Dec '16

Q. When is an Interim not an Interim?

A. When they’re a Perm.

An Interim career is for life, not just for Christmas.

On the face of it, this is a statement of “the bleedin’ obvious” – except that it’s not always apparent to the interim in question.

It is well publicised that most intermediaries either prefer to, or will only, present tried and tested interim managers to their clients, coining phrases like:

  • “hit the ground running” (yuk) and
  • “safe pair of hands” (only slightly less yuk).

In all seriousness, it is our reputation on the line here; based on trust and built with a client over several years it is easily lost in a careless instant. The success of interim assignments is judged on “how” as much as “what” and for most people it takes time to adjust to new ways of working.

Everyone must start somewhere though and occasionally a new star is born; I am more than happy to speak to aspiring interims and I have, a couple of times now, presented newcomers to a client as one option with the proviso that they have “interim L Plates” on.

As in many worlds there is an 80/20 rule to fall back on, in our case related to the Peter Principle, and for me an interim manager is conceived the moment someone recognises what I see as the “Reverse Peter Principle”.… Read the rest

Oct '15

Recruiting Virtually Anywhere

There’s a myth that the best recruitment firms are based in London, and specifically in the West End.

A search firm is made up of two components, its reputation and its people – and the latter is by far the most important today, on this assignment, for that client. But few of the best consultants actually live in London, either because they don’t want to, they can’t afford too, or they have moved out to the suburbs with their families and for better schooling. So what?

So the recruiter talent pool is 30 minutes from town, alongside many of the best candidates – for just the same reasons. This is great news for companies thriving in the commuter belt who want to benefit.

Virtual recruitment has arrived.

We have seen an increase in the number high quality candidates who no longer want to work in “the smoke” and who now want to work locally, even if the rewards are slightly lower (and not all are, by any means, especially when you add back travelling time and costs).

We have launched an initiative “Are you hiring in the Sevenoaks area” as our first foray into a proposition that local companies want to hire high quality candidates through best practice recruitment processes from an established search firm, at local prices.

It’s a win/win all round. Follow this link and call us to find out more.… Read the rest

May '14

This Recovery is No Joke

A recruitment consultant, a banker and a restructuring professional went into a bar…….. It was 08.00 one morning at a networking event in a “True Blue” market town.

“How is your world?” asked the recruitment consultant of the restructuring professional.

“Well, it’s been busier; it’s very quiet really, in fact it has been for about 5 or 6 years.  We hardly ever get a company that’s gone bust now. We do occasionally get called in to offer advice on how a business can restructure itself and its debt to stop it going under, but there’s nothing really wrong with the company.”

They turned to the banker, “How’s banking?”

“Quiet really” said the new manager from Challenger Bank. “We are mostly refinancing debt and overdrafts from the big 4, and we only take the better ones – most customers are stockpiling cash still, I’ve not been asked to lend to help expansion for some time now.”

Enquiring eyes turned to the executive recruitment consultant hoping for better news.

“My slice of the market is quiet still; companies are only doing ‘must do’ projects; so compliance, legal and regulatory – very little ‘business enhancement’ or ‘transformation’. At senior levels, when an opportunity comes along, people are reluctant to move; in spite of the so called cost of living crisis people are backing the devil they know.”

So how does this conversation, which really did take place, account for 1m new businesses, a fall in unemployment, the creation of 1m new jobs and a fledgling recovery?… Read the rest

Dec '13

Merry Christmas

Burden Dare wishes all its customers and candidates a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Between Monday 23rd December and Thursday 2nd January our trusty mobile phones will be with us and we will pick up and respond to urgent emails and voice messages.

We hope you all have a happy and peaceful Christmas.… Read the rest

Dec '13

The I’s have it!

There’s no “I” in team. Oh yes there is….there it is, it’s hiding in the “A”.

For years executive coaches have been preaching that team work is a collaboration of individuals contributing equally towards a common goal; all pull together, no shining stars. Individuals?

But is that the only sort of team, and of course that may be just the sort of team you need, especially if you are “coxing an Eight” in the Olympics? After all, you couldn’t have the rowers on one side much stronger than the others, or you’d go round in circles! Equals.

If you manage a rugby union team, you need everyone working in perfect harmony, replacements need to be “identikit” Centurion clones; the defensive line has to be strong, one weak link, one missed tackle, one slow joiner and you lose a try; think of what made Clive Woodward a Sir and that wonderful World Cup winning side, they laid their lives on the line for each other in that final – one common goal, one common game-plan, win that game and immortality beckons.  It may be harsh to argue but that side didn’t really have individual flair, just well drilled people, each doing their job to perfection – even Jonny Wilkinson and his metronomic kicking. As one.

