Long Time Industry Leader Shares Insights about Interim Leadership

Our industry is experiencing a high number of senior level retirements and other types of vacancies, and it’s becoming harder to find qualified people to fill these positions. Therefore, we’re getting a lot of questions about Interim Leadership, and so we thought we’d share with you this Q+A with long time industry leader, Eileen Freitag, who directs Fazzi’s Interim Leadership program.

Q: What types of situations cause agencies to consider engaging an Interim Leader?
A: We’ve seen many different scenarios including short term leave of absences; maternity leaves; retirements and other vacancies when there is no internal candidate to fill the job; retirements and other vacancies when none of the internal candidates are the right fit; and situations when the agency is underperforming and a key manager leaves either voluntarily or involuntarily.

Q: What positions has Fazzi filled in the past?
A: We have placed Interim Leaders in these positions: CEO, COO, Clinical Director, Director of Patient Services, Director of Quality, Clinical Manager and Billing Manager.

Q: Can you share specific examples of how agencies have utilized Fazzi’s Interim Leaders? 
A: In one agency, the CEO left on short notice for medical reasons while in the midst of software selection and negotiation with a therapy vendor. Our Interim CEO steered both projects to successful conclusion, and additionally, the agency experienced increases in staff retention and productivity.

A: We’ve had many situations in which agencies’ performance was in decline at the time of the CEO’s departure. In these instances, our Interim Leaders have conducted assessments and developed turnaround plans to fix problems and stabilize the organization so that the new incoming Leader starts with a clean slate. In many of these instances the agency found it easier to find permanent candidates for a stable organization instead of needing to find someone with turnaround skills.

A: In other scenarios, agencies have engaged Fazzi’s Interim Leaders to mentor a new executive – especially if they’ve come from outside of home health or hospice.

Q: Who are Fazzi’s Interim Leaders?
A: Our Interim Leaders are people who have retired early, have had successful track records in home health and/or hospice and still love the field and want the opportunity to take shorter term assignments (up to one year). They love the adventure of coming into an agency, quickly assessing the needs, and developing and executing a plan for results. They understand that often times, staff have been through a lot of stress when they’ve lost a leader that they knew and respected. Our Interim Leaders are skilled at balancing the need for sensitivity to this as well as the need to make changes to improve the performance of the agency.

Q: What is the process of getting an Interim Leader placed? 
A: We start with an in depth discussion about the client’s needs; i.e. the duties of the position, specific challenges the agency is facing, the characteristics of the agency and specific qualities and/or skills the client wants this person to have. From there we will send a potential candidate for the client to review. Our goal is to find someone that has the skills needed with the least possible travel time and expense.

If you’d like to speak with Eileen further about Fazzi’s Interim Leadership program, please contact us.