Compass Clinical Consulting Consultant

What’s the Difference Between an Interim Leader and Consultant?

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It is five o’clock on Friday, and you are happy to see an end to a rough week. You’ve been in meetings most of the week because the organization is not achieving its budget or clinical outcome goals, and, the hospital is expecting a CMS survey due to a publicized patient complaint, at any time.

No Succession Plan, No Leadership, Now What?

In the midst of this, the director of the inpatient care was terminated because they were not enforcing the hospital’s rules. Unfortunately, there is no succession plan. With no leadership, the staff is in disarray and more focused on the confusion than their work.

What’s the Difference?

An interim leader is needed immediately—but how should you proceed? You remember that you have a choice between finding an interim manager or a professional management consultant. What’s the difference and how should a leader make a choice?

Interim Managers Fill a Void

Hospitals typically hire interim managers to fill a leadership void when a director leaves abruptly. Often, the initial response is to go shopping for an interim manager to fill the vacancy. But having a vacancy may not be the real problem. When a management void occurs, it’s time to stop and analyze what the problem really is, what changes are needed, and the type of leadership required address the current situation.

With the pressures on the bottom line, organizations need to assure that labor dollars are wisely spent. Yet many organizations react by hiring an interim manager to fill the position, maintain the quality the status quo, and keep the employees in check—and if things are going well, that is all that may be required.

However, if large-scale cultural and process changes are needed to improve the quality of patient care and meet financial goals, a professional management consultant is a much better value option because interim managers often just “babysit” the organization and avoid dealing with the conflict that is inherent in driving change.

Professional Management Consultants Change, Transform an Organization

Professional management consultants don’t just fill a void,—consultants are change agents. They thrive on implementing transformational change that leaves the organization in much better place than when they arrived. Professional management consultants offer well-developed skills that are necessary for implementing change, including project planning and management, strong written and oral communication, and model building and testing. An important duty of the professional management consultant is to challenge the status quo and introduce new frameworks for thinking. These consultants quickly integrate into the organization and perform a broad assessment of people and processes, draw conclusions, and formulate a plan for change. They are trained to recognize resistance, which is commonly present in these situations, and build it into their planning.

Once a comprehensive plan is developed, the professional management consultant coaches employees through its implementation, provides them with feedback, and cultivates their talents, so they will be able to continue to improve systems and sustain changes long after the professional management consultant is gone.

All hospitals need every single dollar spent to add value to the organization. But value is determined by the cost of meeting the need. As Machiavelli wrote in the 15th century,

“Never waste the opportunities offered by a good crisis.”

Good Leaders Look for Transformational Change Opportunities

Good leaders look for the opportunity challenges afford, in this case, transformational change. So, when the need is to transform a department’s operations, hospital leaders will be able to tell if they got their money’s worth from their interim leader if the staff have adopted new frameworks and sustainable processes, doing things differently and more effectively than they have historically done, and are ultimately better prepared to address tomorrow’s challenges.

Contact:

For more information on Interim Healthcare Professionals contact HAguas@Compass-clinical.com, call 800-241-0142 or use our contact form below.