Thursday, 20 December 2012

Interim Managers as part of talent mapping?

Having been an interim provider for a long time you can see the shift in the market in terms of competition for assignments and nervousness from clients. There will always be new entrants to the market consisting of those that have made the decision to embark on a career as an executive interim and long may that continue. During the challenging economic times we have experienced a new breed emerging consisting of those that are fundamentally ‘in betweeners’ – those that are searching for a permanent position but who throw their hat in the ring for interim assignments (some of whom do become career interims whilst others adopt the label whilst visiting!). Another increasing community is made up of people with a niche skill set who are forging an interim career much earlier than the norm and want to step off the corporate ladder for a variety of reasons. This increased competition is forcing some established interims into re-thinking their modus operandi.

This does actually serve clients well as they are able to select from much more choice and is fuelling the increasing preference for the engagement of a flexible and results driven focus of an interim manager. This is driving additional demand as they might not have the budget for a permanent appointment. There is also the acknowledgement that for immediate business critical situations often an interim is the only solution. This in turn is coupled by the new breed’s preference to work on a more flexible arrangement. Research is indicating the rate of growth in ‘temporary’ workers will be three to four times the growth rate among traditional workforces, and that they eventually will make up about 25% of the global workforce, although these figures are likely to be more representative of lower level ‘contractors’.

There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly securing a permanent role is still proving to be tough and the process is taking longer. Some people are finding themselves ‘forced’ down the interim route but many are choosing interim as a lifestyle choice and are selecting to add value to different organisations on a short term basis. Some career interims are seeking better work/life balance; some are fed up with corporate politics and others want to build their own careers by choosing the kind of work or projects that utilise a unique set of skills, making them more desirable for future assignments and thus carve a niche for the work they do. This does of course expose interims to a wide variety of demanding and challenging situations whether focussed on change, turnaround, restructuring or project / programme management and in turn creates even more of an attractive proposition to clients as they come to the table with extensive and relevant experience.

We have had several discussions in the last few months with clients who are ‘planning’ to engage interims to fulfil a particular project, integration, transformation etc. This is a far cry from the more common theme of ‘we have a problem and need someone immediately’.

Fundamentally there is no problem in planning to engage an interim but should there be more thought in the ‘planning’? It still feels as though an increasing number of organisations that are ‘planning’ the engagement of interims are still doing so in an ad-hoc fashion. There is also the nervousness surrounding the engagement in the first place which of course, should be alleviated through the flexibility and added value the interim brings. Therefore shouldn’t organisations be incorporating interim managers into their talent mapping strategies?

This could ensure the best possible fit for the organisation and allow more time to select and engage the right individual for the business. It also opens up the discussion to those that are on assignment who ordinarily would have been excluded from the process but might have concluded in time to commence the new one. This extends the talent pool. There have also been instances when the mandate is put out to several providers thus creating a race which inevitably leads to corners being cut and ultimately too much choice for the client. This tends to lead to indecision as a result of an extended shortlist and often elongated process involving numerous stakeholders thus making it difficult to make a decision.

Businesses constantly evolve and change and as such need to flex their resourcing accordingly. Surely the best way of working for all parties is to partner with a trusted provider that understands the client’s needs, can help achieve their short and long term business strategy, improve performance, manage costs and build a pipeline of talent.

After all, there will always be crisis situations requiring an immediate engagement and I suppose that takes us right back to where we started!

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and a healthy and successful 2013.

For more information about how Macallam Interim can help please contact Steven Wynne 01423 704153 for a confidential discussion.

By Steven Wynne

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Has the Interim market really changed?

