What are the fundamentals behind the growth of interim management activities in the world?

 – Ollivier Lemal, Director France – EIM

The genesis of Interim Management

The Interim Management profession was invented thirty years ago by the Dutch consulting company BOER CROON. As part of this genesis, they founded EIM (Executive Interim Management) as a joint venture with the search group Egon Zehnder and as such created an entity with immediate worldwide footprint. From its inception, the business model was to develop a pool of highly experienced professionals (55 years and older at the time) from every economic sector. These were ‘managers’ who had decided to carry out temporary or interim missions and assignments that had clear objectives and delivery time-frames. These professionals were recognized functional or sector experts as well as excellent line managers. They did not need to behave in a “politically correct way” inside the group they are working for in order to progress a career. They simply wanted to deliver results without having a prior or future role within a business.

This concept has proven successful, but a long educational process was necessary to convince companies that Interim Management was a powerful means by which to manage change and/or implement transformation.

Interim Managers Today

Thirty years later, we are in a completely different world and Interim Managers make the difference in many ways. They not only implement change and transformation plans but also in delivering performance improvement processes. They can replace a manager at short notice; they can also perform a functional role or occupy a line position. They operate with a defined purpose – ‘in mission mode’.

The increasing demand for executives working in mission mode is perceived by the market as the right answer to accelerated change in the new era of permanent economic transition.

Demand for Mission Mode

The main reasons underlying this strong development, in fact a long-term trend, may be summarized as follows:

  • Companies must adapt, react and innovate constantly in this new era of permanent transition, they must organize themselves in “agile” mode creating projects to be run in parallel.
  • Each project requires a strong focus, specific competences and most of the time a transversal thinking across companies. Interim management is an appropriate answer to project management.
  • Speed continues to grow as a key success factor and the ability to rapidly put in place experienced managers brings a competitive advantage to companies, especially when there is a strong need to fill a vacant position.
  • Operational excellence makes the difference between companies in a competitive market; interim managers bringing their functional or sectorial expertise with clear objectives, a set timing, having no career considerations within the companies in which they operate, are strong assets to execute operational measures and bring best practices to bear.
  • This way of working in mission mode is increasingly attractive to talent because it confers true freedom in working life, with no need to play corporate politics for people who want to see rapid results from their work. Seasoned executives, typically not below 45 years old, increasingly want to join the pool of Interim Managers.
  • Interim management offices have enlarged their lines of services. It is not restricted to Executives working full time in top level or functional positions. Today, interim managers may involve themselves in more middle management roles, generally with younger managers, and also in support roles, as Counselors, to help existing managers meet their operational objectives or to acquire best practices.

Interim Managers are here to stay. These developing trends should even accelerate in the future.

Source: The Hunt Report Vol.14

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