A top four Premier League football manager, on the other hand, will want his team to be so familiar with each other’s natural style of play, as if there is some telepathic link between players for that hint of genius, a ghosted flick or a deft run that will unpick the most stubborn of defences; something Liverpool clearly have in their SaS (Suarez and Sturridge) and Spurs clearly currently lack in their own collection of expensive individuals.… Read the rest

Jun '13

Real World Corporate Sustainability

Chatting with Gavan the other day, I was confronted with the issue of how sustainability can mean different things to different people. Indeed, in a previous blog (15th October 2012) Gavan made the point that a development can be seen as sustainable by one expert and very unsustainable by another. Does this mean that sustainability professionals run the risk of being as contrary as economists or is there an “absolutely common global agenda”?

I think the answer is that for some aspects of sustainability, there are globally accepted answers while for others, the agenda is still being formed. This can make it difficult for businesses to know what to do. However, a lot of companies have started down this road and others can learn from them. There are now a few widely accepted frameworks that can help set a company’s sustainability agenda. The best known is the Global Reporting Index (GRI), which is run by a not-for-profit organisation (www.globalreporting.org). There are also the requirements set for the London Stock Exchange’s FTSE4Good Index and by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

Using one of these frameworks as a guide can help companies plot a course towards sustainability but before we look at one of them in more detail, let’s go back to what sustainability means business. Start by thinking about what you business will need to still be thriving in 50 years time.… Read the rest

Jun '13

Sustainability Rules

It must be something to do with the Summer months (well, it’s Wimbledon, at least) and clients are stepping up their interest in sustainability.

It seems that with many Government Quangos, such as the Care Quality Commission, appearing to fall at the first hurdle of understanding and quantifying their basic mission there is renewed interest in defining what a sustainable organisation is and how it can operate.

With that in mind Burden Dare asked Martin Gibson, an experienced practitioner in delivering sustainability programmes, to share his thoughts and experiences in how to set a basic framework within which a company can successfully operate in a sustainable way.  Read his article here.

Please contact us if you would like more information… Read the rest

Mar '13

Oligarch of the Flies

One of the first pieces of advice I am always asked to give a client is how to announce an interim manager.

And mostly the concern is that the interim can be effective, which roughly translates as how do you make sure they have the appropriate authority; the flip side of that is how does a client make sure they do NOT undermine the interim’s authority. Interims cost money, clients wants results.

I always say…”It’s easy, just don’t duck it.  You announce them, you tell the workforce they are interim, you tell the workforce the interim has absolute authority, and you back the interim”.  OK, so you know where this is, going.

The world is full of interim football managers; David Pleat a couple of times for Spurs, and then some Chelsea ones such as Guus Hiddink, Avram Grant, Roberto di Matteo; oh, wait, we seem to have a theme.

So, Rafa was hired and announced as an interim…and… then nothing; so that’s when it all went wrong.  The same permanent employees who have undermined countless full time managers in the past were not told who’s boss, again.  It is arguable whether they have EVER been told who the boss is since the departure or the Special One but the interesting thing is that we didn’t hear of issues with other interim managers, just the permanent ones!  … Read the rest

Feb '13

Caveat Emptor – The Bulls Are Back In Town

This somewhat superseded phrase “Let the buyer beware” used to relate to the purchase of goods and particularly a warning about a “warts and all” acquisition, but it might now be resurrected for use in the recruitment world where hiring managers think they can still drive down prices.

The Government now trumpets 500,000 jobs created in the last year though the statistics are being argued about as to whether they are real paid jobs or not.  Business confidence has not been at its highest in the last 12 months but a recent QCA/BDO survey suggests 79% of small and mid-cap companies expect growth in excess of 11% in 2013 and 56% expect to increase their headcount in the same time-frame.  Only one third are pessimistic about the UK economy which mean that two thirds are neutral or optimistic; 72% are bullish about their own prospects.  At last, the glass is now more than half full!

Our own experience is that the market is sufficiently buoyant for candidates to be selective about which job to accept; yes there are multiple job offers about again!  So, when a candidate stipulates a baseline salary they really need, it looks like they mean it now.  Caveat Emptor.… Read the rest

Dec '12

One Man Band Stand

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills published reports two years apart on the number of businesses in the UK:-

The most interesting aspect of the statistics concerns the number of “sole trader” companies in existence, to which can be added a decent proportion of the 2+ companies as people bring their spouses or partners in to help with administration and take advantage of the tax breaks.

The headline news is that the number of those businesses increased by 57,500 to 550,530 whilst their average billings fell by £21k.  Not all of these will be interim managers because builders, gardeners, journalists, writers, BBC non-employees and sundry public servants will also be included in these numbers, but there are some interesting statistical observations to make.

  • Average day rates for this group of people in 2010 was between £774 (assuming 220 days worked) and £1064 (assuming 160 days worked), average billings were £170k
  • Average day rates for this group of people in 2012 was between £677 (assuming 220 days worked) and £930 (assuming 160 days worked), average billings were £149k
  • The number of people in this group increased by 11.6% whilst the average day rate decreased by 12.5% during the same period; that’s about par
  • If only 10% of these people entered the Executive Interim Management market then the pool of interim candidates roughly doubled over two years.
Read the rest

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