Interim Management Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

 

What is Interim Management?

Interim Management is the rapid delivery of experienced, seasoned, 'hands on' executives for a defined period of time enabling organizations to implement change, fill unexpected gaps in a company, restructure the organization, turn around underperforming organizations or deliver a critical project. It is increasingly acknowledged as one of the most flexible and immediately effective resourcing solutions for instant access to top talent and a powerful alternative to traditional resourcing and consultancy solutions.

Who are Interim Managers?

Interim Managers are experienced, highly qualified, hands-on, seasoned, pragmatic executives with the wisdom, skills and abilities to deliver an immediate and lasting impact.

They have a track record of taking initiative, are organizationally aware, with excellent leadership, management and communication skills. Interim Managers differ from consultants because they assume executive responsibility with a clear mandate to act on the client's behalf. They are generally sensibly over-qualified for the assignments they undertake, and have extensive functional and industry experience. They have successfully addressed similar issues to those faced by their clients. 

What kind of assistance could an Interim Manager provide your company?

An Interim Manager could assist in a period of transition or change by temporarily assuming any of the functions that would be the responsibility of Sales & Marketing Managers, Directors or Vice Presidents. Some examples include:

 

Project Management 

·         Implementation of a new sales or marketing strategy 

·         Expansion into a new market 

·         Start-up or closing-down of a business 

·         Handling of a new activity or an atypical project 

Gap Management 

·         Sudden loss of a sales or marketing manager/vice president 

·         Organizational changes 

·         Overstretched management 

·         Management of rapid growth 

·         Management of a start-up 

Change Management 

·         Going through a merger, de-merger, or acquisition 

·         Rationalizing, downsizing, or restructuring 

·         Embarking into a major program of cultural change within the organization 

Turnaround Management 

·         Manage a crisis or a turnaround 

·         Turnaround underperforming businesses or organizations 

·         Recover failing projects / programs 

What are the main advantages of Interim Management?

The main advantage is instant access to high caliber, seasoned management talent that can drive business impact. Clients typically find that Interim Managers add value and wisdom beyond the scope of the assignment.

 

What are the key benefits of an Interim Manager? 

 

Quick Start Date -  An Interim Manager can be in place within days as opposed to weeks - essential when time constraints are critical.  

 

Experience - An Interim Manager is more than qualified for the position they are taking on and will therefore be stepping down in responsibility. The Interim Manager also has wisdom and past experience of similar challenges to the ones about to be faced. In addition to enabling them to have an immediate effect and be productive from the outset, this experience ensures success. They will also transfer their skill and experience to your team. 

 

Objectivity -              Free from any previous involvement in company processes, staff relationships or office politics, an Interim Manager provides a fresh perspective and is free to concentrate on what’s best for the business. An Interim Manager identifies problems and implements new solutions that may not be visible to company insiders because they are too close to the issue. 

 

Accountability -      Rather than adopting a purely advisory role, as would a management consultant, an Interim Manager becomes a responsible and accountable line manager who will take ownership and manage a business or implement a project in their own right. 

 

Effectiveness -  Operating at or near board-level gives an Interim Manager the authority to effect significant change or transition within a company – unlike a temp, they’re not just there to manage the status quo. 

 

Commitment - An Interim Manager is committed to an Interim career and each assignment is never just a stop gap until a suitable permanent position is found. The Interim Manager enjoys the challenge of different assignments, takes great pride in maintaining the highest standards and realizes that the next job is dependent on the success of the current assignment. 

 

Rapid Results- An Interim Manager is “sensibly over-qualified” for project work, focuses on achieving results and gives clear definition of key milestones, regular progress reports and measurement of performance.  

 

Return on Investment - Interim Managers add value by using their wisdom, skills and expertise to help deliver an outcome, solution, service or mitigate risk that provides a meaningful ‘Return On Investment’ to a client. Interim Managers are paid on the understanding of goals and objectives being performed and delivered, and not simply on the basis of attendance. 

 

Speed - Interim Managers can be in place within days as opposed to weeks or months which is essential when time constraints are paramount. Being practiced in engaging promptly with the situation, they become effective quickly upon joining a client organization. Because of their experience and expertise, Interim Managers also conduct and complete assignments effectively and with due speed. 

 

Expertise - Interim Managers typically operate at a senior level in the client organization, often being sensibly over-qualified for the roles they take on. They often bring wisdom, skills and knowledge not otherwise in place, to address a specific skills gap or problem. Their experience and expertise enables them to be productive and make a noticeable impact from the outset, maximizing the likelihood of success. 

 

Objectivity – Unencumbered by company politics or culture, Interim Managers provide a fresh perspective and are able to concentrate on what's best for the business. Being independent operators, they are able to contribute honestly without constituting a threat to the incumbent management team. Not being part of a larger business they are not pressured to unnecessarily extend their assignment. 

 

 

What is the cost of an Interim Manager?

 

Daily fees vary according to a number of criteria, including market price, complexity of the assignment, level of the function, estimated duration of the assignment, risk level of the company, etc.

Clients are only required to pay for the actual days worked by the interim manager. The client remains in control of costs at all times, by agreeing the number of days to be worked in advance and afterwards certifying the numbers of days to be invoiced.

How cost-effective management option is it?

Research shows that the costs for Interim Managers are recovered at least threefold on average, making them a very cost-effective option. A recent survey of clients suggests that the vast majority of users will use Interim Management again.

Is an Interim Manager more expensive than a permanent manager with an employee status?