I don’t want to harp on about the challenging economic times, some businesses being in a zombie state or that some are finding it generally tough but one has to ask the question…
There are enough people talking it down.  However, competition for assignments has always been tough, there have always been assignments that don’t cross the line due to internal appointments etc. and clients are increasingly looking for value, delivery and ROI – haven’t they always?
Many have a story with negative ramifications but the more people continue to bang the ‘doom and gloom’ drum the longer it will take to gain some traction in some sectors.   We have to accept there are both positives and obvious challenges in what has become the new ‘norm’.  We can adjust and accept how things are or use up lots of energy and time being nostalgic.  After all with risk aversion and general nervousness causing stagnation in some areas shouldn’t everyone be talking the market up and devising innovative solutions?
It could be argued the landscape of the interim market has changed.  I do see  new types of opportunity that require niche skills and expertise to deliver and this is resulting in a new breed of interim entering the market.  What is in abundance though is that organisations are turning to us to source Interims to drive Change and want to engage those with specialist skills in business transformation, business improvement, projects and strategy. 
The interim market is being challenged from many directions.  The economy on one hand, risk aversion on the other and there are still the ‘in betweeners’ who continue to make selling the proposition harder than it should be both for Interims and ISP’s.  There are factors that remain constant such as a clients ROI, driving value from all elements of the supply chain, transformation of the business and recovering failing or stalled projects culminating in the engagement of an interim.  The market continues to grow so there would seem to be enough businesses with enough issues or area for improvement for which they require help.
The UK climate is tempting some with relevant expertise to work overseas and we are experiencing strong growth in international assignments.   Equally some are electing to step out of the market and go back in to the corporate world but I think many of these are turning into ‘long term’ assignments.  This in turn is creating opportunities as those individuals have a clear understanding of the interim proposition.
There is significant value to be gained by organisations engaging the services of Executive Interims to deliver on specific objectives for a defined period of time.  Those involved in the market; interims, clients or ISP’s need to remember what the interim management proposition is and not lose sight of this. It should after all be regarded as an investment rather than a cost for which there will be value and ROI.
The Wikipedia definition of Interim management is the temporary provision of management resources and skills. Interim management can be seen as the short-term assignment of a proven heavyweight interim executive manager to manage a period of transition, crisis or change within an organization. In this situation, a permanent role may be unnecessary or impossible to find on short notice. Additionally, there may be nobody internally who is suitable for, or available to take up, the position in question.
Has anything changed?
By Steven Wynne

Monday, 8 October 2012

Interim Managers increasingly used to drive change

With businesses needing to implement growth strategies or commence work on major change programmes – but all senior team members being fully committed and financial constraints dictate that a permanent executive can’t be appointed to lead on the project, it is fuelling increased demand for interims who are adding significant value through the flexibility, task oriented and focus on delivery approach they offer.

The latest quarter results from the Ipsos MORI survey (completed by IMA members) indicate the highest reason cited for the need for an assignment remains Programme/Project Management, with almost a third of all interim executives hired for this purpose.  This is closely followed by Change/ Transition management with c 20 per cent of all assignments.

Another interesting finding was the continued trend of increasing enquiries received by each provider participating in the Q2 survey 2012. This saw a substantial increase compared to previous quarters and would confirm the thoughts on the market currently that activity levels continue to grow.

The latest economic news stating that we are going to continue to be in this challenging economic climate for some time yet would lead to a sensible conclusion that organisations can’t keep waiting for much longer.  Businesses need to transform to align people, process and technology.  Many organisations don’t have the internal capability to drive change programmes forward and as such try to redeploy their existing leadership teams thus putting pressure on other parts of the business.  With a failure rate as high as 70% on change programmes, many businesses struggle to implement the necessary changes that will ultimately transform their business.  This coupled with some businesses losing ground or at best stagnating should embrace the opportunity of engaging an interim to drive their business forward in preparation for the eventual economic upturn.

By Steven Wynne

Friday, 3 August 2012

Is the taxation of ‘controlling persons’ a serious threat to the interim management market?

The Government has produced a consultation document proposing that all “controlling persons” at an organisation should be on the payroll. This will include both private and public sector organisations. The Government is effectively planning to ban the use of limited company contractors in situations where they would be acting as “controlling persons” in a business.  The definition of a ‘controlling person’ is someone who has managerial control over a significant proportion of the workforce and / or control over a significant proportion of the organisations budget.  There lies the problem.

What do they mean by ‘significant proportion’ and who will do the measuring?

