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The Role of the Interim Manager

By Thomas Reid, Oct 29 2014 07:12AM

The task of the interim manager in improving business

In today’s highly competitive environment characterised by tight operating margins, businesses need to maintain market standards and stay ahead of the competition. From time to time successful businesses need an injection of fresh ideas, innovative strategies, and cost effective measures in order to deliver a strong and dependable workforce that can deliver targets.

How can an interim manager help?

Interim managers are tasked with bring skills to your business in order to drive specific internal project goals. These projects arise due to today’s market conditions and the continuing need to push the boundaries of your business ever forward. To deliver the desired change, specialists are often required with the industry transformation experience. Existing management may not have the time to take out from delivering on their own general targets to implement the necessary changes.

Interim manager over full-time executive

There will always be a choice of either hiring an expensive executive as a permanent addition to the full-time staff or assigning an interim manager. Both bring the skills and sector experience to implement the necessary changes. Perhaps you need to expand, downsize, relocate, open or close outlets, review your range of services or review costs and cash-flow. These require project based skills and experience to oversee and once accomplished, often don’t require the project leader to stay on as a full-time employee. The advantage of the right interim manager is that they will be able to work within the existing management structure or independently to achieve a successful conclusion. This will be done in the shortest possible time and with minimal disturbance to the existing business.

Successfuly managing the business cycle

Every industry will go through a cycle of growth, stability, and unfortunately, downturns. Those businesses that can react quickly to these trends are those that will inevitably thrive. The board does not always have the necessary skills or time to manage individual project changes within the business. An interim manager is directly responsible to drive the desired transformations, with very limited involvement in other unrelated operations. They are therefore ideally place to perform cost cutting exercises, communicate with stakeholders, and maintain confidence with your employees, suppliers, stakeholders and creditors. They are also ideally placed to take on the difficult role of reducing the workforce, not leaving the incumbent management ’tarnished’ with redundancies.

Clarity in the scope

The contract should have specific objectives, deliverables and deadlines that are to be achieved, all of which should have been fully explored and agreed with the interim before the commencement of the role. Aside from the transitory nature of most interim assignments, from time to time companies will ask the interim manager to stay on longer. This is often not a problem as long as there is a job to do however unless the scope of the project changes, it is worth remembering that interims are the most effective decision makers when working to pre-determined goals within time constraints.

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