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

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