Long term sickness

This subsidiary of a Housing Association has 70 staff operating from twelve offices across South East England. The Chief Executive had been off sick for five months. Her already stretched senior management team had been covering her post between them, but the strain was becoming unsustainable. The group was also about to embark on a wide ranging review of all its operations and structure, which would place much extra work on the management teams of each subsidiary.

Paul Kelly filled the role of Chief Executive on a part time basis, for an initial period of three months, which was then extended to six months.

The benefits to the company were:

  • the senior management team was able to focus entirely on its core responsibilities and so address performance and staffing issues that had begun to develop whilst they were distracted;
  • they received critical support and co-ordination in evaluating the outcome of long term contract re-negotiations that were in hand;
  • by re-establishing a clear reporting route to the parent company, there was a significant reduction in the calls made upon group departments for support and assistance;
  • an outsider’s fresh view on what had previously been a rather isolated part of the group;
  • development of new monitoring systems to give a different viewpoint on activities;
  • hands-on leadership of a detailed strategic review of the business which drew in the management team and developed consensus recommendations, whilst minimising the extra burden on them.

The skills required of the Interim Manager to achieve this were:

  • interpersonal skills – dealing with the management team, subsidiary company staff, heads of other subsidiaries, and group management;
  • the ability to take a strategic and fresh view of the situation;
  • general management skills.