Nic Paton looks at 10 of the key issues that a good interim manager can help you with
1 Crisis management
Interim managers (IMs) can provide a critical injection of expertise and a steadying hand on the tiller at a time of crisis for an organisation, argues Graham Bird, director of interim and strategic resourcing at Chiumento.
"We had a situation where a client was installing Oracle into the company and a key player left at a crucial juncture," he says. "We were able to get them an interim manager who had the experience and expertise and could get up-to-speed quickly."
In these situations, organisations want IMs who can move quickly, respond effectively, think on their feet and have the technical or management skills to do the job. Normally, you will be looking for an older interim with a number of years under their belt and, ideally, someone who has dealt with a similar situation before.
From the organisation's point of view, it is vital to identify appropriate candidates quickly, have a clear idea of what the crisis is and what needs to be done (or, at the very least, what solution needs to be arrived at - even if the process is unclear), and to give the IM the authority and backing to carry the project through.
2 Mentoring and development
Because interim managers are only as good as their last assignment, IMs, by definition, need to be up-to-speed with the latest thinking on training and development. Neil Fogarty, practice director of interim management firm IMS IM, argues that organisations will often tap into this knowledge and expertise when it comes to looking at the professional development of their own staff.
"Talent management is giving way to keeping hold of key people, giving them new skills and investing them with the latest information and methodologies," he explains.
"You need an IM skilled in professional development - someone who has done consultancy, mentoring and hand-holding, staff action plans, process mapping and that sort of thing."
IMs need self-confidence, gravitas and credibility to carry off effective mentoring - or indeed, most IM projects.
Mentor IMs can also play a vital part in bringing young protégés into the roles they are being guided to and, equally important, they can also provide confidential, objective advice to the CEO too.