Interim Management – What is it?
As I’ve recently joined Core Talent Recruitment to help develop an Interim Management offering I felt it worthwhile to raise a couple of points which commonly come up in the conversations that I have with colleagues, clients and indeed candidates regarding what interim management is and how it benefits a client. Whilst the notes below are aimed at giving an overview they are by no means designed to be exhaustive (otherwise we’d be here all week!).
Interim assignments may vary vastly in their size, content and levels of complexity but in general terms tend to involve change management, project management or some kind of turnaround activity. By the very nature of the change or project being undertaken, their duration is finite, has definite start+ing and finishing points although may last anywhere from a few weeks to many months. These assignments may be associated with things like mergers or acquisitions or large scale systems implementation. Interim Management is defined by The Institute of Interim Management (IIM) as “. . . .the provision of effective business solutions by an independent, board or near-board level manager or executive, over a finite time span. Such complex solutions may include change, transformation and turnaround management, business improvement, crisis management and strategy development.”
The individuals who deliver interim assignments typically operate at a very senior level usually having held director level roles and may be considered somewhat over-qualified for the roles they take on. They bring with them skills, expertise and knowledge to client organisations which may not be available in-house often in relation to very specific issues or circumstances being encountered. The very fact that interim managers are over-qualified for the job serves to assure successful delivery and helps to mitigate risk and realise return on investment. Furthermore the seniority of interim managers also brings a level of credibility which in its self facilitates their ability to effect significant change within a business.
This may sound obvious but interim managers are not permanent employees. They are engaged for a very specific reason and hence do not get involved with company politics. The main objective of the interim manager is successful delivery of benefits and what’s best for a client company – rather than what a permanent employee feels that their colleagues, line manager or director might want or what is perceived as being best for their own career. They are able to do this frankly and honestly as independent operators without having to be subjected to the management pressures often associated with the wider business. Unlike a temp, their role is not simply to manage “business as usual” but to actively add value to a client business – even if the decisions made are difficult ones.
Similar to consultancy, interim managers often initially operate in an advisory capacity, analysing the client business and the issues facing it before formulating a structured and considered action plan. Interim management however differs from consultancy in that an interim manager will also take on full responsibility and accountability for the management and delivery of the plan and the results associated with it.
Interim managers are highly professional and utterly committed to the assignment in hand. Their future assignments may depend upon referrals and references based on successful delivery for their clients. Not only are interim managers able to join a business at very short notice (often days as opposed to weeks or months), they are also adept at engaging swiftly with clients and able to recognise the stakeholders who are key to the success of the project.
In summary, whilst Interim Management is often incorrectly regarded by the uninitiated as a “temporary employment solution” or “something to keep you busy between real jobs”, it is actually a recognised professional career option and a valuable and powerful resource for client companies.
August 17, 2012 | Share: