According to a forecast survey by the Dachgesellschaft Deutsches Interim Management e. V. (DDIM), the interim management market will grow to 2.5 billion euros in 2022 – even surpassing the high pre-Corona level. This prediction shows: Interim management is enjoying increasing popularity in Germany. This is not surprising, after all, the added value offered by interim managers is enormous. And if a mandate does go wrong, it is often due to the company, an inaccurate briefing and rarely the interim manager himself. To help you, as the person in charge of a company, find the right interim manager for your challenge, I will highlight 6 typical pitfalls in the selection process – and discuss how you can avoid them.
PITFALL 1: TOO MUCH FOCUS ON QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERTISE
In the selection process, companies often look for clear qualifications – and pay less attention to the experience an interim manager brings to the table. However, successful interim managers do not improve companies simply because they have enjoyed a good academic education. But because they roll up their sleeves, keep a cool head in critical situations – and make decisions that no one else dares to make. They can do this because they have seen countless companies from the inside in critical situations. Their experiential knowledge therefore enables them to make quick and targeted decisions – and not their studies.
➜ My tip: When selecting an interim manager, pay attention to their experience – including experience gained in other industries. They will also bring important know-how to your company and provide fresh impetus.
PITFALL 2: NO CULTURAL FIT
When a client receives a list of interim manager candidates from an interim management provider and has an initial interview with potential interim managers, a decision is made based on rational and unconscious emotional criteria. The disappointment is great when it turns out later that the interim manager doesn’t fit in at all. They are an outsider. And while interim managers don’t have to be friends with everyone in the company, they should have some overlap with the company’s philosophy and values.
➜ My tip: Don’t just focus on facts and figures in the first interview. Also address the soft factors and compare the interim manager’s values with those of the company. Make sure there is a cultural fit.
PITFALL 3: DECIDING ON THE PRICE
The daily rates charged by an interim manager may seem daunting at first glance. However, if you calculate the Return on Interim Management (RoIM), you will quickly realise that the day rate is reasonable compared to the value added by an interim manager. The RoIM is the net cash flow benefit of the interim activity (A) divided by the cost of the interim management assignment (B). The RoIM is often between 100 and 400 per cent. The question is: where would your business be if you hadn’t hired an interim manager?
➜My tip: never decide on the basis of the daily rate. You know the quote from fireman Red Adair: “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur”.
PITFALL 4: UNCLEAR DESCRIPTION OF THE JOB AND RESISTANCE TO CONSULTATION
If you can’t clearly describe what the company needs, you’re inviting misunderstandings. Especially if you, as the client, are not open to the ideas and suggestions that the interim manager brings to the table. Then the interim manager cannot work with you to develop the specific task. The result: the core of the assignment is not understood from the outset, and everyone is working in different directions. A waste of resources!
➜My tip: Try to formulate the problem and the task as precisely as possible, including the three most important objectives in complete sentences. If you can’t do that, communicate it directly and let the interim manager guide you. Interim managers are able to work with their clients to identify the real problems and the steps to be taken.
If required, they can also coach management on specific issues and current challenges. For many managers, interim managers are the neutral and competent sounding board they cannot find within the company.
“For interim managers, the target is the target.
PITFALL 5: UNREALISTIC OBJECTIVES
Yes, interim managers deliver high performance. But they do not have supernatural powers. Anyone who sets goals blindly and cannot even discuss them creates a negative atmosphere: for the interim manager, who has to argue with the client about adjusting the goals, and for the employees, who cannot achieve the goal and therefore cannot be motivated.
➜My tip: Work out the goals and sub-goals together with the interim manager. Write the objectives down so that both sides are clear about where the journey is going. Describe the agreed steps to achieve the goals as precisely as possible. However, allow the interim manager sufficient flexibility as the journey is not the destination – the destination is the journey.
PITFALL 6: LACK OF ACCESS TO NECESSARY DATA AND RESOURCES
An interim manager can be as good as they come: if you deny them access to necessary information, data and resources, they will not lead you to success. In addition, you will destroy the relationship of trust with the interim manager and lay the foundation for a toxic business relationship. And you slow down the progress of the interim manager who is already in the company for a limited time. Sometimes companies only realise afterwards that they cannot provide the resources for the interim manager and then assign routine tasks to them. It’s an expensive pleasure.
➜My tip: Provide the interim manager with all necessary information, data and resources. Check early on whether you can actually provide the necessary resources (manpower, financial resources, etc.).
ANOTHER INSIDER TIP: GENERALIST OR SPECIALIST?
Hiring a generalist with no specific expertise usually makes little sense. Nobody needs a “jack of all trades” because there is usually only one bottleneck in the company.
Do you have a personnel problem? Bring in an HR professional.
Is the supply chain broken? An interim supply chain manager will fix it.
Or are you looking for a B2B sales specialist? Then you have come to the right place!
I SUPPORT YOU ON THE WAY TO YOUR SUCCESS
I am a strategist, an innovator, an unconventional thinker, a mover and shaker and therefore I do the right things sooner and better.
And with pleasure also for you.
Together we can discover new market opportunities, steer product branding into the right direction, understand your customers better – and stand out from the competition with tailor-made products for your target group. All this leads to more customer satisfaction, greater customer lifetime value and more sales potential.
Can you afford not to go for it?