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Interim MGMT

Whether a business is a large corporation, small function, public sector department or not-for-profit organisation, there are times when it needs expert help – without delay.

An interim management solution can be very effective in resolving organisational problems, whether the need is for a change in direction, climbing out of a hole, invigorating a business or dealing with an unexpected situation.

This short guide addresses in straightforward terms:

  • Interim management: defined
  • What interim managers are engaged to do
  • The interim management value proposition
  • The stages of an interim management assignment
  • Discussing the assignment with an interim manager
  • How interim managers are paid
  • Getting the best from an interim manager

Whether managing a crisis, delivering a critical project, handling change and restructure sensitively, or simply reinforcing in-house capability, interim managers meet critical business needs in the right time-frame and represent great value for money.

Interim management: defined

Interim management is the provision of effective business solutions by an independent, board or near-board level manager or executive, over a finite time span. Such complex solutions may include change, transformation and turnaround management, business improvement, crisis management and strategy development. Interim managers are often experienced in multiple sectors and disciplines.

Interim managers bring well-qualified skills and expertise to bear at short notice, without the overheads and shackles associated with employment. They consult, plan, advise, implement, and embed the lessons, then exit, handling a range of key strategic and tactical interventions. As businesses in their own right, they offer independent expertise, free of company politics, and take responsibility for delivering results, not just offering advice.

The differentiating ‘hallmarks’ of professional interim managers and executives from other types of temporary or fixed-term contract resources are:

  • High-impact
  • Independent
  • Professional
  • Senior
  • Transformational
  • Wide expertise
  • Time focused

What interim managers are engaged to do

Interim management assignments often address needs in the ‘change’ arena. Given their hugely flexible skills, interim managers will also carry out project management and even ‘gap’ or ‘resource shortage’ assignments, but it is the interim manager’s independence and authority, along with the responsibility and scope requirements of the particular assignment, that define an ‘interim management assignment’ as opposed to a contractor’s contract, or an agency worker’s temporary work.

  • Change management
  • Specialist skill requirement
  • Turnaround
  • A deluxe gap filler
  • Expert additional resource
  • Consultancy with implementation

The interim management value proposition

The ‘interim management value proposition’ is the profession’s unique selling proposition. It is the mantra that marks interim management’s offering and scope.

  • Return on Investment
  • Speed
  • Expertise
  • Objectivity
  • Accountability
  • Effectiveness
  • Commitment

Interim managers offer expert service and transformational interim leadership, just when required.

The stages of an interim management assignment

The following assignment life cycle shows how interim managers enter, engage with and exit their assignments. The early stages have much in common with consultancy, as the later stages have with project management, but the combination of insightful analysis and results-driven implementation is the differentiating hallmark of the interim management approach.

  1. Entry
  2. Diagnosis
  3. Proposal
  4. Implementation
  5. Exit

Interim managers arrive quickly, engage effectively for as long as required, then leave.

Discussing the assignment

Professional interim managers will focus the client business discussion upon the assignment, project, issue, or requirement highlighted. They will be delighted to discuss their expertise, prior successes and approaches to the situation. However, businesses who attempt to ‘interview’ the interim manager as if they were a permanent employee run the risk of having a ‘cross-purpose’ conversation that fails to unlock the ‘added value’ of the interim manager.

An interim business meeting combines an assessment of the interim manager and a focused discussion to qualify and address the business issues at stake.

How interim managers are paid

Interim managers typically charge by a ‘day-rate’ based on their track record, function and seniority. Depending on how sourced, clients are invoiced by the interim manager or service provider.

When buying direct, the interim manager will negotiate a day-rate directly with the client. Sometimes they may consider a fixed fee, part-payment by results or other arrangement, depending on the work. If the interim manager comes via a service provider, then the provider will take a fee (margin).

An interim manager is an independent professional who charges on the basis of their added value to the business. That value might be judged by extensive cost-savings, revenue and/or profit growth, significant risk mitigation, or the provision of key services that may not be able to be done within an organisation currently. Interim managers both advise and implement, often in challenging conditions. They expect to be rewarded for making a big difference, not simply for ‘turning up’.

Interim managers, depending on expertise and seniority, typically charge from around £450 to around £2,000 per day. Payment is without the two-thirds on top costs paid to senior employees and companies only pay the interim manager or executive for the days they are actually working.

Getting the best from an interim manager

Once a professional interim manager has been engaged, businesses can unlock their potential by giving them the access and resources they need.

  • Expect a rapid start
  • Allow responsibility and control
  • Meet regularly
  • Interim managers manage
  • Interim managers hold budgets
  • Interim managers have no political agenda
  • Expertise is helpful, not threatening
  • Interim managers tackle difficult and sensitive work
  • Interim managers spot the danger signs
  • Leaving a legacy
  • Interim managers welcome endorsement on success
  • Keeping in touch

Interim managers need the authority and control to make a difference, or they will have one hand tied behind their backs, reducing their value to the business.

Further reading

Additional information on engaging an interim manager can be found by downloading the following titles:

Should I hire an interim manager or a management consultancy?

Five common mistakes when hiring interim managers


I worked with Dave in his role as Interim Operation director for NFT where he was responsible for significant turn around of warehousing operations. Refreshing to work with an Operations Director with the ability to deliver strategically and still remain at the heartbeat of the operations; able to engage and communicate effectively at every level. A real leader, great with clients and great to work with, a real credit and an excellent advert for the Interim world!

Darren Outlaw CMILT Transport, Logistics, Supply Chain Consultant

I have worked with Dave previously, and each time he has been a thoroughly reliable and safe pair of hands. At Silentnight Dave tackled the logistics operation capturing the expected savings through a combination of better management of the in-house warehousing and transport operations, and led a cost reduction exercise based around outsourcing activities where a more cost effective solution was apparent. He’s an unflappable guy, works hard and is a pleasure to work with.

Jon Gatfield Transformation Management and Advisory Services