Opinion: Grant Speed

29 January 2016

The year ahead: evolution of the interim

Over the past twelve months we have seen interim management establish itself across the UK economy as a facilitator of change and business transformation. Having broken into the mainstream consciousness of leaders in the commercial and public sector, 2016 looks set to be the year that interim management takes new ground and expands outside of its traditional markets.

Historically, interim management has been seen as a gap management tool. There is now a growing appreciation for the value that an experienced interim manager can bring to an organisation aside from simply providing an effective bridge between appointments.

The raft of legislative change and new regulation that has come to the fore following the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review and Autumn Statement emphasises the state of flux that the economy is in and challenges facing leadership teams of all stripes.

So while plugging skills gaps is important, interim professionals with specialist skills are now being used more productively to help lead on dedicated projects so that change is not just managed, but responded to in a proactive and positive manner.

The benefits of interim managers are also being felt below board level as external support is required to bolster delivery at all levels. As we have seen in the healthcare sector, where vast and complex structures can offer a tricky platform to implement change, interims can be deployed to offer the ‘localised’ support required.

Taking a step back to a macro-level, the future of the economy is definitely less certain than it was a year ago. Now, with a European Referendum on the horizon and the global economy becoming increasingly volatile, boardrooms are having to make significant decisions over their future direction and must be well-informed to make the right judgement calls.

As such, while interim managers are largely focused on functional roles, the greatest development this year will be the rise of the interim as a strategic adviser. There is a pool of talent out there that is able to leverage its experience and offer counsel to the most senior leaders in industry as they navigate the choppy waters that lie ahead.

It is clear that the interim management market is evolving rapidly. The expertise on offer is being used more effectively to meet ever-developing challenges. As the true value and potential of an interim becomes better understood, British businesses and the public sector will discover that they have a powerful resource at their disposal.

Grant Speed is Managing Director at Odgers Interim.


Comments

Grant Speed at 21/04/2016 09:59 said:

Many thanks for all your comments.

Regards

Grant

Peter Alderslade at 31/01/2016 19:32 said:

Grant, I agree that organizations' of all forms around the world face a raft of internal and external driven changes that offer interim opportunities. The oil price, technology, war, UK/Europe referendum, restructuring the Chinese economy, etc. will impact most economies such as to require strategic change. At a local level, in or out of Europe, UK needs to transform the economy. I disagree that until now Interim management has been a one-trick pony, ‘gap’ management. In my experience, professional independent executives leading strategic planning and delivering strategic change is a long established and recognized role.

Laurence Nicholson at 31/01/2016 15:55 said:

Insightful opinion of what 2016 holds. The bigger challenge still seems to me for us true interims is how to sort the wheat from the chaff, when seudo social media tools like LinkedIn are used to find candidates based a lot of the time on lies and exaggerations of the skills of the individual, which I have uncovered numerous times due to the nowadays rare process of due diligence I always follow when selecting candidates as associates. When they inevitably fail, we all get tarred with the same brush. I would welcome a discussion over coffee sometime to understand how Odgers avoid this trap. Let's hope the turmoil in store for 2016 business and political arenas brings us the recognition we deserve as true skilled and experienced interims.

Alex Cairns at 29/01/2016 14:29 said:

Really insightful Grant, thank you

Professional interims will take a further lead where SI's have traditionally dominated strategic business change

I read a LinkedIn post earlier proposing the role of Chief Change Officer, reporting straight into the CEO. Whilst I don't advocate the term 'disruptive', it's the type of mindset shift that will allow us interims to demonstrate ultimate value and RoI to businesses

Really looking forward to this year

Sara Ward at 29/01/2016 13:03 said:

Thanks for this succinct and insightful opinion piece Grant.

It was this same perception of the potential for interim management –both opportunity and impact- that catalysed my move from a permanent role.

It will certainly be intriguing to observe which sectors are the most innovative in their deployment of interim managers.

sharon green at 29/01/2016 11:31 said:

Grant, interesting views as always.

For a long time skilled interims have been working on change projects, acting as strategic advisers, implementing strategy and many more things besides.

Of course there is always a place for a gap management assignment, when a key person has left and you might consider maternity cover a job for an interim as well.

As skilled recruiters you'll know that selling the proposition to the client and understanding the different options offered by interims is critical. Getting the right fit for the client and interim equals a great sale for you. It's a win win all round.

I'm looking forward to seeing what the market delivers in 2016.

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