Do not hire an interim manager!

In an expert interview, Mariam Glonti and Ralf Venema from Perpetuo GmbH discussed the advantages and disadvantages of interim managers in transformation and restructuring projects. Venema emphasized that interim managers act critically and independently, often ask uncomfortable questions and take on an intermediary role between staff and management. Despite their direct and sometimes “aggressive” approach to redesigning processes, they are effective in implementing change and bring fresh perspectives to companies. Interim managers are expensive, but their expertise and immediate operational readiness justify the price. They are also often available more quickly than permanent managers and can be found at short notice through specialized providers. Venema emphasized that interim managers not only advise, but are actively involved in the implementation of changes.

In the form of an expert interview, Mariam Glonti, Visiting Associate at perpetuo GmbH, Dortmund, learned about the pros and cons of “hiring” Interim Managers in transformation and restructuring projects from Ralf Venema, restructuring expert at the same company.

Mariam Glonti: Interim Managers are rebellious!

Ralf VenemaIt is true that Interim managers are often uncomfortable and ask awkward questions, even to the management or the partner who hired the Interim Manager. Interim Managers are usually not “yes men” but voice their concerns to stakeholders. That’s exactly what they are paid for!

Mariam Glonti: This means that Interim Managers are not tied to loyalty?

Ralf Venema
: Loyalty to the client is beyond doubt and is one of the most important core values of the Interim, but – after a few months of cooperation at the latest – there is always a growing relationship to the workforce of a company and a related bond. An Interim often takes on the role of mediator between the workforce and management/shareholders when there are tensions or differences between the parties.

Mariam Glonti: Interim Managers are a headache and cause chaos!

Ralf Venema:Yes, in order to redesign already established processes in the organization Interim managers are often “aggressively” driven. They expose the real problems of the company and have all the freedom to drive changes. Because time is a scarce resource, interim managers must be straightforward and always on the point, never wasting time. They are not bound to the business, and they are not influenced by the company’s history or culture. Therefore, they push the teams of top managers to the edge, leaving behind a team that operates better than they ever have before with changed ways of decision making.

Radical changes in the organization make people anxious. Hiring a new full-time employee for a leadership role, especially after you enter a transitional phase, can be intimidating for the rest of the team in most cases. But an Interim Manager is always a temporary figure in the company, so the team will find temporary hire’s suggestions and strategies easier to adapt to.

Mariam Glonti: Interim managers only give advice!

Ralf VenemaWhile a consultant’s job might be observing and writing a report, an interim manager will make sure the change is executed in all cases. In other words, the Interim Manager immediately identifies opportunities and then implements them together with the closely involved project team. He is only satisfied if he had a tangible positive impact on an organization, by having an operational and hands-on role in an organization.

Interim Managers momentarily evaluate the environment inside of the organization, that’s what they’re trained to do. Their objective bird view makes it easier for them to identify opportunities and risks than for people with a long history at a specific company. Therefore, they providerepresent a shareholder with a critical analysis of the company and help implement changes.

Mariam Glonti: Interim Managers are very expensive!

Ralf VenemaHow do you price someone who can walk into most change or transition situations and help the client from day one? In the words of a board member of a multinational company: “The fundamental changes have to be done by someone overqualifiedand someone who does not need time to get adjusted in the company”. Executives who can handle this kind of situation with an immediate start are rare and therefore services are not cheap.

The Interim Manager will only be paid if their result is satisfactory. Not one further day. It is therefore up to the one who hires a person to measure their added value and to make the right decision. “No cure, no pay.”

Mariam Glonti: Interim Managers are difficult to find!

Ralf VenemaIf you have got the right and wide professional network, Interim managers are easier to find and are often available immediately, whereas it can take months to fill an internal position with the right candidate. Interim Managers do not require training or time to find their bearings. This ability to hit the ground running will save the company valuable time. If you do not have the right network in place, you will find the right Interim Manager within 48 – 72 h with help of specialized Interim Management Providers. We are in close contact with several providers and are extending our broad network this way in case we do not have the ideal resource available immediately. Advantages are, that good Providers do have a database with several thousand Interim Managers and therefore it is very realistic to find a person with the required expertise extremely fast. The disadvantage is, of course, that you will have to pay a fee to the providers in addition to the salary of the Interim Manager himself. The standard range of the fee is between 15 – 30 %!

Mariam Glonti: Thank you for this enriching conversation

Ralf Venema:
It was a pleasure to put a few points into the right perspective.

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