Interim Managers vs. Executives: Navigating the First 100 Days
Updated: May 23
Interim management is a growing success story in today's business landscape, and it involves bringing in a temporary executive to manage a company, department, or project. Interim managers are hired to fill a leadership gap or to provide specialist expertise, and their role is often critical to a company’s success.
The first 100 days of an interim management assignment are particularly crucial– and differ from the first 100 days of employed executives. The main difference is an interim manager's laser-sharp focus on his task. Compared to regular employees, he or she is much less concerned with career-building and internal affairs. It’s all about getting the job done. During the first 100 days, the analysis phase requires the interim manager to perform a 360-degree scan of the situation. During this time, the interim manager must analyze the company, the employees, and the teams they will be working with, financials, and processes. This phase helps the interim manager optimize the assignment if need be and set clear goals based on their findings. They speak to all relevant stakeholders and assess the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This enables the interim manager to make informed decisions that align with the company's strategy.
«Veni, vidi, vici»
The first 100 days are also about setting up effective project management processes to achieve the project's goals within time and budget. The interim manager must be able to identify areas for improvement and implement changes that lead to positive outcomes. In this regard, the Latin saying "Veni, vidi, vici" (I came, I saw, I conquered) comes to mind. Interim managers must quickly assess the situation, gather the necessary information, and take decisive action to achieve their goals. During that process, they must always be ready to pivot and optimize - the context might change during an assignment, and the interim manager must be able to react swiftly and adapt the strategy accordingly. This requires flexibility and the drive to navigate fast-changing environments with ongoing passion and expertise.
Three Tips and Tricks for Interim Managers to Navigate the First 100 Days Successfully 1. Listen to your team with a strong focus on your ecosystem: As an interim manager, you will be working with a new team. It's crucial to listen to their ideas and suggestions and make them feel valued. This can help you gain their trust and buy-in, which is critical to achieving your goals. Make sure you focus on your key team.
2. Communicate Effectively: Communication is key to successful interim management. You must be able to communicate effectively with all stakeholders, including employees, clients, and management. This involves being transparent, clear, and concise in your communication.
3. Stay Focused on the End Goal: As an interim manager, you must stay focused on achieving the defined goal and avoid getting bogged down in day-to-day operations. This involves setting clear milestones, tracking progress, and making adjustments as needed.
That being said: Every assignment is different and there is no one-size-fits-it-all solution. The ability to adjust and “read the room” are key qualities of a good interim manager. It is not only something they must be able to do, but ideally, they have a passion for consistently new challenges and settings. In addition, we support large corporations and multinationals just as much as SMEs, which are very different contexts. While the advice above is true for any assignment, interim managers must be ready to adapt the scope, tone of voice, and operational involvement based on the context they are in.
Swiss Interim Management provides ongoing support and guidance
The first 100 days are therefore a crucial phase, as it is the phase in which the interim manager ensures he or she has all the necessary information to then get going and implement the defined strategy. This comes with a lot of responsibility. While Swiss Interim Management provides and manages highly qualified Interim Managers in Switzerland and Europe, the work does not stop there: SIM works closely with its interim managers to ensure assignments are on track, which includes milestone meetings such as the one after the first 100 days in which the assessment findings are discussed and any necessary adjustments made. Furthermore, Swiss Interim Management provides ongoing support to their interim managers and clients, leveraging their extensive knowledge and expertise to ensure their success.
Get in touch
Do you need temporary support, or are you interested in exploring the option to become an interim manager yourself? Schedule a free consultancy call today, and read about previous mandates here. We cover a range of industries and have successfully supported numerous blue-chip companies. For future interim managers: We always have plenty of exciting opportunities and look forward to receiving your CV!