What’s the difference between an Interim Manager and a Management Consultant?

English: Project development stages

Image via Wikipedia

This is the second blog in which I turn for an expert opinion to Andrew Turner, a seasoned Interim Chief Executive, specializing in change management, business strategy and performance improvement.

Previously, I asked Andrew to set out the three types of interim assignment and he responded:

* Resource-Driven

* Project-Driven

* Change/Solution – Driven

This time, I asked Andrew, based upon his experience to differentiate between an Interim Manager and a Management Consultant. According to Andrew, he views the difference between interims and consultants as follows:

An interim advises, implements, and transfers knowledge.

A consultant mainly advises (and occasionally implements), but retains proprietary knowledge and techniques.

In Andrew’s judgement, the difference between an interim and a contractor boils down to independence, authority, responsibility and scope.

Andrew maintains that the true interim has the ability to act and adapt according to changing circumstances. The interim usually reports to the client Board and has far greater leeway and independent control than a consultant or a contractor. Andrew clarified that the contractor probably reports to a line manager and operates under his control (and subjected to his biases and constraints), with well defined and agreed deliverables, with little wriggle room.

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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.

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