Fundamentally there is nothing wrong with the description of a ‘controlling person’ but in this context the Governments proposal of defining what constitutes a ‘controlling person’ leaves the interpretation open to misunderstanding.   By the very nature of what Executive Interims do they are more often than not going to have managerial control / budget control over a significant proportion of the organisation.  After all, if the organisation is going through Change, Transformation, Restructuring, and Turnaround etc. they need to be able to bring in some external help with someone who can lead them through this business critical time. 

To propose to put all ‘controlling persons’ on the payroll is going to have a detrimental effect on the interim management sector and seriously threaten the livelihoods of a £1.5b industry that doesn’t just end with the individual engaged to do the work.  Secondly if, as an industry, we come up with an alternative (the IMA are putting a response forward) there needs to be clear parameters about who should and who shouldn’t be included.  

In these times don’t organisations need the flexible resourcing options that interim management provides?  While we find ourselves in the midst of recession with what continues to be a challenging economic climate, the timing, quite frankly couldn’t be worse. The threat of putting Executive Interims on the payroll will possibly provide both clients and interims with enough reason not to bother.  It might on the other hand fuel the ‘in betweeners’ or fixed term contracts market as they take the benefits and pay tax accordingly but what does this mean for the professional interim?

Or is this a knee jerk reaction by the Government following an embarrassing situation with the Ed Lister case?  He was the CEO of the Student Loan Company and transpires he was engaged for a 3 year period on a daily rate.  This coupled with other high profile tax avoidance schemes has meant the media have got hold of this and political rather than economic forces are taking hold.  It would seem the media hype has backed the Government into a corner because when it’s your own front door…

By Steven Wynne

Monday, 16 July 2012

The IMA launches Approved Campaign

The Interim Management Association (IMA) is in 25th anniversary year and to mark this the IMA is launching the IMA Approved Campaign, to promote a strict and regularly audited code of practice to which all IMA members will adhere.

This badge of quality is underpinned by a 12-point checklist that ensures IMA members select and appoint only the best interim managers, guaranteeing that clients are provided with sound advice on the use of interim management. This is not just a tick box; it is governed by a strict code of practice and audited on a yearly basis. IMA Approved not only improves services to clients but represents the vital next stage in the development of the industry, which we believe will grow to approximately £2bn by 2015 taking into account the significant international growth we are now experiencing.

The launch of this is of paramount importance to the growth of the interim market in the continuing challenging economic climate.  Organisations in both private and public sectors must feel confident they have partnered with the right supplier to provide the right solution for their businesses and ensure that quality, speed, added value and delivery result in a return on investment for our clients. Macallam Interim is ‘IMA Approved’ and has met the very strict criteria and continues to implement the checklist.

IMA Approved Checklist:

  • Ensure your interim management provider does the following:
  • Only places genuine self-employed interim managers who trade through a limited company and have adequate professional indemnity insurance cover in place.
  • Has clear processes in place, which establish an understanding of the client’s organisation and requirements, and provides objective professional advice on the use of interim management.
  • Provides job briefs, which result in a written job description and project plan that clearly sets out the description and scope of services to be provided by the executive.
  • Offers a comprehensive search for appropriately qualified interim managers.
  • Undertakes a thorough evaluation of the candidates, including personal and structured interviews, and the formal taking of references of the individual’s suitability and qualifications for the assignment.
  • Only introduces candidates who have been briefed on the specific client opportunity, and who have been referenced and met prior to placement.
  • Provides ongoing support to the client and to the interim manager when the assignment has commenced.
  • Provides the necessary checks on the Criminal Records Bureau, Protection of Vulnerable Adults list and the Protection of Children Act.
  • Demonstrates a true commitment to equality and diversity.
  • Has adequate insurance protection in place to cover professional indemnity, employers liability and public liability. The IMA also has a wrapper scheme in place.
  • Has a robust complaints handling process.
  • Provides best practice training and resourcing for interim consultants.
By Steven Wynne

Friday, 30 March 2012

Interim Management - The Rate Debate

There are constant discussions about daily rates and having recently been involved in one such debate it got me thinking how the landscape of the interim market has changed.  We’re all well aware of the economic climate and the changes in clients’ behaviours – taking longer to make a selection, trying to source directly and an over supply of available interims to choose from but I’m not sure this is where the problem stems from.

