Dorothée Baude founded Reactive Executive in 2012. Introducing her interim management firm and the challenges of this business, she also tells us about her story.

How did you come up with the idea of an interim management firm?

I have known since I was 26 that I would create my own company. After working for 8 years in several major companies, I felt I no longer had my place in its. The processes and decision-making were so lengthy that I was focusing all my energy on reports, presentations and moving projects forward.
Then, two years later, I got the idea to create an interim management firm while I was working for the interim management department of an American firm. I instantly fell in love with the job. It just made sense to me. Interim managers are not after power. They are project managers who can work on assignments at short notice. They possess a candidness and a freedom of action that I saw in myself.

Did your academic degree prepare you for your new career?

Yes and no.
My master’s degree in industrial management enabled me to develop an overall corporate vision and acquire an understanding of industry.
I also have a specialized master’s degree in entrepreneurship from Grenoble School of Management, which provided me with the tools necessary to create, take over, turn around and assess companies. It was a tremendous learning experience and one that gives me a wide perspective of the issues in my field.
That said, no degree can teach you how to do this job. It can’t be learned from books. It’s innate. The same goes for the partners of any interim management firm. You have to know how to help your managers and your clients, find projects and build a road map.
You have to know how to listen as well as be a source of ideas. And that is something that I don’t think my schooling taught me. Learning-by-doing is the best education you can get!

How would you sum up Reactive Executive?

Responsive! Reactive Executive is a flexible structure where freedom, creativity, performance, transparency, fun, trust, and a flat hierarchy are found.
Reactive Executive assists its clients in France and abroad by:

  • Offering a tailor-made approach
  • Matching their needs and specific situations
  • Finding the right interim manager for their needs.

How does one become an interim manager?

Many unemployed senior executives consider going into the field of interim management because they think the job prospects are high. But not everyone can be an interim manager.
A good interim manager is measured by their behavior, candidness, efficiency, independence and autonomy. They do not work for the company she is assigned to. They just do their job then goes on their way. They thus needs to be a true entrepreneur and not be afraid of “getting her hands dirty.”

Why do companies need interim managers?

Companies often lack the internal skills and time to successfully implement a project.
They rely on us to provide those skills. We provide a top-tier team of interim managers to carry out assignments related to the project at hand or to fill a specific skills gap in a company.

What kind of assignments do they usually conduct?

Most of their assignments consist of:

  • Corporate restructuring (employment protection plans, etc.)
  • Crisis management
  • Strategic project management
  • Change management
  • Cost-cutting programs
  • Performance improvement
  • Manager replacement
  • Mergers and acquisitions

Our strength is that we know how to adapt to the market and skills necessary to meet our clients’ needs.

What makes a good interim manager?

Someone who is apolitical, independent, autonomous, versatile, efficient, an entrepreneur and a true leader!

Do you have any valuable advice for future interim managers?

Don’t forget to relax while working on a project. The pressure, stakes and commitments are so high that it’s important, from time to time, to take a step back. It’s the best way to make the best possible decisions within a limited time.

Finally, do you have an interesting story you can tell us about something that has happened in our career? Perhaps a success story you would like to share?

A success story? Why, Reactive Executive!
I always thought that being an apolitical woman and a member of Generation Y was a hurdle in the corporate world. Now, I realize that it is actually an asset. My clients trust me because of my responsiveness and transparency.

Interview by Léa Cirotteau, Community Manager at My RH Community

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