The interim manager job
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What is interim management? Company superheroes
Their mission, when they accept:
The profession was born in the United States in the 1970s, but it was developed in France only ten years later. A slow but fruitful breakthrough, as the French market is today estimated at more than 300 million euros, with a 20% annual growth.
An interim Manager is sent on temporary and strategic missions to help a company take a decisive step while offering a fresh outlook. Like a modern James Bond, they are sent on a mission for a short and limited time, with a specific objective to accomplish. The average duration of a mission for an interim manager is seven months.
They work mainly at top management level. The National Federation of Interim Management estimates that 70 to 80% of the proposed missions fall within the functions of general management, financial management, human resources and industrial management.
Industry is the sector that uses the highest numbers of interim managers with 52% of assignments in 2017.
These high-flying women and men are generally called upon to face three types of situations:
• Take over after the sudden departure of an associate
• Manage a crisis situation: site closure, major collective action, recovery of a subsidiary plant, etc.
• Support the company during a major transformation, such as a merger with a competitor, preparing for sale, etc. This is the most frequent case, as 61% of the missions relate to project management or change management.
But also, more recently:
• Support the strategy for recruiting increasingly rare talents
• Support change in business teams
• Teach companies the skills when they don’t have the means to do so, such as this SME who wished to overhaul their marketing offer without being able to offer a permanent contract to a marketing director, or this family-run business who were concerned with meeting CSR.
• Boost the growth of our beautiful unicorns.
Interim management makes use of high-level external operational skills for a limited period of time in order to accomplish a specific mission. The reasons why a company uses an interim manager are very varied: growth, transformation, strategic projects, turnaround, transferring activities, crisis management, temporary replacement of a person, mergers and acquisitions, setting up a company, scaling-up, etc.
These situations are always significant and urgent. Thus, the very objective of interim management relies on the speed and quality of execution.
The interim leader, an operational and action-oriented person, is always immediately available, often overskilled for the mission, and for this reason brings real added value. Their objective is achieved through a methodology defined with the interim management firm.
They are able to manage and teach; they are transparent, loyal and respect confidentiality. They undertake to comply with the professional code of conduct.
Open to people with at least 15 years of experience up to very experienced retirees who wish to carry on working, interim management is a unique opportunity to achieve an operational objective in a cost-effective manner within a strict timeframe.
It brings an unformatted perspective and an objective and outsider’s view to the company, therefore generating real added value for the latter.
A robot portrait of these superheroes
What is the typical profile of an interim leader? In the majority of traditional interim management firms: a man between 55 and 70 years of age.
What about us? Réseau 137 distinguishes itself thanks to a plethora of profiles. Our breeding ground is made up of women and men, starting at age 40, who are seasoned in their fields and ready to take up new challenges. They have frequently gained experience in managerial positions, and are therefore overskilled for the position offered, which allows them to be immediately operational. Finally, the profession is gradually opening up to women, and we are doing everything we can to reach gender equality: a quarter of the missions recorded in 2017 were carried out by women.
Like a superhero, they are able to quickly assess a situation and make difficult decisions under pressure.
Faced with the growing demands of these new working methods, business schools such as Audencia and independent institutes have developed specific training. Their curriculum includes: crisis management, leadership development, steering, behavioural agility, etc.
Some valuable professional skills if you want to succeed as a transition manager
A solid body of professional experience: a crucial factor in any transition management role. We look for candidates who have spent at least 15 years in positions with a significant level of responsibility.
- Emphasis on results: a transition manager will be recognised by their peers and have proven that they can deliver results consistently. The manager knows how to use their results-oriented approach to benefit others.
- Ability to relocate: missions can be carried out anywhere in France or the world. Consequently, the ability to relocate will grant you a greater choice of missions, but you are free to detail your readiness to move.
- The required soft skills are adaptability, resilience and resourcefulness. You enjoy being challenged, are good at working with others, have strong communication skills, the ability to work in a team, a clear vision and outstanding execution, critical thinking, and a sense of accountability. You work well with others, are results-oriented and truthful. These are all essential personal skills to work in any company nowadays.
Pros and cons. Seven things you must know before you get started
The job of an interim manager is an exciting but demanding challenge.
1. We live several lives in one year. We are enriched by change! Thanks to short missions, we are led to move from one business to another, picking up challenges on the way. It’s an extremely fast way to evolve and learn to adapt to different contexts, policies and corporate cultures. And a nice way to complete your curriculum vitae with new companies and sectors.
2. We often work in very sensitive contexts. Outside help is rarely used when all is well. An interim manager may be faced with complex and consequential choices for the life of the company’s employees, for instance when supporting missions during a factory closure or implementing a redundancy programme.
3. We are free. Free to choose or refuse a mission, keeping a balanced private and professional life by making the choice to take a break between two missions. Free to alternate positions from permanent to strategic assignments. One in five assignments ends up in a permanent contract.
4. We have great freedom of action and speech. Since we are only passing through the company, we can focus on our objective without being bogged down by internal political issues.
5. We cannot get attached to our colleagues. It’s tricky to live such an exciting adventure without forging links with the personnel who support us. But once the mission is over, like a little fairy, we must let them pursue their destiny.
6. We move around and our income varies. We have to be ready to move around to meet the needs of the companies we work for. Sometimes we work abroad or in the furthest corners of France: almost half the missions take place in Ile-de-France, and 12% abroad. While our income is higher than that of a traditional leader, we also have to learn to manage periods without any income.
7. We are happy to pass on our know-how, to help others, to make them grow, to feel useful and to teach companies the practices we’ve learned from working at the heart of numerous companies.
What is my employment status? How much will I earn?
You’re leaving a traditional salary to become an entrepreneur and, as such, your invoice replaces a salary.
Your wages depend on an invoice, whose amount is established with the interim management company. The sum depends on multiple criteria, notably the complexity of the role of the interim manager and their mission.
That said, amounts also vary depending on the sector and the type of mission performed. Umbrella companies will help you calculate the appropriate amount. However, your invoice must at least cover your costs, either of your own company or the employer charges, and if you choose a carrier company the cost of the service.
You can choose from a number of business models:
- Umbrella company
The transition manager receives a monthly salary from the umbrella company, which then invoices the client company. The umbrella company pays out the money received as a salary, after deducting their own service fees. Under this arrangement, the manager qualifies as self-employed. Being self-employed has the advantage of immediately providing a clear, protected legal status without having to set up a company.
- Set up your own company
The interim manager issues invoices through their own company.
- Fixed-term contract
For certain contracts, the interim manager can become an employee of the company for the duration of the assignment.