Writing as an unrepentant baseball fan, I was watching that glorious Game 6 World series game and Tony LaRussa’s Merlin-like mastery of his relief pitchers’ for specific challenges in order to gain the pivotal win. As a reminder, LaRussa designed and used the entire bullpen with speed and aplomb to meet specific challenges, where the relief pitchers were used for particular needs (i.e. using a left hander to get a left handing hitter or bringing in a sinker ball pitcher to get a double play). It struck me that the relief pitcher was in effect a forerunner of the use of interim management. The use of the relief pitcher to the degree LaRussa did in a key situational role in this World Series has rarely been seen, but will be in the future. Thus we saw in baseball a major paradigm shift of game management strategy that will be adopted in order for the team to "seal the win", which is the objective in both baseball and business.
Business leadership has traditionally looked to interim management when faced with unexpected business situations, much like a baseball manager uses relief pitchers to deal with an immediate issue. The model for interim executive management is to fill short term vacancies, take on projects or mentor staff. This should now be looked at in a much broader and strategic way in that the interim managers can be used to aid the company in delivering situational skills and experience by upgrading the executive team on a short term basis without having a short term event trigger the hire of an interim executive. This role can be titled Executive Advisor and can be aligned where the work is focused.
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