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Why it might be time to hire an interim manger.

Certainly, there are many benefits of considering hiring an interim manager. It’s an easy way to bring heavyweight experience into a company. This can be achieved in an economic and speedy fashion and there are a number of good reasons for pursuing such a concept.

Interim or part time

Hiring permanent staff is a massive commitment

In terms of time and money, making that decision is momentous for any business. Flexible and agile companies need gravitas but are often loathed to commit to a full-time, permanent member of the team. An interim manager is ideal for the following reasons:

Why hire an interim manager?

Interim managers are used to hitting the ground running If your company need someone rapidly, there are few formalities required. There are no termination concerns as the project length is determined at the outset.Interim managers are usually highly experienced. Often you get ‘more bang for your buck’. Results are easy to measure and interim managers know they are results driven and usually have their portfolio sharply honed to prove their worth. Often interim managers will bring in a different and very welcome perspective. They are slightly outside the organisation and will often speak their mind with impunity.Being flexible and used to covering many bases you’ll never hear: ‘That’s not in my remit.’ Critical tasks can be assigned and ROI is easy to measure. Often Interim managers act as consultants and workers. Most are practical and happy to be involved.Knowledge transfer can be significant. Overall, it’s far less risky and far more agile.

An interim manager’s value proposition is high too. 

Most are happy to be paid according to specified objectives and goals.Results can usually be measured easily. Interim managers are available. There are usually no notice periods to wait for or say, advanced security clearance to arrange as these people ensure they are prepared in advance. They are used to working efficiently and at speed.It’s easy to fill a pressing skills gap with an interim manager.Bringing in left field or broader, more specialised knowledge and experience can be extremely beneficial to organisations.The opportunity to experiment, research and develop can be undertaken by an interim manager with little risk.Interim managers know their professionalism is on show. They rely on great references and referrals so it matters that their commitment is never questioned and their professionalism and abilities are top-notch at all times.

If you are thinking of utilising an interim manager’s services you might want to consider where they might be used. Consider:

Change managementTurnaround and project management‘Gap’ filling projects.

If you need expertise then it’s likely there’s an interim manager that will fit the bill perfectly. It is definitely not a ‘one size fits all’ model.

So what can you expect from an interim manager in terms of project life cycle?

Stage 1: Entry Point.

Prepare a preliminary outline and assessment of what your organisation requires.Decide what an interim manager should bring to the table.Research the kind of scope supplied by interim managersDiscuss and explore your needs and assess suitability. Interim Managers are usually clear and honest about their skills, capabilities and if they are a good fit for your project.This is very much an entry stage and may or may not lead to an appointment.

Stage 2 Evaluation and Diagnosis

This is where the interim manager begins to use their experience and character to assess the current modus operandi. They will want to explore what has led to the ‘now’. Suggested approaches and potential stumbling blocks will probably follow. It is not unusual for an interim manager to uncover additional problems than those flagged up by your company in your original thinking. It is likely to be undertaken across a number of days and should not be rushed.

Stage 3 Proposals and Praxis

At this point, the potential for friction can be quite high unless an organisation is prepared to be totally objective. It is important to listen carefully to an interim manager’s proposals that may well form plans and objectives from this recent assessment. At this juncture, careful negotiation may create a different approach and even the need for another interim manager! Be open-minded and take the time to consider something that may well be out of your comfort zone. Be aware you will be challenged but that is why you have engaged an expert in their field. An interim manager should be experienced enough to put together an effective plan not necessarily the plan you might have originally imagined.

Stage 4 Implementation and Accountability

You will be able to rely on your interim manager to track the progress actually manage the agreed interventions, look after the project and also provide regular and well-defined feedback. It is at this stage that you can evaluate their effectiveness. Accountability is vital and no interim manager will baulk at providing first class reporting. The plus point is that an interim manager can be left to fulfil the task without needing to be involved in the organisation’s politics, processes or culture. Sometimes an interim manager can be an easy way of demonstrating the efficacy of a new culture without threat

Stage 5 Denouement and Exit

You can learn much from an interim manager so do not waste the opportunity for detailed knowledge sharing and handover. Remember the project may be just the beginning of further development within the company and lessons learned are valuable commodities. Make a decision whether it’s worth retaining an interim manager for long-term consultancy or whether it is worth beginning the cycle again for the next stage of a project.

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