 

The total costs are about the same as for normally employed managers. Typically an Interim Manager’s client invoices are based on an all-in fee per day.  In some cases, other daily travel and accommodation expenses will be charged. There are no additional costs. Overall, the cost of the Interim Manager compares favorably on a day-to-day basis with the full cost of a permanent manager when taking into account not only the salary and the social security but all the peripherals such as bonuses, holidays, sickness allowances, training, insurances, stock options, recruitment and lay-off costs and various fringe benefits.

 

What kind of companies would benefit from hiring Interim Managers?

 

The simple answer is all companies that need to manage issues outside their current capacity or their capabilities. Demand for Interim Managers comes from virtually all sectors, industries and sizes.

 

Why are so many companies engaging Interim Managers?

 

Companies facing change must move quickly and manage the risks, but experienced change managers are hard to find and costly compromises often result, delaying resolution of critical issues. Qualified managers are becoming scarce and traditional recruitment methods are slow and carry a high opportunity cost. 

 

Why would an organization retain an Interim Manager rather than hiring additional management staff?

 

Long range, companies should consider hiring permanent managers. An organization however might find itself in a transitional period where there is an immediate need for senior management capabilities but the organization is not ready or not able to fill that need with a permanent position. This could occur, for example during a search for a new Sales or Marketing Manager/Director/Vice President, during a period of rapid change or a crisis or when the management needs have not yet become clearly defined, etc.

 

But wouldn’t employees be more committed to an organization than an Interim Manager?

 

This is a common concern among first-time buyers. The opposite is true. Interim Managers are only as good as their last assignment. They live on their references.

 

What are differences between an Interim Manager and a Management Consultant?

 

Management consultants advise and recommend. Interim managers advise, recommend and implement.

Consultants are usually employed by large consulting organizations with inflexible methodologies and large overheads. However closely they work with the client – management consultants are ultimately responsible and accountable to the consultancy. An Interim Manager becomes a full member of the management team of the client company for the duration of the Interim Management assignment. As an independent expert, they will operate as part of your team, rather than as an employee of an external organization.

 

Interim Managers tend to be sensibly over-qualified for the assignment so that they are immediately effective, whilst many junior consultants tend to learn on the job. Also Interim Managers are far less expensive to employ as they don’t have overheads of supervision from a consultancy company. This is backed by research which shows that the costs for Interim Managers are recovered at least threefold on average, making them a very cost-effective option.

 

Aren’t Interim Managers just jobless managers who will leave the moment they find a permanent opportunity?

Absolutely not! Interim Managers are experienced executives that thrive on variety, on delivering value, on complex organizational challenges and on situations requiring the management of change. They chose Interim Management as their career.

 

A career Interim Manager is driven by the challenge of dealing with short term assignments, especially where they are contributing special skill that are only needed in the short term. Being task driven they are often not interested in climbing the corporate ladder or in corporate politics.

 

If Interim Managers are so good, why do they choose uncertainty?

 

Interim Managers are entrepreneurs, independent by nature, and have chosen Interim Management as a career path. They like the challenge, variety and flexibility it offers and they find it rewarding.

 

Is Interim Manager an employee or a consultant?

 

The Interim Manager would be retained on a consulting basis on a daily or weekly basis. The organization would not be responsible for benefits, insurance, taxes, etc.

How long does it take to select an Interim Manager?

 

An Interim Manager can be in place within days of being engaged. 

 

How long is an average Interim Management assignment?

Typically 3 - 9 months, but they can be as short as two weeks or as long as two years.

How would the presence of Interim Managers impact client organization’s permanent staff?

 

Experience shows that Interim Managers have the ability to easily integrate. Interim Managers in general have excellent social and managerial skills and experience. Also, they are assigned only on temporary basis and are hence not considered as a threat. In that context, it is very important to clearly explain the purpose of the Interim

Management assignment to the organization prior to his/her starts.

 

How to announce the Interim Management appointment to staff?

 

The client executive normally makes the announcement describing the role the Interim Manager has been asked to assume, and the objectives that have been established for the assignment.

What happens if the scope of an Interim Management assignment changes mid-stream?

 

The Interim Management model is highly flexible and adaptable. All changes can be handled in a managed way using a project-management based approach to ensure clarity for all stakeholders. If there is an impact on the original contracted period, this is easily addressed as the standard contract includes a provision for modifications to tenure, if necessary.

How does an Interim Manager transition out at the end of the assignment?

 

In instances where there is a permanent job at the end of the assignment, the Interim Manager acts as a mentor/coach in transferring what has been learned to the permanent executive and turning over an action plan that will assure that momentum is not lost and an orderly transition will take place. In any case, the Interim Manager will provide detailed documentation and any handover required by the client.

What happens when the assignment is completed?

The Interim Manager will generally provide sufficient documentation and personal handover to their permanent replacement to enable the new incumbent to get off to a good start. If required, an Interim Manager will help you define or redefine the role and help with selection.

Are Interim Managers sometimes offered a permanent contract once the interim management engagement is completed?

In fact this is the norm. Interim Managers tend to be sensibly over-qualified for the job. They are very results-driven and often deliver benefits beyond the initial scope of engagement. Clients often approach Interim Managers and offer a permanent position. However, most Interim Managers are committed to their   Interim Management careers and decline such offers. Occasionally, Interim Managers join clients.

 

Sources:  Institute of Interim Management, Interim Management Association and Interim Management.