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