The future of interim management

Posted on 20/10/2016


At 3W, we believe that the importance of interim management will only increase in future years – in fact, this trend is already visible in recent Federgon reports. After all, we live in a rapidly evolving world in which new technologies pop up every day. We also face constant social changes. The fact that many major companies have already been overturned by disruptive technologies needs no explaining; ING’s announcement during the month of October is only further proof of this trend.

These global developments suggest a central role for example for clean energy and the internet of things, to name just these examples. The latter gives an enormous boost to high-tech startups, many of which will continue to grow and will, eventually, overtake the industry, thereby rendering some of today’s big players redundant.

Fortunately, companies are anticipating these changes in their R&D departments. Often, though, they face a major bottleneck when it comes to commercialising their innovations and implementing them throughout the entire organisation. And this goes beyond introducing new products or services: it calls for a radical shift in the way an organisation thinks and acts.

While the above is only a sample of the challenges businesses are confronted with today, the key to being future-proof is in people management, as it always has been. To put it bluntly: we have to arm ourselves against stereotypical thinking and pigeonholing, outdated notions of work, a herd mentality and the all-too-familiar resistance to change. If we stick to ‘business as usual’ when change is called for, we create an untenable situation. Business managers know this all too well. So it makes perfect sense to call upon the services of an interim manager to redress the situation. This solution is flexible and completely risk-free. Moreover, interim managers are obviously not part of your payroll and charge only for the days they work, which can be crucial in helping manage costs.

This brings us to the most important qualities of those interim managers who will make a real difference during a transition period: he or she is to-the-point, result-driven, not emotionally attached to the company and its history and therefore objective. Moreover, an interim manager does not expect to have a long career with your organisation, meaning they will tell you what you need to hear, bring a fresh perspective and make sure that their solutions are properly implemented before the end of their assignment.

Organisations need people who are able to make quick and smart decisions – and, in our rapidly changing society, they need them more than ever. Interim management will remain an important part of such a decision-making process.

In conclusion, we should also look at the other side of the coin. Big corporate reorganisations are likely to leave employees over fifty suddenly jobless, even if they can draw on considerable experience and a large (inter)national network. If this group of professionals re-enters the job market, they are often considered too expensive, so they have trouble finding a permanent position. From there it’s only a small step to becoming your own boss as an interim manager – a decision that certainly pays off. Because of their vast experience and the opportunity to work for different organisations in a short time span, they can enter a dynamic and gratifying environment that offers plenty of interesting challenges and that opens up new perspectives.

3W prides itself on being able to select the best and most experienced interim managers to help our clients implement their change programs.

By Boudewijn Dupont, Managing Director 3W