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Adapting to the new world of work: The vital role of Interim Executives in agile planning

​The world of work has experienced a seismic shift in recent years, driven by factors such as the pandemic, economic fluctuations and the rapid advancement of technologies such as generative AI. In this unpredictable landscape, organisations must adapt quickly to thrive. One approach to navigating this uncertainty with confidence is agile planning, in which Interim Executives play an essential role helping organisations remain flexible and responsive.

Understanding agile

Traditionally, businesses have relied on five-year "set and forget" strategies. This approach is no longer viable in today's volatile social, economic and political climate. Just as IT projects have moved from a Waterfall approach to an agile, real-time methodology, organisations need shorter, sharper talent planning scenarios that can adapt quickly to shifting needs. This is even more crucial in a BANI (brittle, anxious, non-linear, and incomprehensible) environment, where unpredictability is the norm.

Agile planning in the Interim Executive sector involves an iterative and adaptable approach to talent acquisition. Recruiters must regularly reassess their strategies to address shifting market dynamics. They must also collaborate closely with hiring teams to ensure quick and effective responses to evolving talent acquisition needs. This method prioritises transparency, frequent feedback and the ability to quickly modify sourcing and interviewing methods to attract and retain top talent.

Why agile planning?

The World Economic Forum's 2023 global economic outlook highlights the division among experts regarding the possibility of a recession. This uncertainty emphasises the need for agile planning, enabling organisations to respond swiftly to changing economic conditions. The WEF also predicted several trends expected to profoundly shape growth:

  • Geo-economics

  • Changing geography of supply chains

  • More robust industrial policies, especially measures to enable greener growth and the energy transition

  • Rapid advancement and adoption of technology – including artificial intelligence.

As Dr Ben Hamer, Chief Futurist, CreativeCubes.Co explains, “Research from OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, reveals that almost one in five people globally (with internet access) have used ChatGPT in a month. This is the quickest adoption of any technology in human history, and putting your head in the sand is not an option.”

Our 2023 Annual Interim Executive Survey (DOWNLOAD NOW) reveals other factors driving the need for agile planning, including:

The role of Interim Executives in agile planning

A Deloitte study found organisations that align workers with work that fits their skills and capabilities are 57% agile in deploying talent. In today’s challenging market, Interim Executives have emerged as a valuable asset for organisations seeking flexibility amid ambiguity. Interim Executives are skilled professionals who offer their expertise and leadership on a temporary basis. They can play a critical role in helping organisations implement agile planning effectively.

Top 3 strengths of Interim Executives

  1. A skills-based approach –They bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the table, allowing them to quickly adapt to an organisation's specific needs.

  2. Remaining current – Interim Executives understand the importance of staying up-to-date with industry trends and best practices. Continuous learning and development are essential to their success and relevance in an evolving business world.

  3. Overcoming change resistance – As organisations face increased post-pandemic change fatigue, Interim Executives can provide the leadership needed to drive and execute transformational initiatives. Their experience in change management is invaluable in overcoming resistance to change within organisations, especially in digital transformation programs.

The evolving role of executive search firms

Hybrid working isn’t going away as one of the top challenges facing organisations. We’ve also seen the economy slow down and budgets tighten. This has led to increased interest in contingent labour and Interim Executives.

Executive search has evolved to meet the demands of the modern business world. The "war for talent" intensifies, prompting companies such as Watermark Search to offer expanded service offerings beyond traditional retained search services. Many executive search firms now provide comprehensive solutions, including Interim Executive services, professional development programs, coaching and advanced assessment methodologies.

Notably, some global search companies have acquired Interim Executive businesses to integrate these services seamlessly into their offerings. This strategic move allows them to address their clients' immediate needs and remain relevant in a fast-moving talent landscape.

Interim Executives’ in-built agility

Interim Executives can step into critical roles during transition periods, such as mergers, acquisitions or unexpected departures, ensuring business continuity and stability. By doing so, they act as an antidote to uncertainty and volatility.
In a world where change is the only constant, agile planning and Interim Executives have become indispensable to organisations that need to pivot quickly. As the economy remains a wild card, organisations must embrace these strategies to confidently position themselves for future success.

If you would like to attract top talent to your organisation our Watermark Search International team is ready to help. We represent a great network of Interim Executives who are immediately available and ready to embed very quickly to transform organisations effectively. We look forward to sharing our expertise with you.

To learn more about agile planning and to read about all things Interim Executive, please download our 2023 Annual Interim Executive Survey now.

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