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FAQ

Regarding all questions concerning interim management

In our FAQ you find answer to all frequently asked questions concerned with any topic connected to Interim Management.

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Interim management is the limited appointment of external managers to take on temporary management tasks due to lack of resources, required expertise or bridging of vacancies. Interim managers are usually self-employed managers who are hired as managers acting in a position of responsibility in a company for a certain project, a management task or an urgent personnel vacancy for an agreed period of time. They are paid through invoicing based on previously agreed daily rates. Interim management appointments end either after the contractually stipulated time period or earlier, after successful completion of the tasks agreed in the contract, unless the contract is extended for new tasks.

Interim mangers are regularly employed in line manger functions or in programs and projects where they manage and implement strategic or important operative tasks.

Companies which use external expertise temporarily are a crucial step ahead of their competitors on their way to an efficient, “lean” organization. For them, interim management is a precision instrument for flexible resource planning and company management. Interim managers compensate for management bottleneck situations, providing their customers with measurable competitive advantages through a high level of flexibility and external know-how.

In addition to strategic and operative company management, permanently employed managers primarily ensure control and support processes in line management, while flexible management resources are mainly used for projects, programs and additional tasks. These can include tasks for business development, post merger integration or restructuring as well as change management, process optimization or cost reduction. Such a strategically planned and flexibly used mixture of fixed and free management resources offers companies in all industries considerable potential for increased flexibility and efficiency reserves.

There are three essential reasons for using interim managers:

Resources

Capacity utilization peaks and additional tasks create an increased demand for management resources which can only be compensated by additional work from in-house managers, consultants or external service providers to a limited extent. This can lead to overburdening of the permanently employed managers as well as to transfer losses in cooperation with external parties. There is also a risk of the areas of responsibility and the leadership scopes becoming too large which can result in leadership deficits and substantial quality and efficiency losses, for example when important sub-tasks are left unfinished or control processes are managed insufficiently. Such a volatile demand for management capacities can be ideally compensated through interim management.

Know-how

Expert knowledge and leadership competence are two of the most important and cost-intensive factors of production in the so-called knowledge society. Even for highly profitable companies it is inefficient to provide redundant management resources or specialized expertise and implementation knowledge within the company for all requirements. On the contrary, almost all private companies are subject to the pressing expectation from their shareholders to keep their personnel structure as lean as possible. Apart from this, success-oriented managers will hardly want to remain in “stand-by” positions for possible cases of need – they want to take on operative responsibility and pursue active further development. If additional expertise is required under these conditions in the short or medium term, it is not possible to hire new managers for this purpose in time. The search and selection processes are much too time-consuming and expensive considering the increasing lack of skilled personnel and managers. Using interim managers is an obvious solution in these situations.

Vacancies

Considering the increasingly lean and optimized personnel resources, the human resources departments of companies are under great pressure to fill vacancies created by managers leaving or new positions being created. The usually high requirements for the vacant positions necessitate complex selection processes and time-consuming assessments. Despite all efforts by the human resource management, hiring processes today often take several months, not in the least due to the ever decreasing supply of specialist and management personnel. These transition phases are increasingly being filled with interim managers. They take over the vacant position in the short term, ensuring the implementation of the tasks and ideally also supporting the company with the selection and introduction of the new manager in permanent employment.

The areas for using interim management are not limited to the “tough” issues of restructuring and redundancies. The majority of the appointments is for expanding, optimizing or bridging business fields. Interim management is in particularly great demand for turnaround processes, for bridging vacancies, for exploring new markets, for developing new business fields and for managing complex projects. The agenda often includes company development, efficiency increase, crisis management and the management of strategic programs and projects. In addition to all this, companies make targeted use of interim managers to obtain external specialist knowledge and best practices.

Interim appointments usually last between seven and sixteen months. In highly complex projects, managers are sometimes appointed for more than two years.

Interim managers are booked by small and medium-sized companies as well as by international groups of companies. The customers come from all business sectors and industries, but in particular from the manufacturing industry, IT and telecommunications companies, mechanical engineering and plant engineering, the automotive supplier industry as well as the service sector. Even public authorities or institutions with public involvement such as municipal utility departments have been increasingly using interim managers to obtain specialist know-how and management expertise from the industry.

The interim managers from taskforce work in roles in the fields of finance, human resource management, information technology, marketing and communication, program and project management, restructuring, sales and supply chain management.

For some executives, the use of interim mangers has an underlying image of failure of the company's own management. But would not any professional immediately consult a specialist when they are stuck? Confident managers choose to obtain support through professional management services without hesitating. For it is more important to resolve a pressing issue than to refrain from action based on an accusation of alleged deficits.

