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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.

This is where it started:-

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 the Interim Management Association – www.InterimManagement.uk.com – was formed – as a Specialist Section within the Recruitment and Employment Confederation – www.rec.uk.com.

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, 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, probably, less profitable as volumes are lower.

There is nothing wrong in this, but it does make smaller the target markets and, thereby, the number of Interim Managers suitable for this type of work and also the number of Interim Management Providers either eligible for or attracted to membership. 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.

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 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 are the elements of Customer Service – in the responses to clients from IMA Members 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.

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 – to cover some or all of the following characteristics – which is copied from www.InterimManagement.uk.com:

  • An Interim Manager is a senior individual who elects to be a self-employed professional and contracted through their Personal Services Company who is..
  • An expert in their field, who prefers to be engaged on their own contractual terms to deliver assignment outcomes, specified and developed with the client and professional interim service provider at the outset of the assignment.
  • These highly experienced people may also be asked to manage an assignment to provide specialist expertise at Senior Management /Board level due to Executive absence or departure.
  • A key differentiator for an Interim Manager is that they enable Transformation and major Change and endeavour to leave a legacy of benefit with the organisation after their departure.
  • Working on their own accord. They work closely with the client and ISP to define the method of approach and delivery.
  • Will typically have at least 10 years in their area of expertise and as a senior transformational or in a Board Level equivalent role.
  • Often they work flexibly in the assignment from client site or from their own base. Usually provide own equipment (unless client security demands otherwise).
  • Will consider working at risk as reputation is imperative – if outcome is not met, cost is reduced accordingly. Is flexible about commercials and pricing – fixed price, risk/reward or day rates.
  • Hold as a minimum, combined company insurances and professional indemnity insurance.

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 very well worth 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.

This subscription-driven membership body supports contractors, independent professionals and freelancers, enabling them to succeed in business and builds on its origins which focused on IT Contractors, offering a range of useful support services and provides a representative voice in opposition to the original IR35 proposals.

Since then, they have evolved from being a single-issue campaign group to a fully-fledged, not-for-profit professional body, and into the largest association of independent professionals in the EU. They now represent 21,000 freelancers, contractors and consultants from every sector of the economy and it is their ambition to become the voice for the 4.6million self-employed people across the UK.

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