With Ben Ainslie’s recent victory in the Americas Cup, Alium’s Managing Partner Mike Hollin sees a direct parallel between the sailing success and knowing when to call in an interim.

So you find yourself on the proverbial ropes 8-1 down in the America’s Cup. What should you do? Panic? Give up? Or call for the ultimate interim - Sir Ben Ainslie. His specialist skills, knowledge and experience gained in his stellar career to date made him the ideal choice to turn around the fortunes of Oracle Team USA – and I have seen much the same picture over the years in businesses as well.

When to Call in an Interim? When You Need Courage and Conviction

The Oracle Management Team made the right call in bringing him in with one express outcome - to win the America’s Cup. Having your aim or goal clear is always key no matter what the environment. The team had the courage and conviction to change course and the rest as they say is history. This resulted in one of the biggest turnarounds in sporting history (since that Ashes series in 1981) and the existing team definitely delivered the results - but with that secret ingredient - the specialist skills of an interim.

Business Parallels

One could make a case for bringing him sooner, perhaps even when 7-1 down but the parallels with business are clear. If you are staring failure in the face, do not admire the view - do something about it.

Turnaround skills exist and the demand for them is increasing apace. From my own health sector (frenetically busy currently), to fields such as HR, IT, Transformation or Education, the need for that injection of skills into a business to deliver the desired outcomes remains.

So although the change may seem difficult, I advocate bravery - be brave like Team Oracle USA - and make that call. Known when to call in an interim to turn that situation around.


What kind of situations have you entered a business in and what have been the outcomes as a result of your arrival? Share your experience with our interim community below.

photo credit:Dansk Sejlunion cc

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