Interim managers play a crucial part in the world of business, helping companies to transition through challenging periods. Although this is a vital role in the modern corporate world, interim managers are still a relatively new phenomenon and there are a number of misconceptions about their work. Many are unaware of the differences between an interim manager and a management consultant, while others confuse interims with long term contractors. Although there are some similarities in both cases, an interim manager is a distinct offering.

The difference between an interim manager and consultant

In some ways it is easy to understand why there might be some confusion surrounding interim managers and management consultants. On the surface it may appear that they have a similar skillset - both will have vast experience within the business world and will be able to provide insights that could make a significant positive impact on the future of a business.  In addition, both are independent from the business in question, allowing them to take a detached and unemotional view of the problem at hand. That is where the similarities end.

While consultants might be independent of the business, they will usually be subordinate to an agency and their secondary agenda will be to win further services and generate further revenue for their own company.  While a management consultant might be able to create a strategy, they would not be in a position to implement this. Rather, a consultant purely provides advice that a company can either choose to implement or ignore. The role of an interim manager has far wider reach.

A management consultant will observe a business as an outsider, and make recommendations based on their knowledge and experience. An interim manager is far more invested in the process. In great contrast to the management consultant, once an interim manager has been appointed, they work exclusively for that business for the duration of the assignment, and their primary objective will be to not only devise a strategy, but to implement it with the personnel already within the company.

An interim manager is given the authority to come into a business and make any changes they believe will be necessary to improve the company. In this case some may wonder how this makes them any different from a long term contractor.

What differentiates an interim manager from a contractor?

Some people may assume as the interim manager acts with the authority of the chief executive, they are just the same as a long term contractor, but this is not the case. It is the temporary and detached nature of the role that allows them to act effectively.

An interim manager only remains in house in order to enact the strategy and to implement change. According to statistics from the Interim Manager’s Association, an average interim management assignment lasts just 163 days and should not last more than a year unless there are a particular set of special circumstances. They are detached from the politics of the company and any sense of sentimentality, which could cloud the judgement of longer term employees.

Although an interim manager is in a position for a short period, this does not mean that they have a short term view of the company. The agenda of an interim manager is focussed on change and setting a business on a path to success in the long term.

The interim manager occupies a unique and specialised role within the business world, with specialised skillsets allowing them to take radical actions for the betterment of companies in the long term.

Momenta have access to the best and most experienced interim managers across every industry and can meet the needs of any company. To find out how an interim manager can help transform your business then call us today on 0202 7373 5610 or email us via our contact page.