Interim Management

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Summary
Interim manager

What is Interim Management? Meaning.

Interim management is the temporary provision of management resources and skills, typically in the form of a short-term, temporary assignment of an interim manager, until a permanent manager becomes available. Interim managers are attracted for a certain period of time to take charge of a department or an entire organization.


They are often external persons; coming from outside the organization. Typically they are proven, experienced, heavyweight, executive managers, capable of managing a period of transition, crisis or change within the organization. In such situations, there may be nobody available internally who is suitable and willing to take up the required position on short notice.


Reasons for attracting an interim manager.

Why is an interim manager appointed? The reasons to attract interim managers can be quite diverse:

  • To replace a current or previous manager:
    • No suitable successor has yet been found after the departure of a regular manager.
    • The regular manager is ill for a long time.
    • The regular manager is on maternity leave.
    • The regular manager has been put on hold because of some disagreement.
  • A reorganization or recovery is needed because of:
  • A requirement from an external party (e.g., a court of law, a tax authority).

Variants of Interim Management

Certain types of interim managers can be distinguished, depending on the situation:

  • Special Project. These could be difficult projects that have to be run parallel to the rest of the client's business.
  • Peak Period. This might involve extra help in a very busy period, when more needs to be done than normal. For example at the end of the year when the annual budget has to be prepared by the financial department.
  • Bridge a Period. There is some temporary gap in the management. For example, until a suitable permanent employee is found for an important vacancy, or if some manager is temporarily absent.

Advantages of Interim Management. Benefits

  • Quick availability and simple termination.
  • Less connected to (the history of) the department or company and can therefore more easily make difficult decisions.
  • Objective view, without prejudices or dogmas.
  • Not taking on a merely advisory role, but responsible for managing a particular business or project. They also have a stake in the success of their assignment, because their future work relies upon referrals and a successful track record.
  • Extensive experience within a specific field of work and appropriate training to handle such assignments.
  • Transfer of know-how, skills, contacts and experience to the regular team. This may continue to be useful after the assignment has been terminated.
  • Focus - Specific tasks can be assigned and the performance can be measured accordingly.

Disadvantages of Interim Management. Drawbacks

  • Initially less aware of the history, culture and specific details of the organization.
  • May pay too much attention to short-term interests (operational, tactical, financial health) compared to long-term interests (strategic, innovation).
  • Typically cost more per hour/day than regular managers.
  • Loss of knowledge and experience after the temporary assignment.

Expertise of Interim Managers

Know-how and experience differ widely between interim managers, so they can be deployed in almost any field including general management, finance, purchasing, sales, marketing, human resources, legal, facilities, etc.


Recruitment and selection of an Interim Manager

In most countries there are companies acting as intermediaries between clients and interim managers. Interim managers are quite often self-employed. Their own company then sends its only employee (the interim manager) to external clients on assignment.


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