Why did you choose interim management?
I have worked in a lot of very different positions and in a wide range of settings during my career. I enjoy the variety and find it very educational. Every company or organisation has its own specific characteristics, atmosphere and challenges. Yet what is always the same everywhere: there are people working there who basically want to do the right thing and do their bit to achieve results together. In the positions I have held, I have often found the initial period the most enjoyable, when there is still so much uncertainty. I'm good at quickly settling in and analysing what is going on and how things are done. And then making a plan that has broad support and making sure that it can be carried out well. As an interim manager, I am particularly effective in this phase. Why are things not going the way we want? How can we do better? I approach these issues from the human perspective, the figures come afterwards.
What is the added value for you in working via B&C?
I know Ine Frings from one of my previous positions; I approached her when she had just started at B&C and I was looking for interim work. We hit it off well, we have the same approach to customer orientation. It is about really helping the customer with the assignment, even if it means addressing issues that the customer would rather not hear. As an interim professional, you have a duty of confidentiality regarding the details of your assignment, so you are unable to spar with someone outside of that. Placement through B&C allows me to do that, because they have the same duty of confidentiality. Ine is a good sparring partner for me, especially during exciting periods. In my next assignment, I hope to work with one of B&C's Young Executives. These are smart, hands-on professionals who assist the interim manager by, for example, making more detailed analyses and working out plans. As an interim manager, this enables you to take steps even faster and help the client move ahead.
What were your first assignments?
I was brought in for my first assignment because there was a need for a dual directorship, where there was only one director serving at that time. The assignment comprised three parts: (1) a renewal of the strategic plan, (2) optimising internal and external communication and (3) resolving a number of problem cases. After completing the first assignment, I was given a follow-up assignment to pull together one large project. There, I focused on mutual communication between all stakeholders in order to restore confidence. There was a lot of emotion in that project, which meant that all parties could only see the situation from their own perspective. The tendency was to think in terms of the figures, whereas the spreadsheets only become realistic once people actually start doing something with them. The first step was to get the people involved to look at the situation from a different vantage point: to show understanding for each other's situation and emotions, so that we would be able to communicate with each other on another level. Building up trust so that they could then literally start to rebuild. Now that trust is in place, the project is coming to a successful conclusion after all.
What will your next assignment be?
We'll start looking for that in January. I am pretty curious what Ine will come up with, she's surprised me before with some very special proposals. Ideally, a nice job at the intersection of the public and private sectors.