Generally interim assignments go wrong when the relationship between the client and the interim manager sours.
Here are some ways to ensure the client-interim manager relationship remains strong.
1. Set Clear Expectations
- Hiring an interim manager isn’t any different from hiring anyone – if you’re hiring you need to be clear what your expectations are:
- Write a position description
- Define the expected outputs and how performance, value will be measured
- Define the kind of person you’re looking for – experience, education, expertise, personality, etc
- Define the reporting relationships and process – how will the interim manager be held accountable and by who?
- Don’t forget the mundane stuff like hours and holidays
- There are lots of interim jobs that lead to full time employment – if that’s what you’re looking for be clear – it will affect who you want to employ and who wants to be employed
2. Provide Access and Frequent, Proactive Feedback
- Managing an interim manager isn’t any different from hiring anyone – leaving them on their own too much is a bad thing
- Make sure the reporting relationships and accountability are clear
- Set a formal schedule for one-on-one meetings and output reviews
- Deal with concerns and provide feedback in a timely and proactive fashion before problems become too big to fix
3. Ensure the Interim Manager has Adequate Resources.
- When an interim manager has a big job but insufficient resources the project will fail; before engaging an interim manager, define:
- What resources – people, dollars, equipment, etc the interim manager will have access to
- Ensure those resources are available – and in the case of people on-side with the support they will need to provide
4. Adapt and Ensure Flexibility around the Arrangement
- Things change and learning will frequently occur as assignment progress.
- Stay close enough to the interim assignment to see what’s happening
- Discuss learning and needs on an on-going basis with the interim manager. Get and seek input on how to adapt.
- Implement necessary changes on a timely basis.