What Is an Interim Manager and Do You Need One?

A number of factors are forcing businesses to transform and incorporate new trends at an unprecedented rate. Disruptive technology, new agile business models and changing working practices are all contributing to this shift.

According to Mike Fisher, Director at Adastrum Consulting, it is against this backdrop that we have witnessed an increase in demand for interim managers, particularly in the private sector. In fact, the Institute of Interim Managers Survey 2018 found that 28% forecast growth in private sector demand in 2019.

Key benefits of using an interim manager

An interim manager is a temporary hire, designed for an individual with management expertise and significant experience in driving change. Interim managers can help organisations through a period of change or transformation, provide stability and support to companies following a departure of a senior leader, or offer qualified expertise that a business may not have internally.

Key benefits of using an interim manager include:

  1. Experience
    With vast of experience across various companies, interim managers are typically overqualified for the role, which they need to be to hit the ground running and make an impact straight away.
  2. Outcomes
    Interim managers are outcome focused and success is measured by results. They are delivery and implementation driven.
  3. Flexibility
    Interim managers join only for as long as they are needed, with no on-boarding or exit costs. They leave when their job is complete.
  4. Independence
    Having no previous history with the business means they can look at the situation with objectivity and clarity. Their views will be based on evidence / facts and objectives.
  5. Stakeholder engagement
    How they deliver is important, they have excellent people skills and go about delivery in a quietly effective manner.
  6. Knowledge transfer
    Knowledge and skills transfer is a key part of each engagement, leaving a legacy of people, systems and processes in place and handing over on project conclusion.

When’s best to use an interim manager?

When used appropriately, an interim manager is a hugely effective tool, though businesses need to ensure that they are harnessing their expertise in the right way.

Business culture continually changes and many are unable to commit to a permanent hire. Interim managers can fill an urgent gap, bringing specialist skill sets, energy, independence and a fresh view.

Mandates from clients generally fall into two categories:

  • Covering for a temporary absence
  • Leading the implementatiion and delivery of a programme change

Since reviewing our engagements over the last five years, around 75% fall into the last category. Interim managers brought in with a delivery focus and specific objective.

Typical engagements include:

  • Manage the implementation and migration to a new finance system
  • Drive the implementation of a Governance, Compliance or Remediation programme
  • Deliver the integration or divestment of a business
  • Lead and deliver a major organisational restructure
  • Execute the implementation of Platform As A Service
  • Specialist data analytics expertise
  • Execute a business acquisition
  • Specialist EA expertise
  • Lead cloud technology transformation

Getting the most out of your interim manager

Before seeking a interim manager, you must have clear objectives. What outcome are you looking for? What is your idea of success?

Businesses tend to shy away from being honest about the position their business is currently in. It is important to note that interim managers thrive on challenge. The bigger the challenge the better! Their aim is to leave an organisation having left a positive impact, so do be open about your current position. Provide as much insight into your business as you can to make the most out of the time your interim manager spends at your business.

Work with a specialist consultancy and look into your current situation, the business problem and understand your objectives before doing anything.

With the right approach, introducing the idea of interim manages can be the key difference between getting ahead of the competition or lagging behind.

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