Interim Management : A bright future

Major trends such as globalisation; the emergence of new technologies; mounting pressures on costs and performance; the need to act fast to exploit opportunities; and a decline in the conventional executive talent pool cause companies to react in many ways – for example, organisation’s modify their structures and processes; introduce new systems; outsource, sell or acquire companies or new business units.

This business predicament often leads to tough and ever changing demands on management to look at new ideas and new ways to get the job done. To address this, interim managers are being parachuted into businesses to tackle often large projects, at very senior level.

Interim management (also called “transition management” in certain geographies) consists of strengthening the management, on a full-time but on a temporary basis in order to carry out a mission on behalf the organisation: in the form of transformation project, crisis management, or replacement of a manager  where they need management band-width on short notice.

Companies are now bound to fast and profound transformations in an unprecedented way as they face disruptive geostrategic, demographic, ecological and digital changes all over the globe. Hence, the use of high calibre individuals as additional management resources in order to cope with both daily business challenges and the implementation of transformation projects proves to be a good solution going forward. The interim management solution allows companies, during a limited period of time, to keep control of their operations, without entailing permanent fixed costs.

According to current research from western industry associations, interim management has become a rapidly expanding business choice and its strong growth in developed economies offers a bright future.

But what future exactly?

In order to answer this question, we need to distinguish between two levels of interim management.

  • An intermediary level: which translates into the placement of operational, functional or project managers who are able to fill a position (sales, operations, finance, human resources, etc.) and to drive forward organization and cross-functional projects.
  • A senior executive level: the engagement of highly experienced senior managers capable of driving large-scale transformations such as post-merger integrations, development of new activities, international expansion, turnarounds, corporate restructuring and exits from crisis.

Intermediary level interim management enhances the reactive capacity and flexibility of companies while freeing them temporarily from the legal rigidities of the labour market.   The recent interest in the topic from procurement departments of large corporations and progress of some internet marketplaces suggest a substantial volume increase coupled with a significant price reduction in countries where interim management is perceived as a commodity.

As a result, a future is emerging in which a significant percentage of the intermediate managers of a company may fall within the scope of an interim management approach.

Hence intermediary level interim management is about to consolidate the flow of independent work (freelance), which is on the rise, in all developed societies, at the expense of traditional salaried employment. Whilst senior executive level interim management help directly achieve the more significant objectives attached to transformation projects requiring hands-on involvement covering preparation, execution phase and handover.

Bring in the “A” team

Interim management is sometimes confused as Consulting. While certain consultants may contribute to defining transformation projects of strategic importance in terms of development, integration and/or cost savings, their implementation being key and this becomes a matter of proper management.

Interim executives embedded in the company form part of executive committee, provide the most natural way to follow up to the consultants’ recommendations and drive operations towards achieving the goals. All the more efficiently as it is their sole mission. Internalizing interim executives for transformation implementation purposes allows companies to speed-up achievements, as interim executives not only bring experience, but show a genuine aptitude to empower people and manage a team to take change forward.

Today most transformation projects are of global nature and globalisation means that top talent will increasingly come from across borders as organisation will be looking for interim manager’s with diverse skills and multi-industry, multi-country experience; and successful implementation may require teams of interim executives of different nationalities taking over from international consultancy firms.

That’s definitely the boldest way to go for interim management, and, who knows, the cradle of a new type of consultants. The recent integration of operational managers into some of the most prestigious consultancy firms is an example of this boldness.

And that’s also the relevance of the project driven by WIL Group, the first global interim and transition management group to deliver truly global interim and transitional management solutions to clients globally.