Interim and Transformation Managers become the need of the hour when a Subject Matter Expert has to be called in to manage a specific-focus task. We have been witness to many such situations, for example:
Leading a transition or change process
- M&A’s and managing post M&A integration
- New market entry
- Start-up operation
- Fast tracking & managing a critical project
- Cost reduction by hiring a cost reduction specialist
- Filling a gap due to leave, resignation, etc
- Business turnaround/crisis
Interim Managers are highly experienced, results oriented subject matter experts with significant industry experience in senior leadership roles. They have now shifted their focus and are now applying their knowledge to new situations and challenges.
Interim Managers are “not” consultants- A consultant/ advisory offers advice while an Interim Manager is handson and operates in an executive role. This role generally includes position- such as CEO, CFO and Head of a function including sales, marketing, human resources or a specific project. Interim Management assignments are usually short to medium term (averagely 6 – 12 months) for high impact roles, both on a part time or full time basis.
Traits unique to successful interim managers
MATURITY AND INTEGRITY: Interim managersdue to their rich experience- are quite comfortable in their own skin; they are aware of the value they bring to the table; and are not afraid to challenge the status quo.
APOLITICAL: Interim Managers are more interested in the welfare of the organization, and come with a motivation to help the organisation succeed. They are non-political, and are able to engage constructively as their interest lies more in success of the organisation.
FLEXIBLITY: In a dynamic business environment, a flexible approach is critical. Goalposts keep shifting and an Interim Manager needs to adapt quickly, without getting fazed by the VUCA nature of the business; volatility, uncertainty and ambiguity. At the same time they should be comfortable in rolling up their sleeves as and when required.
ENGAGEMENT: Interim Managers are able to take people along while engaging with the internal teams.Knowing well that there will be an exit date to their role, they understand the necessity of developing and empowering internal leaders.
SUSTAINABILITY: Interim Managers possess the foresight and planning ability to ensure sustainability post their exit from the organisation. Knowing well the short term nature of their assignment, they always keep the development aspect of the internal team in mind.
AUTONOMOUS: Interim Managers tend to be independent in their approach. They manage the assignment and set objectives, keeping in mind the customer expectations.
STRATEGIC: Interim Managers have a very good understanding of their role and its related expectations. They are quite clear about the deliverables and their strategic mindset allows them to suitably tailor their skills effectively to the situation at hand.
RESILIENT: The role of an Interim Manager is not without stresses. It is usually a lonely job where the Interim is expected to hit the ground running, and be effective from day one. There is no time to make friends and build relationships. Additionally they face sceptics internally and hence Interim Managers have to be resilient, with the ability to positively influence and motivate.
CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT AND DRIVING CHANGE: They must possess the ability to question the status quo, including behaviours, attitudes, work practices and organizational culture while striving for driving change in the workplace.
RESULT ORIENTATION: They are focused on delivering results aligned to the expectations. A successful interim manager is able to accurately define the Do’s and the Don’ts and focus on the outcomes committed.
Advantages of Interim Management:
- Hands on rather than ‘advisors’ / ‘consultants’
- Flexibility & efficiency of resources
- Subject Matter Experience
- Availability at short notice
- Proven Management Skills
- Transfer of external know how
- Independent & fresh perspective
- Cost Effectiveness
- Solution without permanent commitment