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How to Avoid the Most Common Mistakes in Interim Management

February 12, 2020

The right prerequisites and conditions for interim management

Even the best interim manager will fail if the prerequisites and conditions he or she has to work with are not optimally prepared right from the start. Companies hiring an interim manager must make sure to take care of the necessary preparations. Iliana Schmatelka, interim management expert, has 3 pieces of advice, that might very well be the most crucial tips for both companies hiring and interim managers themselves.

pic of an hourglass
The temporary use of interim managers does not allow any delays due to unclear circumstances. Photo © CC0 Licence

Concrete Objectives

The goal has to be agreed on in concrete terms by the interim manager and the company right from the start. Ideally, it is put down in writing. This way, both sides can rest assured that they are pulling the cart in the same direction. The more details, the better. After all, loosely defined goals are among the largest hurdles in interim management. It does not take much for a gap to form between expectations and what is possible. As a result, communication suffers, leading to disappointment on both sides.

Detailed Information

Companies hiring an interim manager must provide all stakeholders in the process – management and boards, the implementing teams, peers, and often even customers, institutions, and authorities – with detailed information on the roles and competences as well as the goal pursued by the interim manager. As the appointment is limited to a set period of time, delays resulting from misunderstandings and personal animosities cannot be tolerated.

Appropriate Resources

Interim managers must get a team and other resources to handle the task assigned to them. Many companies hire interim managers only to find out that they cannot provide the required resources to them. In such a case, highly qualified experts receiving a big paycheck often end up handling routine tasks. It also happens that a process has to be discontinued or cannot be started in the first place due to a lack of financing. Interim managers lead teams; they are more than just temporary staff. Only when the team joins the interim manager does he or she become operative and effective and can quickly establish the informal contacts and trust needed for success.

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