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Note 6.1.1

The Definition of Interim Management has changed – and is continuing to change – significantly over the past thirty five plus years.

The Definition of Interim Management has changed – and is continuing to change – significantly over the past thirty five plus years.

This is where it started and this is the original definition:- Interim Management is the engagement of a senior independent Executive by an organisation for a limited and contractual period of time in a line, staff or project management role

The Interim Management Association

It is worth noting that this definition was agreed in 1987 when ATIES – the Association of Temporary and Executive Services – which became the Interim Management Association – www.InterimManagement.uk.com – was formed – as a Specialist Section within the Recruitment and Employment Confederation – www.rec.uk.com.  It is interesting to note that in 1987 when the predecessor organisation was formed, there were six Members.  Over the next couple of decades this reached about thirty and is now down to about thirteen.  Now rebadged  www.Interim-Management.org.uk, the REC has assumed a greater degree of control.

As time passed and different people took on management roles within the IMA, new Definitions came into play – all of them seeking to create a sharper focus on what Interim Managers do – or ought to be doing.  These have reflected, at various times, target areas such as Change Management, Project Management, Turnaround, Transformation (in themselves, all worth their own Definitions) – and, all the time, seeking to elevate the role and perception of the role of Interim Managers to higher corporate levels.  This might have worked – and be working – for some – but it makes the market smaller, more exclusive and, maybe, less profitable as volumes are lower. However, twice as high daily rates mean twice as high margins – but on fewer assignments.

There is nothing wrong in this, but, seen against the original definition, it reduces the range of sectors within the overall Interim Management market, leaving the lower value assignments unaddressed by IMA-level Providers.  Erosion of work volumes at the higher end to the larger professional services firms and, and the lower end, to the higher volume High Street agencies has resulted in serious unanswered questions about this constant process of flux and change. This environment is what Working Free calls the Self Drive Worker part of the 32m UK working population and does call for careful tracking by both Providers and Independents seeking to make money.

This original definition was broadly set of necessity – being, in general terms, the opposite of being a full-time employee of a payroll.  It is a reflection of the trend over the past forty or so years of businesses needing flexibility, immediacy and certainty in their resourcing needs – a short-term reaction where a long-term commitment would be inappropriate.  It also reflects, conversely, the need – either planned or otherwise – amongst senior business people to live their working lives as Independents.

The right definition also needs to be broad to accommodate the widening needs of clients – as to sector, role, time commitments, contractual arrangements and geography.   Specific areas of focus emerge from this initial broad definition, thereby making the Definition tighter.

Included in any Definition need to be the elements of Customer Service – not always effectively promoted in approaches to clients – from Interim Management Providers – starting with the initial assessment of need (is it an IM assignment?) agreeing the brief, fielding the shortlist, helping with selection, managing the engagement process and ensuring, afterwards, that all parties are getting what they were hoping for out of the assignment – happy outcomes being a shared responsibility between Client, Intermediary and Interim Manager.

Within this definition, clients’ needs are infinitely variable – and it is this special characteristic which lies at the heart of the Interim Management offering.  The IMA website covers this to some extent but could do with review and expansion – which is copied from www.InterimManagement.uk.com:

What is an Interim Manager?

Interim managers are experienced executives with specialist skills and a track record of achievement.

  • They are hired by businesses on a project basis to solve problems and can fill gaps or take on strategic roles; they deliver results quickly before moving on to the next assignment.
  • IMA members know what to look for in an interim manager and can provide organisations across the UK with access to these talented individuals and advice on how to use them.
  • Increasing numbers of business leaders are seeing interim managers as a more
    cost-effective solution than management consultants.
  • A top level independent executive or project manager
  • Interim managers are experts in their field
  • A high level performer with a track record of quantifiable achievement
  • A possessor of drive and energy
  • A perceptive individual capable of adapting to new environments and delivering results
  • Interim managers are available immediately

The IMA is for Interim Management Provider businesses.  Individuals may join the Institute of Interim Management – www.iim.org.uk   

The IIM – almost entirely volunteer led – is well worth serious study. In particular they have published some good Research.  See Section 6.1.6 – The Interim Management Market – and Research

This is their Definition – and which is supported by quite a bit of explanatory text.

Interim management is the provision of effective business solutions by an independent, board or near-board level manager or executive, over a finite time span. Such complex solutions may include change, transformation and turnaround management, business improvement, crisis management and strategy development. interim managers are often experienced in multiple sectors and disciplines.

Also important and a must for careful study is IPSE.  After fifteen successful years as PCG, (Professional Contractors Group – formed in May 1999) it became IPSE in 2014.

IPSE – The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed.

IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed, is the voice of the UK’s self-employed population and their subscription-driven membership body.  Representing, protecting and supporting the self-employed and based originally on IT Contractors and the introduction of HMG’s IR35 legislation, IPSE has a membership of 74,000 independent contractors, freelancers, consultants and interims and offers access to a huge range of membership benefits, knowledge, experience and their award-winning policy work with Government.

Of themselves, IPSE says:- “We believe that flexibility in the labour market is crucial to Britain’s economic success. We work with leading academic institutions and research agencies to provide empirical evidence about evolving market trends, to deliver both insightful information and effective policy campaigns to ensure our economy remains one of the most flexible, agile and innovative in the world.

IPSE Heron House, 10 Dean Farrar St, London SW1H 0DX T: +44 (0) 20 8897 9970 W: www.ipse.co.uk.  Download their brand new guide for senior leaders – FLEX.

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