What are the three types of Interim Management assignment?

 
 
Figure 1: Process-data model for the change ma...
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According to Andrew Turner, a seasoned Interim Chief Executive, specializing in change management, business strategy and performance improvement, there are broadly three types of interim assignment:

* Resource-Driven

* Project-Driven

*Change/Solution – Driven

Andrew believes that the characteristics of each type of assignment are typically as follows:

* Resource-Driven: Need for temporary staff – low risk to client and sponsor – high price sensitivity

* Project-Driven: Management and skills for a defined contract – low/medium risk – high/medium price sensitivity

* Need for Change: Need for fresh ideas and solutions. – What the client buys – Solutions. Scarce and specialized expertise; someone to help resolve complex problems. Risk to decision maker – High. Risk to company – High. Price sensitivity – Low.

Andrew argues that both Resource and Project Driven assignments should NOT strictly fall under the banner of Interim Management. He believes that the first should be in the world of temporary staffing, and the second in the contracting arena. He reasons that neither have the decision-making independence of the true Interim Manager (at least at CEO/COO level), nor the ability to bring about change, other than in a far more circumscribed manner, ultimately controlled by the client, rather than the “interim”.

Traditionally, the professional interim has been seriously over-sized and could demonstrate that they had truly earned their T-shirt! In recent years, the boundaries between the professional interim, contractors and consultants have all become a little blurred. Top-end professionals and intermediaries have introduced terms like Executive Interim Manager, Interim Executive and Professional Interim Executive to provide necessary differentiation.

Rather than re-invent the wheel, as a Member of the Association of Professional Interims (MAPI), I am going to deploy some basic definitions agreed by the API.

1) What is an Interim Manager?

A Professional Interim Executive is a high impact external resource, usually operating at or near board level on a short-term basis, who utilises extensive proven experience to solve complex problems or deliver solutions to business critical issues fast. Professional Interims diagnose, design, deliver, embed the learning, and then disengage.

2) What do professional interim executives do?

a. Professional Interim Executives are usually deployed as a flexible strategic resourcing tool in organisations from large multinationals to small owner-managed companies.

b. They have a previous proven track record of success usually across a range of organisations or have been seconded across several areas of a large organisation. They are used in all sectors.

c. They are focused and hardworking and deliver results extremely quickly, usually far exceeding client expectations.

d. Almost every successful interim executive has previously been a successful permanent executive. They typically report directly to the senior management, the Board or shareholders.

f. They bring with them a wealth of experience and expertise – and no political baggage – ensuring they are exceptionally focused on delivering the agreed business goals.

g. They thrive on new challenges and immersing themselves in new situations and have a remarkable ability to adapt to different organisational cultures and win the trust and respect of their teams and colleagues.

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In separate article, we shall focus on the difference between professional interims and consultants.

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Finally, I would like to thank the Institute of Interim Management (IIM) for supporting an open debate which prompted Andrew to share the above conclusions. These conclusions are entirely Andrew’s and were neither provided nor necessarily supported by the IIM, nor other members of the debate.

In December 2009, I asked the question on the IIM LinkedIn forum: “How can we help the client and the professional interim match more effectively?”. Apart from myself, participants in the debate included: Ad van der Rest, Tony Evans, Katrina Shepherd, Les Ormonde, Martin Eley, Colin Mclean, Nigel Cole and Tom Pickering.

9 responses

  1. No one could seriously argue with these definitions of interim management by Andrew Turner and Dr Alf, however the reality now is that much of the work that interims used to do is now being dealt with by a new breed of implementation consultant and the work that fell into the grey area between interim management and contracting is now either off-shoreable or is being dealt with, often very badly by temporary workers on pro-rata employment contracts.

    Furthermore, many of the roles performed in the past by interims are now dealt with by redundant managers in between roles who never in a month of Sundays could be termed interim managers although on many recruiter and interim provider databases they are listed as such.

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