An Introduction to Interim Management
For many today, interim management has become the viable (and often more lucrative) alternative to permanent employment. Often this is as a result of age discrimination kicking in as one gets older, regardless of the law or the good intentions expressed by government or by many business gurus.
Basically an Interim Manager plugs a gap on a short term contract. The reasons for the gap are numerous ranging from someone having fallen under the proverbial bus, difficulties in recruiting a permanent replacement for a leaver, a pair of additional experienced hands at a busy time right through to managing a project for which there is no one in house to do the work. In that last instance it is often consultancy but under a more user friendly name.
People in many organisations rather fear consultants. The old story is that they come in at enormous expense, spend a lot of time disrupting daily life with their questions, produce a report which tells everyone what they already know and depart leaving the organisation to pick up the pieces.
As an Interim Manager you join as a temporary, non-threatening part of the team. You are
paid at a daily rate which should exceed the salary for the job and you normally implement any changes you have recommended before departing. Your daily rate should take account of the fact that as an Interim Manager you pay for your own car and all your benefits plus any time you take for holidays. A rough rule of thumb is £100 for every £10,000 the full time job commands. So if you replace someone earning £40,000 try for £400 per day plus reasonable accommodation, if required, plus travel expenses at the rate the company offers its executives. This compares very favourably with daily rates of over £2000 demanded by big consultancy firms for the same work.
Flexibility is the name of the game. Use your general management knowledge and experience to maximum effect and do not get pigeon holed by your last job title. Be flexible on remuneration. Many SMEs find daily rates of £4-500 per day very difficult to comprehend. Most of us have a Charity rate as part of our feel good factor.
Be flexible on status. For example if you had been an Operations Director you may be asked to step into an Operations Manager’s role. One result is that you will bring enormous extra experience to the role. Be flexible on time. If you have to stay locally with no family or other commitments it is amazing how much work you can get through in the quiet evenings. You can really add value and this should be reflected in references and recommendations for your next assignment.
It is essential to learn to ‘hit the ground running’ a favourite expression in the business. You will not have the luxury of a settling in period or carrying out a detailed consultancy style information gathering exercise. Clients will expect a rapid return on their investment so you need to work with them to identify some key issues very quickly, like within the first two days, with which you can notch up some early wins. In the same way you need to learn to identify the internal power-brokers and whether they are positive or negative, so you can handle them appropriately.
In our next blog we will look at getting started, how long assignments last and dealing with the taxman.