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UK – Corporate agility in the boardroom and what Interims can do about it

28 May 2012

At APSCo’s recent Interim Management Business Forum, the importance of interims became prevalent after it was revealed that boardroom effectiveness seems to suffer in the UK.

The Forum discussed the latest research by Andrew Kakabadse, Professor of International Management Development at Cranfield University who is investigating boardroom efficiency. He said that the reason companies often break down is largely due to a lack of engagement and alignment at board level. 

Mr Kakabadse believes that individuals will reach a tipping point after five years as his research discovered that boards are inefficient when board members fail to communicate with each other. His study shows that UK organisations appear to be faring worse than in other countries. It found that 80% of directors were unsure of other board members’ activity, and were also unable to clearly explain the value proposition of the company on whose board they sat. According to him, this could be explained by the fact that in the UK, directors tend to sit on many boards while in Australia, for example, directors only sit on three or four.

But he argues that interim management professionals can assist with this problem as they do not have their own career progression within the company set out as a priority. He believes interims are in an “excellent position” to achieve the missing alignment and engagement at board level.

“What is clear from this Business Forum is the real need for interims to act as the driving force for change within organisations across the globe, but often we need to be looking at cultural fit – not functional fit and that can’t be done from accessing a database,” said Ann Swain, CEO of APSCo.

“The more process we add to an assignment at this level – the less likely we are to find the right person. Interims translate what end users want into what they actually need so we’re not just looking for particular skill sets – we’re looking for the right organisational fit. Consequently, it is crucial that interim professionals, end users, and interim providers work even more closely together to ensure that the best interims for the job are hired  and for the right reasons.”

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