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‘Finding out more about the concept of Interim Management’

It is pleasing to know that the results of a survey found that 95% of respondents agreed with the definition of ‘Interim Management’ – as the use of senior executives on contract to manage a business function or project. There has been a tendency recently for non-management temporary workers to be rebranded by their suppliers as ‘Interim Managers;’ a trend which confuses the seniority of real ‘Interim Managers’ and the potential ‘value’ they are able to bring to enterprises. Many found that ‘Interim Management’ could be used instead of short term executives, contractors or temporary workers; whilst some found them to be an alternative to project managers or management consultants.


During the last 10-15 years, there has been a steady and welcome diversification of demand from virtually all sectors – financial services, retail, distribution, manufacturing, utilities, local and National government and charities. The majority of organisations appreciate the cost effectiveness of ‘Interim Managers’. It is now realised that these ‘Executives’ can be utilised as something to be planned for, rather than a ‘crisis’ resource and as such does not tie the company to commitments of employment contracts, but which offer good strategic value, together with results.


Interim Managers are appointed to both ‘Interim’ and temporary positions into the management structure of an organisation, either in a function role or to undertake a specific short-term project. They are people, for various diverse reasons, who have decided to establish independent careers. Although this may appear a brave career choice on the surface,
they actually enjoy the variety, challenges and stimuli of this lifestyle.


However closely they work with the client – management consultants are ‘ultimately responsible & accountable to the consultancy company that supplies them.’ An ‘Interim Manager’ becomes a full member of the management team to that client company for the duration of the ‘Interim’ assignment.

Consultants work in a rather more advisory capacity with clients’ staff, whereas ‘Interim Managers’ take line responsibility, sometimes for the whole company and it’s future success.

Consultants typically gather information and process it to make recommendations; the ‘Interim Manager’ shares in confidential discussions and makes things happen.

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 cost for ‘Interim Managers’ are recovered at least threefold on average, making them a very ‘cost-effective’ option, but most importantly an organisation should ask itself – what would it cost not to act?


As companies have tended to cut back and down-size, the loss of a Senior Executive,(through resignation, long term illness or even death; for dismissals, maternity leave cover or protracted

recruitment problems, owing to market factors,) has a huge negative impact on the
organisation. ‘Interim Managers’ therefore come into their own, filling the gaps during these times of crisis.

In an increasingly competitive business environment ‘Interim Managers’ bring in their specialist skills and experience to ensure the success of a huge range of projects such as :- start-ups, close downs, of a company or division, relocation, expansion or consolidation of facilities, short-term needs arising from acquisitions or sudden take-overs, productivity, efficiency or profitability improvement needs; new product launches, franchising, commercial negotiations, I.T, etc; the list is endless.


Interims are available immediately, after being scrutinised for quality and suitability and after a proper ‘briefing’ meeting, between the client and the ‘Interim Management’ company, thus
taking a few short days to compile a short list ready for the ‘Executives’ to be presented at interview.

‘Interim Managers’ are extremely flexible, as there is no long term commitment. Theirs is a choice of independence as a career and so they are client orientated and apolitical with no career ambitions relating to the organisations, within which they work. They can be assigned by the day, from anything from a few weeks to over a year.

Finally the ‘Interim manager’ must be seen to have authenticity and responsibility as part of the management team. An ‘Interim’ isn’t a threat to anyone in career terms and so typically can act as mentor, giving peer group executives, his/hers very valuable experience and wisdom as the assignment develops.

About the Author: J Hadley writes on behalf of Executive Interims - Supply Chain Practice. See:

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