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How do interim managers effectively use the gap between two assignments?

Updated: Mar 14

Thomas reflects on the large painting that has adorned his desk for nearly a year. Regardless of whether it was an early Monday morning or a late Thursday evening, the painting has been a steadfast companion. Now, as he readies himself to depart, he perceives how the dynamic colors and definitive shapes mirror his work — challenging yet comforting. "I appreciate this painting," he muses, as he closes the door behind him.

Interim managers are typically engaged for approximately 200 days annually, with assignments usually lasting between nine and eighteen months. These professionals remain deeply invested in companies throughout their assignments, consistently operating in a "hands-on" mode.

Their roles necessitate conducting employee interviews, rapidly understanding processes and metrics, and communicating with absolute precision. Decisions must be made decisively and transparently, as the board, management, and employees anticipate swift results. Each temporary manager has a clearly defined goal, and once this goal is attained, they exit the company. But what follows?

We explore how interim executives manage entrepreneurial risks and how they harness the time between two assignments for personal and professional growth.

A thoughtful man with a beard and glasses, sitting with his arms crossed over the back of a chair, in a casual office environment.
Reflective leadership: An interim manager ponders strategic decisions in a modern office setting.

Independence. A win-win situation.

Interim managers view themselves as entrepreneurs. They work independently, assuming complete responsibility for their performance. If they fall ill or face a prolonged period without an engagement, the onus is on them. Frequently, they embark on this path after a successful career in a permanent role. During the latter half of their careers, they particularly value their independence. They relish the absence of corporate politics or internal power struggles, which allows them to focus solely on their tasks. This paves the way for a surplus of energy that can be efficiently channeled.

Their unbiased perspective is a major selling point for interim managers. Companies gain significantly from their impartial views on different subjects. Having been exposed to various companies from the inside, they quickly identify entrenched patterns. This acute understanding positions them as 'super-recognizers' of a company's weaknesses.

Interim managers do shoulder some of their own economic risks, and comprehensive social security is only partially accessible to them. However, in collaboration with Swiss Interim Management, we share this risk, ensuring increased stability while maintaining entrepreneurial independence. The amalgamation of new challenges, measurable performance, direct feedback from employees and clients, and the exhilaration of successfully managing a project, fosters immense motivation.

Include downtime in the business plan.

Incorporating downtime into the business model is vital. Interim managers need to cover their living costs, provide for their families, and save for retirement. At Swiss Interim Management, we establish fees and monthly payments to ensure a smooth transition between two assignments. These periods of non-engagement are integral to the interim manager's business model, ensuring independent action, and hence, they are extremely valuable. This downtime can be devoted to relaxation, further training, acquisition, and personal growth.

At first glance, it might seem unusual that a company funds a manager's downtime post-assignment. However, it's important to remember that interim managers cover expenses such as social security (AHV), pension funds, sick days, and further training from their own provisions. Furthermore, they maintain a high-performance mode throughout the assignment, so it's clear they cannot immediately plunge into another engagement.

Swiss Interim Management provides continuous support in the search for new assignments, which on average, takes two to six months to bridge, depending on the management level.

Maintain physical and mental fitness.

Maintaining physical and mental fitness is of utmost importance. Like expeditions, interim mandates are intense, goal-oriented endeavors. Starting a new task weary and drained is hardly a recipe for success. Top performers know the value of maintaining physical and mental fitness, as they are their most valuable assets. Regular exercise, balanced diet, and sufficient sleep are crucial for interim managers. However, there are times when fitness may be neglected due to long working hours and frequent travel. The period between two mandates is the perfect time to recharge, plan self-care routines, and reconnect with family and friends, who are significant sources of support.

Mentoring and coaching

Mentoring and coaching are invaluable. Almost everyone can recall a person who consistently offered independent and constructive feedback. This mentor, often encountered along our career path, is someone whose words and actions carry weight. In the downtime between two assignments, there is more time for interaction with personal mentors or coaches from Swiss Interim Management. Through this, professional experiences can be discussed, categorized, and learned from. The mentor knows our strengths, weaknesses, and pain points, and hence acts as a sparring partner who helps us improve. Moreover, this mentor can also gain insights from our experiences and knowledge about the latest tools and trends. Swiss Interim Management facilitates this dynamic exchange among like-minded professionals.

Client feedback

Client feedback is the yardstick of success. It is when the results are sustainable and the client is satisfied that interim managers gauge their success. These managers assess their engagements through feedback meetings where the goals are precisely measured, evaluated, and assessed. This helps determine progress and the success of the interim manager's assignment. These insightful discussions also form the basis for regular interactions with clients and the calculation of agreed bonus shares.

Even when the interim management meets everyone's highest satisfaction, there is always room for improvement. Top performers know the importance of analysis, particularly when they are successful. Small errors can always occur, and if things are going well, they may be overlooked. This analysis offers valuable insights for both the client and the interim manager for future improvement. Swiss Interim Management ensures this quality check.

Thomas managed to find the artist's name. Now, an art print of the expressive painting hangs above his desk at home —the motif, a mountain landscape in the Davos Alps. Thomas knows when his next "expedition" will commence, but there's still some time before that happens.

Swiss Interim Management: Bridging the Gap Between Companies and Experts. Since 2009, we have been of service for companies in locating the right interim managers for their unique requirements. Concurrently, we serve as a long-term consultant and support for over 400 interim managers in our community. Our services include

  • Determining the goals to be achieved by the interim manager and Swiss Interim Management.

  • Assessing the feasibility of the desired goals, considering the interim manager's experience and skills along with the client's plans.

  • Redefining targets after a three-month induction period. Conducting a reassessment of target achievement.

  • Carrying out a quality check before the assignment's completion.

  • Providing coaching to the interim manager throughout the assignment.

  • Assisting in finding new assignments that align perfectly with the interim manager's professional and personal goals.

  • By working together, we ensure enough room for the essential — successful interim management.

Are you currently in need of a suitable interim manager? Or, do you aspire to join our thriving community? Schedule a consultation today.

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1 commento

30 giu 2023

Lazing, why not?

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