Why is the Interim Manager a Commando Fighter?

by Rudolf FEDOROVICI, Consultant
Tuesday, February 03, 2009

What’s the climate like?

There is no question about how business leaders may feel in today’s business climate. We’re living times of challenges in a moment which is not only difficult but mostly uncertain. Theories and scientific models became useless against the cruel reality of an unprecedented phenomenon with large, global implications.

Of course, we’re not living the end of the world but most certainly we should be expecting a “survival-of-the-best” future business environment.

In this context, there are a lot of today’s business leaders who are facing the problem of simply staying alive. Today is becoming the first priority for an increasingly number of top managers. On the other hand, there are businesses that are thriving so we imagine that their leaders managed to find their way out.

Well, no matter the scenario, there is a rare species of managers that can be observed influencing business development in hard times: Interim Managers. Fighting fire to ensure the survival of the company or leading the way to progress, Interim Managers seem to be a frequent appearance in difficult conditions.

Interim Managers are a particular type of elite managers. They are not consultants as they are hands-on change factors with full responsibility, in-house recommending and implementing actions based on their practical experience.

Most of them have developed their entire career around the idea of crisis management. Highly focused on their goals, Interims are usually prepared to the “go in, go out” approach. There’s no time (or appetite) for long inductions; for long preparations. The capability to undertake the assignment on the shortest notice and to deliver the highest level performance is their first advantage.

When do companies need Interim Managers?

Either in downturns or in upturns: there’s no need for an Interim Managers in common situations. There has to be a special moment.

Imagine the typical guerilla “working” conditions and then translate this image over our day’s business climate. That’s the context.

Interim Managers are not a solution in normal times but the special answer for the special kind of questions: managing the organization through major changes – for example, a merger, restructuring or company disposal, managing functions to fill a short term skills gap, dramatically changing the business culture, business development projects, implementing cost and staff reductions, turning around businesses and organizations in crisis etc.

Interim Managers are used across virtually every sector and business function in both the private and public sectors. 

What Do Interim Managers Bring to Clients?

Primarily, Interims bring maximum and immediate effectiveness. These are the two essential parameters of successful Interim assignments.
Being sensibly over qualified, experienced and focused on a specific industry, Interim Managers always bring a balanced external perspective to companies. Usually this perspective, together with an objective overview, is brought in by external consultants but, in this case, the huge advantage is determined by the possibility to implement change internally.

Simple entry-exit procedure: Interims are mercenaries fighting in the best sense for the company. Highly cost-effective when compared with the potential costs of failure.

Although Interim Management might look like temporary work, in fact it’s pure business to business relationship. It is generally accepted that Interim Managers prefer to assume their assignments on a B2B contract.

Attributes of a Professional Interim Manager

Interim Management is not a given right for everyone. It usually is a (tough) choice made by seasoned managers when they decide to leave the secure, comfortable corporate position and run independently.  The Interim Manager is not the unemployed manager but a mature, self confident (but not arrogant) senior executive.

It’s quite hard to spot good Interim Manager. They are rare. However, when you see one, the excellence speaks for itself. The typical profile shows us that Interims are: credible and diligent, enthusiastic, self-motivated, independent and objective. Comfortable with accountability, Interims work for action. They are results focused.


 Please see here a selection of Interim Management Career Opportunities


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