Historically cost has always been part of the discussion but never the deciding factor as to who would be engaged.  The climate has certainly caused this to change but surely if an organisation has a business critical problem the best fit person to devise a solution in the shortest possible time is the most appropriate solution for the business?  Engaging a lesser qualified and ill equipped candidate based on price will only delay the result and potentially cost more or amplify the problem at additional cost to the business.

What is driving these behaviours?

The conclusion I have come to is that it’s not the clients but the candidates.   Clients are being led down the garden path because they are considering many ‘possible’ candidates all of whom are coming to the table with a very different view on their charging methodology.  Professional Executive Interim Managers will have a rate they typically achieve.  This will of course be modified depending on the complexity, duration and location of the assignment but should sit within a range set on their capabilities and include a bottom line as long as the challenge is right.  This is how the interim management model works.   However, as there are so many ‘in betweeners’ who are ultimately searching for a permanent position they are under selling themselves, pitching  at knock down rates and taking the view that it could be a way in for a longer term stay.

This is confusing the issue and with increasing levels of risk aversion and nervousness in making decisions the end result can be clients procrastinating and therefore elongating what should be a speedy process.  The selection process currently seems to be treated as a permanent appointment that will be ‘forever’.  Additionally, those clients that do require a permanent employee are now under pressure to appoint immediately which is fuelling the fire.

The whole point of engaging an Interim Manager is speed, flexibility, immediacy, value, results, delivery and the ability to disengage when the agreed objectives have been achieved.  The thinking should always be centered on return on investment because any good Interim Manager will pay for themselves x times over.

On successful conclusion the transformation, change, turnaround, restructuring, business improvement or project has been driven forward and the legacy is left.

By Steven Wynne

Monday, 19 March 2012

Continued growth for Interim Managers

The latest findings from the quarterly Ipsos MORI survey for Q4 2011 show continued growth of the industry, in spite of the recession. Enquiries for all member firms are at a 5 year high and the average length of assignments has also increased, from 108 days in 2006, to 166 days in 2011.

The results reveal that enquiries for interim managers were the highest they have been since 2011. This is a rise of 76 per cent on the same quarter in 2010, and 4 per cent on the third quarter (Q3) in 2011.

Companies within the private sector are increasingly turning to Executive Interim Managers to solve problems and help manage change within their businesses; this sector represents two thirds (66%) of all assignments, the highest percentage for four years.

Thirty per cent of requested assignment functions in this quarter were for Special Projects (up from 26% in Q3 2011) followed by Finance (17%) which saw a two point fall over the same period. C-suite executives represented 7% of the IMA business in the final quarter of 2011. The most common reason for an assignment is Programme/Project Management, with 40% in Q4, up from 36% the previous quarter.

The largest increase was seen for Change or Transition Management, which in Q4 accounted for 19% of the all assignment functions, up from 14% in Q3.

Business Improvement and Gap Management each represented 16% of completed assignments in the final wave of 2011. Whereas the former was relatively unchanged from the previous quarter (up 1 percentage point from 15%), the proportion of completed assignments attributed to Gap Management decreased by seven percentage points (from 23% in Q3). These figures are notably higher than the next most cited reasons such as but then this is dependent on how the individual providers have categorised the reason for the assignment.

Unsurprisingly, the public sector is running at its lowest level for four years with only 34% of interim management assignments accounting for this sector. Additionally, as in previous quarters, the majority of assignments in Q4 were predominantly based in the UK (94%). However, this quarter saw an increase in the number of international assignments (6%), particularly those based in Western Europe.
By Steven Wynne

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Are you ready to change?

Businesses need to transform to align people, process and technology.  Many organisations don’t have the internal capability to drive change programmes forward and as such try to redeploy their existing leadership teams thus putting pressure on other parts of the business.  With a failure rate as high as 70% on change programmes, many businesses struggle to implement the necessary changes that will ultimately transform their business.

Have you considered the cost of a failed project or one that comes in behind budget and schedule?

Macallam Interim can help.  We can introduce you to change experts with the skills and experience to drive your change programme and deliver over a defined period of time to an agreed set of objectives. 
We continue to help our clients  align their change strategy to their  business strategy.

By Steven Wynne