Central benefits of interim management:

Experience

Crucial added value is provided by the interim managers' long-standing leadership experience and the high level of implementation competence which usually allow them to quickly gain the trust of the management and the employees of the customer company.

Focused on objectives and results

Company politics, partial interests or personal career expectations are irrelevant to interim managers. They only have a responsibility towards their customers and their task which allows them to focus fully on a practical solution for their tasks.

Prompt availability

With clear briefings, precise task profiles and professional contract management, an appointment can be filled within the shortest time possible and the interim manager can start their work. Information on project employment at taskforce can be found here.

Amortization

Professional interim appointments are based on calculated business cases. Despite the prejudice that interim management is expensive, well planned appointments guarantee a clear return on investment. Although many immaterial values cannot be expressed in numbers, experience shows that appointments often amortize by a factor of 5 to 10 for ambitious projects and positions on the first and second management level.

High level of cost transparency

Permanent employments are often accompanied by considerable add-on costs which are avoided by using an interim manager. More information on this can be found in the section “How much do interim managers cost”?

Knowledge transfer

Interim managers bring external expertise and management knowledge as well as varied project experience into the company and enrich it with valuable outside views. Reputable providers use appropriate privacy and confidentiality clauses in their contracts to ensure that no confidential knowledge leaves the customer company.

Sustainability

Despite all necessary crisis intervention and “first aid”, the development, revival and productivity increase provided by interim management appointments should not be underestimated. The company retains the knowledge supplied by the interim manager even after the appointment ends.

But interim management can only be efficient where it is actually wanted and is accompanied by a clear appointment and organizational support. To allow the manager to act successfully and take decisive action if necessary, they have to be assigned the right role and positioned firmly within the company by the customer and the most important power promoters. Clear and fast communication about the objectives of the appointment and the role and responsibilities of the manager are therefore absolutely essential preconditions.

The daily rates depend very strongly on the experience and competence of the interim manager and the importance of their tasks. The management level where the interim manager is to work is a crucial indicator.

The prejudice that interim management is expensive is usually based on incorrect assumptions. If all risks and add-on costs of a permanent employment are included taken into account, an interim appointment compares rather well. Management services provided by external providers can be clearly calculated. Hiring costs and add-on costs, social security contributions as well as costs for a company car and pension contributions are not required either. Furthermore there are neither severance payments nor possible litigation costs which may be significant when permanently employed mangers are let go.

Also, costs should not be regarded as absolute sums but in relation to the value contribution generated.

Customers with interim appointments can expect an amortization factor between 5 and 10. So assuming that an appointment costs around 200,000 Euro on average, it should generate or protect output and values of around one to two million Euro.

Only experienced managers with outstanding qualifications, proven successes and long-standing management experience should be included in the selection process.

Customers of interim management services can contribute to fast and good search results by supplying precise requirement profiles with unadorned task descriptions and realistic objectives.

Although the mandate should initially be defined as precisely as possible, it is still important to come to a mutual understanding from the outset that task descriptions and objectives can be changed and have to be verified and possibly adapted together with the customer on regular basis.

More information on the selection process can be found here.

Interim managers start out with classic manager careers. They have to, because many years of management experience are indispensable for this job. The essential prerequisite is to acquire this level of experience and the associated charisma that immediately identifies managers as managers. The specific requirements of company management cannot be taught and theoretically tested at universities, business schools and colleges.

Nevertheless, the professional image of interim managers seems to be changing in the course of professionalization. There is a clear trend of regarding interim management not only as a possible development path but as a targeted career path. So what changes is the question whether interim management is only a possible exit from permanent employment or a consciously pursued objective. And this difference has consequences: for the companies who are obviously finding it increasingly difficult to hold on to top personnel in the long term as well as for the younger managers who acquire, apply and continuously develop the specific skills required for this profession in a targeted manner.

Interim managers have above average self confidence and tend to be ready to do without routines, continuity and certain securities. They have the ability to settle into rapidly changing and often also conflict-ridden environments faster than others. A high level of motivation, curiosity and ambition as well as a marked desire for freedom of choice moves this type of managers to seek professional independence.

taskforce focuses on highly qualified interim managers and selects these during a multi-stage process. We would be happy to assist you in searching for a suitable manager. Please contact us at any time.

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INTERIM - DAS buch

Management auf Zeit als Chance und Herausforderung

Von Praktikern für Praktiker geschrieben, wendet sich dieses Buch an fest angestellte Manager, die sich für diesen Beruf interessieren, und an aktive Interim Manager, die sich weiterentwickeln wollen.

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