The New CTO: Chief Transformation Officer – Daniel Burrus – Harvard Business Review

English: Figure 1. Model of the Ergo-Transform...

English: Figure 1. Model of the Ergo-Transformation Process (ETP) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is an excellent, MUST READ, article from the Harvard Business Review.

The New CTO: Chief Transformation Officer – Daniel Burrus – Harvard Business Review.

As a former specialist in business transformation, I very much endorse the article. In my judgement, effective transformation has often been curtailed by technology having too much power in the board room.

I wonder if this article will prompt consultants and executive interim managers to quickly sprinkle their CV with the CTrO acronym? I predict a new trend!

I am proud to have been a successful executive interim director in the golden age of the industry before the imposters arrived.

In case you are interested here are the links to some of my earlier blogs on executive interim management which had a large number of hits:

  1. Interim Management:  Ten Emerging Trends and Outlook for the Future
  2. What’s the difference between an Interim Manager and a Management Consultant?
  3. The Death of the Interim Management Industry? – Part 1
  4. The Death of the Interim Management Industry – Part 2 – Response from John Gelmini
  5. The Death of the Interim Management Industry – Part 3 – Additional Responses

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The Death of the Interim Management Industry – Part 3 – Additional Responses

English: A map of Continental Europe.

English: A map of Continental Europe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is my third blog entitled The Death of the Interim Management Industry. The second blog shares John Gelmini’s viewpoint. In this blog, I introduce additional feedback. Again, I shall post a few words at the end.


Rodney Willett

Thank you for this, Alf. it really does highlight an important issue. I know we do not agree on all matters and I am not sure you would go along with this but – – – the smaller the scales of buying the less likelihood there is of monumental errors and so one prong of the fork should be to rethink the size and scale of projects wherever possible. The other is to remember that buying is a skill which should be utilised BUT there must be adequate communication between the buyer and those for whom he/she is acting. It is not always so – and is often made worse by constant tinkering with specifications and requirements.

Adam Blackie

 In the past 10 years, I have been engaged on at least three assignments where the manager responsible for the recruitment has engaged me through the official contractual partner as a sub-contractor. i.e. I have networked and used my contacts and reputation to source an assignment, BUT the manager responsible has been prevented by a corporate procurement policy from engaging me directly. Therefore he/she is obliged to use the indirect route.

All this is OK because everyone is happy.

The downside of course is that in each case a director level manager in a government department has been prevented from appointing an appropriate resource at the most effective rate.

Did you guess that the indirect route in each case involved a procurement system partner adding their margin onto my fees, once as high as 30%, for doing nothing? When viewed in isolation like this the policy makes no sense. When taken as a whole for the organisation it may do so.

French Viewpoint (shared anonymously)

I’m an emigrant, having left the UK in January 1998. Worked in Germany until 2003. Moved to France in 2004. In 2010, at age 56, I took the leap, volunteered for redundancy, and set up as an Interim. I had done my research and, being internationally mobile, was content that given hard work and my substantial database of contacts, I could drum up enough business to keep the wolf from the door. Within a month of  going live, I had my first contract. Within the first year though, I betrayed my new calling and accepted an offer of permanent employment.

Although I follow the IM Industry, I felt it inappropriate to enter the debates or make more than the very occasional comment. I am, after all, a traitor and inexperienced in the world of career interims.

What you, John and Rodney wrote has an awful ring of truth. Which is very, very sad.

I still get the occasional call or email asking if I am available for interim assignments. From Norway to SEA to the US. Never from the UK. It strikes me that mainland Europe is still much more open to Interim Management than the UK. “Interim” seems to be much more loosely defined in mainland Europe.

I fully understand that, of the thousands of “real” Interims in the UK, there will be many who cannot afford to take assignments where income is uncertain and performance related. But for some, it may well be an alternative to “life on the bench, financial erosion, madness and eventual death.”


These further comments highlight three important points for me, concerning:

  1. Public Sector Procurement
  2. Agencies/Intermediaries
  3. Major consulting firms

Public Sector procurement, ultimately the responsibility of the UK  Cabinet Office continues to be ineffective and compares very poorly with Best Practice in the Private Sector.

Additionally, the employment agencies and major consulting firms seem to have too much power, in my view, with their very effective lobbying. Surely, there is the case for an independent inquiry?

Perhaps, there is also a case for seeking some protection under EU legislation?

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? All views welcome..

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