Do You Need to Take an Interim Pill?
October 20, 2016
When you are not taking medication, you are not aware of its potential benefits. You might have been suffering in silence for a while, but without a visit to the doctor for a diagnosis, you will be blissfully unaware of the potential remedies available to you. You might have a friend who started on a simple course of treatment that changed their life, and that could persuade you to investigate matters, but otherwise our default setting is to muddle along regardless.
Working as a recruiter in the life science industry, this is an example that my clients will understand well, yet not all of them might see the relevance in terms of their business.
I work with some of the best interims in the pharmaceutical industry, at varying levels across multiple disciplines, parachuting them into client businesses when they have a requirement. Many people see interims as a measure only to be deployed in an emergency, but as all medical practitioners know, it is best to treat an illness as soon as symptoms present themselves. When interims are used as a strategic or tactical resource for a business, the long-term health of the business is vastly improved. It should be said that interims are not only deployed at board level – many of our interim roles are at the pharmaceutical coal face.
The “gig economy” is transforming the careers of experienced pharma professionals, who thrive on sharing their skills and knowledge with a portfolio of clients. An interim career can be lucrative for any given individual, but only the “best of the best” are able to carve their own niche in the long term. The variety and scope of their experience in different roles adds a unique dimension for their employers, and working with an external interim often gives the wider team a boost of objective expertise, free from internal politics and focussed on the optimal result rather than advancing their career.
Taking on an interim is very much like taking a pill. You have an understanding of the impact that they will have, and you have a reasonable expectation of results because of their previous track record. Take a (tried and tested) interim pill and you will see the difference. Of course, as with every business decision, there are the occasional side effects, but in that rare case there are few ramifications, and you can simply stop the course of treatment.
Why, therefore, do more businesses not utilise this model of employment more? It is true to say that it has increased in the wake of the recession, and as communications technology facilitates remote working, it will increase yet further, but I still find myself explaining the basics to many clients who haven’t had an interim in for a while.
I realise that I sound like a medical representative, who is trying to push his line of medication, but I sincerely want my clients to improve their businesses. As with medication, once you have understood the results, you will wonder why you didn’t try it earlier.
I am always happy to have a chat with people to discuss the impact of an interim for their businesses. Like going to a doctor, you never know until you have that visit and eventual diagnosis.