I define an interim manager as someone who has been hired to carry out an assignment that lasts for a predefined length of time and that has a specific goal or target.
Although 'Interim Manager’ is sometimes used to describe a manager who temporarily replaces a departmental head (during sick leave or a sabbatical for example), nowadays the term is used in a much broader context than before, especially when businesses do not want to publicly admit they have a serious problem by advertising for a crisis manager!
Typically Interim Managers are brought into companies to solve three main kinds of problems:
Recurring problems: problems that for some reason keep coming back, despite efforts to resolve them. (Common examples of these include quality, customer satisfaction, personnel issues, disappointing sales or financial results and cash flow difficulties).
Opportunistic problems: problems that require taking hard decisions: crossroad decisions where often there are only two or three options, each with its own complex or even undesired consequences. These are often ‘one time, no return’ decisions linked to a problem that can sometimes be considered as a genuine opportunity.
Change problems: problems linked to the need for a business to change. These may be triggered by the emergence of new competition or by the introduction of new technologies in order to remain competitive, etc… Change problems are usually handled in the form of projects.
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