Interim management is increasingly seen as a valuable business resource. Here is our guide to the qualities you should look for in an interim manager
Despite the fact that many people would still not know what "interim management" actually means, those who do like to talk about its "changing face". Ten years ago, when it first started being written about in the more outré management journals, it was hailed as the ultimate symbol of the disposable labour market - the temps at the top who had been reengineered out of proper jobs to scavenge the odd week's work for themselves in the post-industrial blight of self-employment.
Today, we are assured, this is the odd and disturbed infancy of the beast, before it made good and hit the big time. All in the past. "It is absolutely not an alternative to a real job," says Ian Daniell, chairman of the interims' trade body, the Association of Temporary and Interim Executive Services.
"It is not about marketing the services of redundant executives. Those who do it want to operate in this way, as a professional undertaking. It is a conscious career choice people make about an alternative way of working."
He concedes that, as in many other ways, redundancy can be a spur. But, he says client companies do not just want a safe pair of hands who can do no damage while someone important is off.
"Interim management is an executive resourcing service. It is not about getting someone in to hold the fort. When you employ an interim, you are bringing in someone to add value, to revitalise a function or an organisation."
Daniell says that as little as five years ago, all CVs he received were from people in their 50s and 60s; the restructured and downsized, the early retired with an inkling there was life in the old dog yet.
Now, he says, they are a decade younger - 40s or 50s, choosing an alternative to the drudgery of the daily grind. The cynical might believe there is a touch of branding in this view. After all, IM firms regard it as a gruesome faux pas to use the word "agency" when referring to the suppliers of interims - agency means HGV drivers and shorthand secretaries, although the tendency to sharpen the distinction may speak volumes to outsiders.
Yet, according to one of the few pieces of research into the views of the interims themselves, there is ample support for his