Archive for July, 2007
I saw this article while searching for new books on interim management. It gives a good explanation of the difference between temporary executives and interim executives. I am re-posting here by permission. The author’s contact information is at the bottom of article. – CB
by J Hadley & D Jones
In today’s climate, where rapid change is part of life and industry requires more highly skilled, adaptable people who are able to bring experience and change to the table, the demand for interim management is growing at double digit rates year on year. Despite this though, a recent poll indicated that more than half of CEOs haven’t used interim managers and there remains a remarkable amount of confusion about what interim managers are and how they’re different from temporary managers.
Temporary managers are likely to be “in between permanent roles” and be interested in opportunities that are likely to stretch them and add weight to their CV, so that they can get a better permanent role next time. However this usually implies more risk for clients; and a longer time until value starts to be delivered. Whilst they may be fine working for an organisation that they’ve worked in for years, how will they fare in an entirely different place without their usual “support systems”? How credible will they be? Will you be able to rely on them to represent you appropriately within your organisation or to your customers or suppliers? Are their interpersonal skills up to it? Will they deliver the results?
In contrast, interims are immediately available senior executive managers who have become interim managers as a career choice. They are independent, highly flexible individuals who run their own companies and operate with professional indemnity insurance. They are un-biased by company politics and must have outstanding communication and interpersonal skills to successfully deliver results in a wide variety of different organisations. Their credibility and technical expertise has to be unquestionable because they’re expected to “hit the deck running” and deliver results not just recommendations. Some say they are senior executives and consultants – “all rolled into one!”
Since interim managers can cost anything between $ 1000-$ 2000 per day and interim management assignments can last anything from three months to two years, clients and interim management service providers alike, can’t afford to take risks. In fact, only individuals who have track records that demonstrate they have the ability to thrive in fresh environments and deliver an excellent return on clients’ investments are taken seriously.
Interim management assignments are therefore more likely to be higher risk / higher value / higher profile roles. For example often organisations utilise interims when they need immediate support for turnarounds or when there is a sudden departure of a key executive; or perhaps to release others for non-routine tasks as the business goes through a period of discontinuity. Often though, interim managers are brought in because of their track record for delivering improvements in their particular specialist discipline or industry; for example to deliver synergies following an acquisition or merger or to introduce best practise processes and organisational structures.
Temporary managers may be appropriate for lower risk projects, but there is a big difference between temporary and interim managers. Interim managers are executive “big hitters” with track records of delivering results; who specialise in high value / high risk assignments and approach them with a very practical “hands on” “get the job done” style. They’re more expensive, but for higher profile projects they’re a low-risk solution when it comes to implementing change.
Julia Hadley & David Jones work for Executive Interims – Supply Chain Practice: specialist providers of supply chain interim management services – see
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By Charles Besondy
Companies shoot themselves in the foot by thinking that just because the #1 or #2 person in marketing has left the ship important work can’t commence until a replacement is on board (4-8 months). The thought process goes something like this, “We don’t want to do this or that because the new manager will have specific ideas on what he/she wants to do or how he/she wants it done.”
This is a true statement to a point, but there are steps that can be taken to minimize the loss of momentum that transitions always cause. There is very important strategic work that can and should be done during a period of transition to enable the incoming manager to make well-informed decisions from day one.
Any key marketing manager (CMO, VP, Director) who is stepping into a position is first going to do an audit—formal or otherwise—that basically flags what’s working and what isn’t. They will be under extreme pressure to make positive things happen quickly, especially if this is more of a turnaround situation. Every day is critical.
Smart companies will bring in an interim manager (IM) the day after the former marketing manager has left the building. While providing senior leadership to the staff during the transition the IM can provide an invaluable service by conducting an objective and thorough marketing audit.
With an unbiased eye a highly experienced IM can do an analysis that addresses the following fundamental questions about the marketing function.
- Do we know the customers?
- Do we know the best prospects and can we communicate with them?
- Do we know our markets?
- Do we know our competition?
- Do we know the industry trends?
- Do we know our costs for acquiring leads and customers?
- Do we know the lifetime value of a customer?
- Do we have the right marketing processes, metrics, and technology in place?
- Do we collaborate and support Sales optimally
- Are the skills and experience of the team up to the challenges ahead?
- Is the company aligned with the right vendors and agencies for the challenge ahead?
Odds are good that the audit will reveal some “no-brainer” changes that the IM can implement during the engagement. But, the real benefit is that the IM can present to the incoming manager a professional, unbiased marketing audit that can be acted on immediately to either right the ship or trim the sails. The 60-90 days this saves can easily be the difference between missing or hitting quarterly targets.
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