Talent on demand
Talent on demand
Interim managers can be used for anything from leading a turnaround to covering for sickness. Lindsey Moran, group operations director at outsourced IT company Silverbug, was impressed at how quickly she was able to secure a suitable replacement when her service delivery manager fell ill.
‘It’s a business-critical role for us, so it was really important to get someone who could hit the ground running,’ she explains. ‘We phoned a couple of agencies on Monday outlining our requirements and the candidate started on Friday.’
Moran adds that another advantage was the flexibility of the contract, which could be terminated at a week’s notice. The flip side is that this flexibility tends to cut both ways, and it comes at a price: the average day rate of a manager is £612, according to interim provider Russam GMS, though it can easily exceed £1,000 for high-powered senior executives.
Nick Glynne, managing director of IT products supplier Buyitdirect, says he would be reluctant to hire an interim. ‘In a process-driven business such as ours, intimate knowledge of operations is essential if a manager is to be a success and it takes at least six months to get up to speed,’ asserts Glynne.
Others would disagree. Kirsty Shenton, commercial director at Manchester-based marketing company MC2, is full of praise for her interim operations director, who was brought in 12 months ago to bolster the internal processes of the company.
‘As is the case with most entrepreneurial businesses, the directors at the head of the business are outward-facing,’ Shenton states. ‘The back end needed to catch up in order to take the company to the next level.’
The interim’s contribution has been ‘absolutely invaluable’, says Shenton, freeing up her and the other directors to do what they do best while putting in place the systems a young company needs to stabilise it as it expands.
Nevertheless, it’s a mistake to view an interim manager as no more than a package of skills to be unleashed on your business. Dermot Hill, a director at interim supplier Intramezzo, says that cultural fit is a vital consideration.
‘You have to be clear what style of person you’re looking for: someone who answers questions monosyllabically and takes no prisoners, or someone who’s a bit softer in their approach. You get it wrong at the peril of the project.’