Interim Manager Alert

Our business community is probably going through its greatest upheaval and disruption, and, in many cases, its very survival is on the line. I have used the visual of a wave here to reflect where our world is at right now. The feedback we are getting from clients is mixed in terms of how they feel about the challenges involved in getting business back up and running. Some are fearful and nervous, some overwhelmed but many of the people we are talking to are determined to tackle the issues and make plans for the recovery. There is wonderful resilience out there and there is a sense also that new opportunities will be created by this disruption and change. They also recognise that they are going to need to avail of the experience and expertise of people who have crisis management experience.

Interim Managers are typically former GMs, Operations Managers and Functions Heads in e.g. HR, Finance, Production and Sales. They have the depth of experience and wisdom gained from dealing with crisis situations combined with the skills to be able to go into an organization, assess the situation and implement change in a fixed period of time.

There will be a demand for Interim Managers to either lead the transformation or alternatively they will be appointed to backfill for a senior executive who will have to lead the transformation. The demand for Interims will, in my view, be greater than the current stock so if you have the skills required and are available, now is the time to market your talents.

If you are already working as an Interim or you have the skills to be an Interim here are a few suggestions of things you should focus on;

  • Be clear on what your standout offering is, in terms of e.g. technical, functional, sectoral and geographical skills and experience and this will need to be quite specific.
  • Be clear as to what your target market is. It is good to be flexible but if it is too broad you may struggle to generate demand.
  • Potential clients will need to be convinced that your offering is what they require as there is a lot of anxiety and confusion out there at present.
  • Have good case studies of where you have delivered e.g., projects to challenging targets and outcomes and you need to be able to present them with clarity and relevance to your target market.
  • If you are not already strong at selling, you need to quickly develop the selling skills and attitudes of top-class salespeople. Everyone can sell but many people shy away from it.
  • Decide what your daily rate is. This can be a range, but it needs to make sense in terms of an annualized income given an average person selling their time in days can expect to get 100 chargeable days in a year.
  • It is also important to be disciplined with your time and not to undermine your rate by not charging time where you worked it.
  • It is useful to work with an Interim firm like BDO who has a broad range of clients and can help them to define the projects and the skills required to meet their needs.

We, in BDO, will be focusing on this area as a value proposition to assist our clients in this time of crisis and this is an opportunity for Interim Managers to play a key role in the economic wave of recovery.

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