and may not have a safe and affordable place to park a car even if they had one.
When you need a car to run errands or for a day-trip to the country just reserve a Zipcar. Pay for what you use. Transportation on demand.
In the same week that I read this article I spoke with a company, eVapt, that has developed a better way to meter software as a service (SaaS). The growth curve of Saas applications is impressive. No wonder. The technology allows companies to pay for how much they use of a particular software application. Use a lot, pay more; use infrequently, pay less. Makes sense. Software on demand.
So, when a company looks at its marketing and sales resources and sees that there are a few gaps why aren’t those gaps being immediately filled with managers on demand?
Too often I see companies let a vacancy in a key position go unfilled for months while the recruiting process grinds along. The smart move is to put an interim executive in the position and keep the momentum going until the perm hire can step in.
Then there’s the case of the gap in critical skills or bandwidth for a mission-critical initiative. Why aren’t more companies being honest with themselves about what their current staff can and can’t do during the time period? And we wonder why product launch dates are missed or compromised. Evaluate where special skills and experience are needed and add a seasoned interim manager to the team.
Using interim management resources today seldom is an indication that a company is in trouble. It means companies are being really smart about resource allocation. Alas, old perceptions are slow to change.
We look at customers who use Zipcar and say, “Good thinking. Use a car whenever you need it, but only pay for what you use.” We see companies that save millions of dollars a year by adopting SaaS instead of traditional software licensing. We think, “Wow, those guys are really using their cash wisely.”
What do you think when a company, perhaps your own, considers an interim management solution?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )