Alexis Van Aelst has been a Freelance Communication Manager for 8 years and joined the Minds&More network in 2014. Throughout his career, he has been involved in numerous communication projects in very different corporate structures and environments. In this article, Alexis talks about his experience and shares his tips on how to easily and quickly overcome the integration hurdle, a recurrent step in the path of an Interim Manager.
I always start from the perspective that there are no problematic situations. An Interim Manager who starts in a company has to help it to perform better and reach its objective, in my case those related to Marcom projects. As a freelancer, Companies are expecting you to be operational very quickly and to perform on the first day spent at the Company. Very often, the most difficult task is not just to fill the position, but to understand the company’s dynamics and the roles played by the different actors. And of course that’s also what makes the job of an interim manager fascinating.
You generally enter two kinds of structures: small to medium companies, mainly made up of employees where everyone knows each other, and big companies, where you are generally incorporated into a mass workforce.
Situation 1. Small to Medium companies
You can be the only freelancer in the business and, as the company is often managing smaller budgets, a lot is expected from you in terms of the ROI you can generate: every minute of your time counts.
Situation 2. Big Companies
You might be a bit lost in the flow of employees and have a hard time finding your way around. In this scope, you have to understand exactly your role, your field of work and how you can bring added value without impeding on your new colleagues’ field of action.
What should you do to adapt quickly and efficiently to a new company?
Here are 8 simple tips that I’ve learnt during my various assignments
- Take the time to understand the tools and the processes of your new environment
- Have status meetings with colleagues; get to know who they are and what role they play
- Set up tools to have an overview of projects that are ongoing
- Listen to people before acting
- Analyse the scope of the project in-depth
- Set long-term and short-term KPI’s and objectives
- Avoid rushing in: you’ll be more effective by taking the time to really understand the projects
- Communicate clearly about what you are doing and on the progress of the projects
Help the company adapt to you
In the end, it’s all about being confident about yourself and letting the company know who they are working with. Invest yourself in the company and take the time to connect with the people and build relationships built on trust.