International Case Study from SMW: Interim CIO for a Building Materials Manufacturer
On November 19th, our partner was contacted by CFO Peter Klovgaard-Jørgensen from client H+H. Quick action allowed the interim manager to be on board was at the company’s Christmas lunch. Peter Klovgaard-Jørgensen says, “There is nothing more to say than that we got the right candidate in an incredibly short amount of time. This is a definite success story from beginning to end”.
Peter Klovgaard-Jørgensen has no doubt as to why it has been such a success. The process of selecting candidates could not have been better. "The SMW partner had a quick grasp of the situation, who we were, what challenges we faced in the field of IT, and what tasks needed to be solved. Just in three days, our partner was able to present clear profiles of three suitable interim candidates, whom we then could choose from to execute this job”, says the CFO of H+H, who made the final decision on the hiring of the interim manager.
Klovgaard-Jørgensen underlines the importance of the initial part of the process of finding an interim manager. According to Peter, the significance is sometimes forgotten. Within the process, it was crucial for him to sit face-to-face with a knowledgeable consultant, like our partner from SMW, who made him understand the prerequisite for a successful outcome, and helped to identify the criteria necessary for a talented interim manager.
H+H’s current need was a CIO that could step in at a short notice and continue the daily operations of the IT department. They did not have enough experience in the company to take on this assignment, and a permanent solution would take too long for the situation. Our SMW partner quickly emerged as a solution to this problem.
Peter continues ,“I have never had an interim manager on board before, but it became clear that help through a recruiting agency was not the way to go. And we had no room for mistakes. So, to get the qualified candidates, I went to the specialists in Interim Management. And will happily do it again.”
Peter Klovgaard-Jørgensen fully agrees that, being an interim manager, it is impossible to enter the company and solve all of its problems within four months. Thus, during the discussion with our partner, they determined the success criteria for the job by making some adjustments in the job specification. Hence, the job description ended up including fx.; securing the daily operations in a light version, bringing forth strategic and visionary inputs on IT solutions, and developing a plan encompassing four areas. Furthermore, the interim manager had to convey the IT strategy to the IT team. Peter reiterates,” I knew I had an experienced senior executive. That is why I focused on obtaining an objective view on our IT strategy from an experienced interim manager”. He further states that the certain IT projects excluded from the initial job criteria would be carried out by himself.
The quick success that H+H’s interim CIO created was based on the deep commitment to the task. This commitment is an important characteristic of an interim manager, and for Peter, this in fact the most important characteristic. An interim manager can easily be branded as a temporary manager who is only there to deliver quick fixes. “However, the quick fixes will be insufficient for the company,” says Peter Klovgaard-Jørgensen. Conversely, he understands that an interim manager neither will nor can decide on long term solutions. Therefore, the alignment of expectations is a crucial part in the process.
He adds ,“In our case, it was clear I needed the interim managers expertise and open-mindedness to come up with solid facts. In the long term, I could make decisions based upon this and, in addition, execute them”. According to Peter, the advantage of an interim solution is having a pool of interim managers to choose from, who are accustomed to quickly integrating themselves with the company, understanding their tasks, and quickly setting the ship to sail.
Finally, he says, “I believe that as an interim manager, you should have a mindset to be an accomplisher, strive to make a difference, and execute and complete the task in a professional manner. Doing so ensures success”.