Ccentric Interview with Michael Kalimnios
What were the characteristics that primarily attracted you to an interim role?
I had just finished a long-term permanent position and I was looking to try something different. It was an opportunity for me to explore a role and see what it was like and give me some flexibility in terms of future opportunities. This was the first Interim role I decided to take on.
How long was your interim project?
It started as a 3-month project, but I have now reached month number 7.
Was it difficult for you to extend giving that you had only planned to be there for just 3 months?
Having the extra time allowed me to do a few more things in terms in reforms. I have got to know the business better and from a selfish point of view, it allowed me to develop my own skills in areas that I hadn’t previously been exposed to.
I am in the second half of my career looking to do things differently and explore a bit more, so the extension was very suitable for myself. If I had children or a partner to think about my decision may have been more difficult.
Do you find it challenging to adapt to a new role in the time-frame you are given?
It is the main challenge when taking on an interim role as you must come in to an organisation and get to know the place, the people and what they do in a very short space of time. At the end of 3 months is probably when you are just starting to completely understand the place. The positive part about the short time-frame is being thrown into the deep end and learning to deal with daily challenges. If you like to be challenged, it can serve a sense of adrenaline.
Have you encountered any other challenges within your interim position that you may not have experienced having been in a permanent role?
The major issue is making sure that you don’t rely on the fact that you aren’t going to be there in a few months’ time. You need to go in with the mindset that you are going to be in that job permanently, otherwise there is the risk of thinking “oh well, I won’t be here in a few months, so I won’t worry about that, or I won’t do this…”. There is a big difference to just being there and keeping the seat warm to adding value to the organisation.
Do you believe that an interim role can serve as an opportunity for personal growth?
Absolutely! That was one of the main attractions for me. Learning and being exposed to different things and constantly challenging yourself. At the end of the day in an interim role, if it doesn’t work out you can move on and if it does, then you’ve gained invaluable experience.
Did you worry that an interim position would negatively affect your future careers?
I was at a stage in my career where I had already done what I had done, and I wanted to experience new things, so for me it wasn’t a concern.
What was it like moving interstate for an interim position?
You can challenge yourself but at the same time you’re not locked into anything so there is a lot less pressure when deciding to move short-term.
As working in an interim role is a new experience for yourself, what advice would you give to someone who was thinking of taking on an interim position?
My number 1 piece of advice is to make sure you are there for the right reasons. You need to think about what value you are going to get out of it and when you get in to the role, try and achieve that. It is also about enjoying the experience – interim roles allow you to experience a different lifestyle.
What do you believe is the biggest different between an interim role and a permanent position, other than the time-frame?
I think the biggest difference is the sense of freedom. You can experience learning and development. Once you are in a permanent role there are certain questions about maintaining and improving on what you need to do.
Do you see interim work as a long-term solution?
Potentially, the interesting thing is, I have got to know the idea of interim. Vision Eye are recruiting for a permanent candidate and I need to decide whether I want to apply. That is the advantage – you get to try before you buy. If I don’t pursue the permanent role, I will be more than happy to do another interim role, it has been a good experience for me.
Michael Kalimnios has been the Interim CFO at Vision Eye Institute since September 2018. Prior to this position, Ccentric also placed Michael as the Chief Operating Officer at Top End Health Service.