Looking after your interests

From
next month interims will have a new institute to set standards and represent
them, By Caroline Horn

The
growth of interim management as a career is reflected in the organisations now
representing the industry. Next month sees the official launch of the Institute
of Interim Management (IIM). The existing Interim Management Association (IMA),
previously the ATIES (Association of Temporary and Interim Executive Services),
will continue to represent corporate interests while the IIM will focus on the
interests and professionalism of individual interim managers.

The
IMA, which will have a member on the executive committee of the IIM, has
encouraged the formation of the new organisation. It will operate as a
standard-setting body. The IIM will help establish the standards of
competencies by which to judge interims.

John
Wood, managing director of Sterrywood Associates and acting chairman of the
steering committee of the IIM, says the organisation has been four years in the
making. Initially, the then ATIES recognised the need for a separate
organisation to represent individual interim managers and then last year, a
survey undertaken by AshtonPenney Partnership reflected the groundswell of
support for such a body.

Today,
the IIM has a steering group and constitution and is allied with the Institute
of Management, which has provided a framework for the organisation to work
within. It has also established the foundations for membership which, says
Wood, "will recognise initially that interim managers come from a variety
of backgrounds and experiences". Two years from the launch, he says,
"We will aim to have accreditation processes in place and after that stage
the standards and requirements for membership will rise."

There
will be three levels of membership:

Associate
Someone who has demonstrated his or her intent to work as an interim manager.
He or she might have their own company but not a track record, although they
will previously have achieved a senior level in a corporation.

Member
Someone who has satisfied the associate feature but who also has a record of
successful assignments over time, which will be assessed by the committee.

Companion
by invite
Someone who has given services to interim managers over a number
of years and has considerable experience, but who might not have formal
management qualifications.

Within
two years, there will also be the grade of fellow, for those who have worked to
advance the cause of interim management, although those requirements have still
to be established.

"We
are developing the range of benefits interim managers can expect to get from
membership," says Wood. Given that many interim managers work in
isolation, the IIM will provide a good networking opportunity and a platform to
exchange ideas.

To
join the association, interim managers will have to join the Institute of
Management, which costs about £80, and pay an additional premium for IIM
membership. This is likely to be about another £100.

By
this April, the IIM expects to have about 400 members. While it is difficult to
estimate the actual number of practising interim managers, in the long term
John Wood expects the IIM to attract some 5,000 members.

The
organisation aims to provide the opportunity for management development and
skills development in a structured way. "One of the main benefits we hope
to provide is that, as the institute goes forward, we will establish standards
and helping interims to achieve those," explains Wood. "Over time,
those standards will rise and perhaps 20 years down the line we will have
chartered status."

The
IIM will also be in a position to represent managers on a wider platform and to
argue for the profession with government bodies – not to mention the Inland
Revenue. "The IIM is not about knocking on company’s doors to negotiate
better rates on behalf of interim managers," warns Wood. "What we do
want to do is get interim management recognised as a bona fide profession.
Interim managers are not ‘Mr Fix-Its’ but a genuine human resource that should
be considered by companies as part of their strategic development plan."

The
longer-established IMA, meanwhile, is already working to set more general
standards, says Ian Daniell, managing director of Executive Support Group
company and chairman of the IMA.

There
are three aspects to setting the standards, says Daniell. "We have been
trying to raise standards of people who say they operate as interim managers –
although that mantle will now be taken up by the IIM. We are also trying to
raise standards of service providers by having our internal disciplinary
procedures and a code of practice, which members are asked to subscribe to. And
we are trying to develop the business."

While
he admits that a voluntary organisation will always be difficult to police, the
IMA has its own internal procedures and codes of practice. "We have a
procedure whereby complaints from member companies, the industry or member
companies about other member companies, can be investigated and action
taken," says Wood. "The worst that can happen is for a company’s membership
to be taken away, although it has never got to that stage."

The
IMA has been involved in successfully resolving disputes among its members –
such as the "Who got to the client first?" scenarios. If it fails to
resolve a dispute it can call on the services of the Recruitment and Employment
Confederation legal department – the IMA is a specialist division of the REC.

The
cost of a corporate application for next year is £1,500, which is also
recognised by the REC. Requirements for membership include having an established
company that has operated as an interim management company for 12 months, or as
a separate identifiable interim management practice within a larger
organisation. The IMA needs at least two reference companies and evidence of
trading during the preceding 12 months.

At
this stage, the IMA’s priority is not on expanding membership as much as
establishing its new name and brand, and ensuring that it is in a position to
do what it says it will do in terms of setting and maintaining standards, says
Daniell.

He
adds, "We want to encourage client companies to find out about interim
companies, develop relationships with them, and to know how best interim
managers can fulfil their requirements."

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