Interim Management: Disrupting the Management Consulting model

Interim Management, as we all understand, is the transitory requirement of an individual with management or other specialised capability into an organisation. In continuation to our last edition that was more focussed on differentiating Interim Managers from Management Consultants, this edition dives deeper into the nitty-gritty of the Interim Management role.

Need for hire:
Organisations going through transformation or instability caused by sudden leadership exits may scout for Interim Managers. It allows sufficient time for the company to identify the right leader. At other times lack of highly specialised skills may drive the organisation to look for talent outside. The reasons are multi-fold.

Best Practices:

  • As Interim roles are uncommon and require high calibre folks with past track record, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a Search Firm.
  • First & foremost, it is crucial to state the “Objectives and Deliverables” and define what the business aims to achieve from the appointment.
  • Goal setting will further help in clearly identifying the candidate requirement and stay focussed through the hiring and onboarding processes.
  • Transparent reporting ensures smooth assimilation into the business and provides a great start. It is important to have the awareness about the degree to which resources would be made available to the Interim Manager and the amount of confidential company information required to be shared to accomplish the goals.
  • Degree of decision making authority with the Interim Manager is a function of the role and the objectives. If the hire is made for bringing in a strategic change, then it requires high degree of authority whereas in case of a stopgap arrangement, it can be limited.
  • Drawing performance matrix & evaluation parameters at the very beginning helps in measuring success at the end of the project, leading to a meaningful stint and avoiding conflicts.
  • While it is a short-term engagement, having intermittent reviews are useful to track the progress and ensure continued interest.
  • It is a win-win when the individual understands and accepts the culture of the organisation apart from agreeing to the commercial terms

What to expect:

  • Speed – Since it is short-term, it is expected that Interim Managers take very little time in coming up to speed, understanding the business and expectations.
  • Focus & Expertise – Interim Managers need to have a systematic approach to gather critical information required to start the mandate. Organisations expect them to be a subject-matter-expert who can deliver results.
  • Communication Skills – It helps Interim Managers to build trust with the internal teams and keep the stakeholders informed of the progress made.
  • Project Management –They need to keep a close check on the overall project & deliverables. Good project management skills will help avoid disappointment towards the conclusion of the assignment.
  • Results – Every organisation would want to see clear results at the end of the assignment, whether it is a divestment, HR or financial restructuring or a branding exercise.

What not to expect:

  • Interim Managers are not expected to deliver & achieve long term goals for the organisation. As the hire is made for a project, they should be evaluated only on the basis of the stated objective & mission.
  • Quick fixes to all problems should not be expected from the individual. While the Interim Manager can fill multiple roles, it is not mandatory


Appointment of Interim Managers could possibly create unrest among existing employees leading to teething issues for the new-comer. In case of lack of commitment from the Interim Manager, the whole exercise may turn out to be unfruitful. It is critical to avoid digression from the project purpose which may lead to losses.

Recent Hires:

  • Interim CFO for a large European MNC operating in India. The role involved leading the restructuring of the organization along with M&A activities.
  • Interim HR leader to help with the integration of the existing C&B systems for a large Indian organization and transition to a new one.
  • Interim India CEO for a global MNC to launch the Indian subsidiary, manage the local regulatory challenges, get it off the ground, including drawing the road map for setting up the local manufacturing setup.

To summarise, Interim Management is a unique solution designed to solve varied business issues & agendas. It is at the discretion of the organisation and the individual to create a win-win out of the scenario