Veteran C-suite recruiting expert and managing director for Focus Search Partners’ interim executive services practice, Monica Foster, was recently featured on Vaco’s Free Yourself Podcast. Monica shared her expertise on tough transitions, helping promising new start-ups, and the importance of innovative leadership.
Listen in here for the full podcast episode or read on for a brief recap.
Frances Moreno: Helping businesses find creative solutions to any challenge has long been one of the Vaco and Focus Search Partners specialties … Monica, you’ve been helping companies find transitional leadership throughout your entire career, what is the ideal scenario in which a company might seek out an interim executive?
I’ve been doing this for about 15 years and the word “ideal” might be a little misleading because I’ve actually probably never run into an ideal scenario! Typically, companies that need an interim C-suite leader are going through some sort of transition. And as we all know, transitions typically are associated with a little bit of pain.
The beauty of working with interim leaders is this: you bring in a veteran — someone that’s been there, done that — who leads with confidence and is able to bring that positivity and really lead a team through those transitional periods.
How would a company come to recognize the need to hire an interim executive?
Just today I was talking with a personal health services company; they launched their business three years ago, and they’ve seen just incredible positive growth, even through COVID.
As a young entrepreneur-led business, they found themselves at a crossroad where they’re in need of their first-ever CFO. So before they begin a full-time search, they’ve been advised to speak to a few consultants and they were referred to our firm, to bring someone on. Just being a part of conversations like that is uplifting and fun.
How quickly do your interim CFOs start and how quickly do companies start to see an impact?
The cycle of the process is incredibly fast. Once we receive a phone call and understand the unique circumstances of what’s going on within the organization, we’re already beginning to cultivate a short list of professionals that we would like to consider for that work, and then we begin to match and align those consultants to the opportunity and present them within a 48 hour timeframe. It’s not uncommon to have a consultant on site — we’re in COVID world, so sometimes virtually — within 72 hours.
Any other final thoughts that you’d like to share with our listeners today?
I would leave the listeners with the fact that the very best interim leaders are incredibly innovative, they’re problem solvers, they are doing this career by choice. They have an incredible gift of being able to make bold decisions in alignment with key stakeholders of the organization that really can lay the foundation for the future success of a business.
These individuals are staking their success, from a reputational standpoint, on the successful outcome — that is how they earn their next opportunity. So there’s a very strong accountability component to these projects. It’s the glue that holds everything together … and that holds our firm’s reputation together. We take that reputation very seriously. It’s such a joy, it’s such a fun, fast-paced, rewarding career choice.
Learn more about Focus Search Partners’ Interim Executive Services practice if your organization is looking for ready-to-lead executives for strategic projects.