INTERIM MANAGEMENT EXPLAINED
“What You Should Know About Interim Management”
The start of a new service
Interim management started in the Netherlands in the late 1970s, then was launched as a new business service by the auditors and thereafter distributed throughout Western Europe. It is considered an ideal tool for solving business and managerial problems. However, there are still many unfamiliarity and prejudices about the batch of tasks and the costs of the interim manager.
Development of interim management services
Started once at the executive level for crisis management and strategic turnaround solutions, interim management has increasingly developed in two directions; change management and temporary (operations) management. Interim managers must, therefore, have both change management and professional skills.
This includes, among other things, the mentioned change management and professional/expert knowledge;
- how interim management and organisational change are related,
- the skills that an interim managers need to have to guide organisational change,
- the impact on the specific context within which work the work is being done,
- the particular role that this fulfil and
- what sets interim managers apart from ordinary line managers and "implementation consultants".
What does an interim manager do?
Organizations and businesses use an interim manager to replace failing or absent managers, manage changes, coordinate projects, or start new activities. When interim management is mentioned, everyone immediately thinks of crisis management. This is logical because interim management has its roots mainly in crisis management. An interim manager temporarily acts as the managing director and tries to deal with the threats as quickly as possible. Today, a crisis situation is no longer the most critical reason for appointing an interim manager. The duties of the interim leader have been considerably expanded.
When to hire an interim manager?
Of course in a crisis or in a situation where a turnaround or change management is desired. But also in temporary operational management for additional capacity or knowledge. This can be done, for example, as part of gap management. The interim manager replaces a person who has been absent for a long time, for instance, because of illness, pregnancy or leaving the company. The interim manager replaces the empty chair until a final solution is found. With gap interim management allows the company to ensure the continuity of the organisation.
Changes and executions
As said, organisations and companies also use an interim manager if they do not have specific expertise available. Suppose a company wants to create a new sales department or wants to improve the performance of the sales department. An interim manager with marketing experience can apply his or her knowledge to the employees of the company so that they can adopt this task. Interim managers also have a role in specific management projects as the interim manager can also be used to make structural changes. Often, these are actions the management prefers not to do themselves, such as mergers, acquisitions, restructurings or policy changes. Being an outsider, the interim manager can easily take drastic measures that are often unpopular. Crisis management is also one of these processes of change.
An interim manager must have a lot of skills. First, the need for extensive management experience, secure communication and analytical skills to identify and solve problems. A hands-on and result drive attitude and execution power are essential characteristics for an interim manager. In addition to managerial and professional skills, the personality of the manager plays a crucial role. It must inspire confidence, adapt quickly to the corporate culture, stay away from political games within the organisation and, above all, ensure that she/he becomes redundant in the shortest possible time.
Interim management is temporary with obligations
The duration of an interim management assignment depends on the problem encountered by the company. On average, an assignment takes at least three to a maximum of eighteen months. Interim managers can estimate how long the work will take.
Incidentally, it is the job of the interim manager to get redundant on shortest notice while it must ensure that all change processes are rooted in the business, that the successor is sufficiently involved and that the knowledge of the interim manager is transferred to the employees of the company.
Interims suitable for a permanent job?
As the name suggests, interim management is temporary. Most interim managers do not see an assignment as a step toward a permanent job. However, some companies view interim management as an opportunity to hire supportive management employees. The interim management sector is more opposed to this trend. Nevertheless, the temptation is often significant, both for the unprofessional interim manager and for the client, as a stepping stone to a fixed function. This could be disappointing. Studies do show that the transition will fail in eight out of ten cases. According to observers, it is also more than usual. The interim manager was attracted to a specific purpose. He has a very different position and position in the company than if he was working as a permanent manager. Due to the temporary nature of the mission, the interim manager could, for example, make drastic decisions. As a full-time employee, this is probably less the case, resulting tensions may occur.
Interim management offers many advantages. First of all, the flexibility and speed in availability and delivering results of the interim manager. Mostly they can start in the business within 2 weeks.
Interims will also try to achieve its objectives and obtain results as soon as possible.
Another asset of the interim manager is his specialisation. The client can attract external know-how. Each interim manager specialises in a specific profession, such as HR, logistics, ICT, production, sales and marketing or general management.
Another advantage is that the interim manager is only connected to the company for a limited time and therefore only a single fee must be paid. Once the job is done, the interim says goodbye to the clients’ organisation.
Besides, in general in complex and intensive assignments the supervision of an interim management agency is required, so that success, progress, transfer and supplementary needed knowledge are primarily safeguarded.
Not all interim managers can accomplish the tasks with huge success. There are often obstacles or problems which can arise during the process. The interim manager can also offer a lot of resistance to making employees feel, especially if already many changes have been made in the past. A strength that usually disappears quickly due to an open and skilful working method of the interim manager. Therefore, the interim manager must also be very clear about the role and the goal.
Another limitation is that an interim manager often not familiar is with existing information and methods within the clients’ organisation.
Interim management versus consulting
The interim manager is often confused with an advisor or consultant, but the working method and goals are far apart from each other. Consultants may not be compared to interim managers, they analyse a problem, write a report on it and suggest a solution. Then a consultancy job is done, finished.
An interim manager also analyses the problems in the clients’ organisation, but an interim will have to tackle those problems himself. This is the interim management challenge. The interim manager
sits on the driver seat, instruct and coach employees and gives strategic directions to the organisation.
Another essential difference compares to a consultant is that the interim manager will make decisions and has given decision-making power. He also stands in the day to day operational business and lays, in such a way, hands-on the foundations for the future of the company.
Interim manager costs
This is a subject that also contains a lot of confusion or prejudice: the cost or fees of the interim manager. The perception is alive at many businesses that an interim manager is expensive.
After calculation of the costs, that price is very acceptable.
Usually, the interim manager receives a daily differential of between $ 800 and $ 1,800; all costs included excluding VAT. Naturally, the costs of the agency will, of course, arise here. After all, they do the recruitment and the assignment supervision.
First of all, realise that interims are used to making very long hours. After all, there is a time pressure to perform within the set period. Also note that the day fee depends on location, the duration and difficulty of the task.
In many cases, an interim manager is no more expensive than a full-time employed manager. Often, indeed the top management is more costly than the interim manager, especially if it is taken into account the requirements and the workload.
Thereby, the company does not have to consider recruitment, transportation, company car, training, benefits, insurance, wage tax and social security contributions or even dismissals. Companies often forget or do not know how much full-time employees cost.
With hiring an interim manager, the sensitivity exists that this will result in extra employment costs to be paid and they forget to calculate the losses or the profit they will lose if they do not rely on external interim management experience. Therewithal an interim manager is undoubtedly cheaper as a consultant.