All businesses have times of change or even crisis, says Clive Hyman, of Hyman Capital Services. When times get tough one way to fight your way to a better future is to hire a heavy weight interim manager or even an interim team and use their expertise to your advantage.

Consultancy and project management both come into the interim management remit. It is the accountability and responsibility that interim managers have for successful analysis and delivery of a suitable solution to business problems, which makes their assignment lifecycle stages uniquely atypical.

If you’re bringing in an interim manager you need to understand this cycle.

Interim Management lifecycle stages

Once engaged, interim managers will examine and assess the current situation and the requirements of all the stakeholders. They’ll diagnose the issues and then formulate a detailed proposal. This provides the assignment’s objectives and a plan. An interim will then propose a solution which he or she believes is most likely to be effective. Where an interim manager is filling a role short-term such a proposal may simply explain how they will provide ‘safe pair of hands’.

Following the proposal, the Interim Manager is involved in implementation: taking responsibility for managing the intervention, project, or solution, tracking progress and conducting periodic feedback reviews with the company. The implementation stage often highlights an Interim’s expertise, accountability and effectiveness.

Exiting an assignment involves the Interim Manager approaching project end to ensure objectives have been met and the company is satisfied. This stage can involve ‘knowledge handover and training’, determining and sourcing ‘business as usual’ successors, and ‘sharing lessons learnt’ in the process.

If you are hiring an Interim Manager then you’ll need to develop an internal framework to ensure that you find the right person with skills you need.

How to set up an Interim Management framework

  1. Who do you need to know?
Knowing your sector and your market, and the roles you may need an Interim for, is the place to start. Look for a number of interim providers, ask for recommendations and speak to interims you already admire – even if they aren’t in your sector.
  1. Build Relationships
Establish and build a relationship with the top five suitable interim providers and get a feel for what they can offer. The provider needs to understand what you require when the time comes. Once they do you will have the confidence they can find you the interim you need.
  1. Emergency staffing policy/procedure
Ensure you have a current company policy and procedure for emergency staffing. A contingency plan for special circumstances can minimise the damage of any key staff losses.
  1. Insurance cover
Does your company have insurance, for example key-man insurance, to cover an Interim hire? If you don’t, review insurance providers to see if this is something worth considering.

You’ve identified a need for an interim. Now what?

  1. Present a concise brief to your chosen Interim Management provider. Don’t rely exclusively on email - have clear and direct face to face communication. This will give the agency a fair chance of understanding the brief and mean they can select appropriate, high quality candidates who genuinely fit your brief (you don’t want someone just because the cv ticks the boxes).
  1. It’s important to specify the skills and characteristics you need in your Interim. Hone in on the detail to ensure your hire will be a good team and cultural fit.
  1. Set realistic deadlines and milestones for the hiring process.
  1. Remember, you get what you pay for. If you drive the daily rate down, you won’t get the quality people you need.
  1. Write a clear job description and list the goals that need to be achieved and give them a workable timeframe. Ask yourself what do you want the company to look like after the Interim’s intervention?
  1. Take care deciding the assignment length. Is it for one month or a six to 12months timescale?
  1. Consider how you are going to manage your Interims and to whom they will report. Identify someone who can establish regular time to speak with the Interim so there is supportive and constructive two-way communication. Put a system in place to ensure the quality of deliverables required from your Interim.
The advantage of bringing the right Interim manager can mean seamless continuity of your business activities. It can mean effective change and deliver potential growth opportunities which are both measurable long after the assignment has ended. You can also gain less measurable but equally valuable learning that will keep delivering.


Clive Hyman FCA is founder of Hyman Capital Services offering expertise in due diligence and managing change in business including raising equity and debt capital, mergers and acquisitions, interim management, board management and governance, deal structuring, and company turnaround. See: Social media:

Twitter: @clivehyman