Interim Managers are generally brought in to deliver a specific task or strategic project, engaged to apply the core competencies they possess. However, clients engaging interim managers are, perhaps, missing a trick by not fully utilising the broad generalist skillset that interims have, the hidden "added value" they bring.
For example, interim management is a great way to bring in "fresh thinking" without the ongoing expense of employing someone full time. Given the opportunity, interim managers will work with a management team and provide objective feedback on the feasibility of ideas, offering up a fresh perspective. Organisations of all shapes and sizes can suffer the business equivalent of "writers block" where creativity wanes. In such circumstances, an interim manager can bring fresh ideas.
Interim Managers also understand how large businesses function. They are likely to have been employed by large businesses and/or dynamic fast-growing companies and delivered numerous assignments within complex organisations. This experience could be invaluable to a business that is struggling or where sales have plateaued.
It could be that a proprietorial business has been stewarded in a conservative manner by the owning family and is not sure how to develop further, or a fast growing start up may have outgrown the competencies of the founder. In such cases, Interim Managers understand what it takes to grow and the types of systems and procedures that need to be implemented. Having seen numerous businesses transition, they will understand what it takes and can advise and guide the business through a period of growth.
Putting to side the specific task they are there to deliver, interim managers bring the added skill of being able to spot potential issues and opportunities for improvement. They are likely to have delivered dozens of assignments in both the industry your business operates and in other sectors.
Interims understand 'what good likes' and can spot how things could be done better. Being an interim manager gives you carte blanche to be honest, to challenge ingrained processes and behaviours, free from the shackles of upsetting a colleague or being viewed as a disruptive influence. However, interims are canny enough to know that they need to apply empathy and be able to read the client, the situation, the key relationships and working challenges. Interims understand that the cooperation of employees is often crucial to the success of the assignment, so they know not to burn their bridges.
Companies engaging interims should not view them as there solely to deliver a specific task. They should view them as a 'fresh pair of eyes' and ask their opinion on, what they think is wrong, how it can be improved, and what needs to be done to get better results. Another added value skill that interim managers have is the ability to anticipate what the client needs. Yes, a large part of the assignment involves delivering a specific task, but the dynamic may change, and experienced interim managers can anticipate this. In some circumstances an interim manager may quickly realise - what a client asks them to do is not the ‘sum total’ of what needs to be done or may not be what they need.
Interims can add value by using their experience to pick up on indicators of the 'bigger picture' and how they can help the client. This can benefit the client as it can shape strategy or stop them travelling in the wrong direction. Expectations can change and the full scope of an assignment may not be known until the interim commences, at which point they use their flexibility and experience to guide the client and ensure they are doing what is right for the wider business.
Tuesday Nov 12, 2019