3 Things to Know to Succeed as an Interim Manager

This is a guest post by Simon Berry, Executive Coach.

1. Adapting is key

There’s a lot of change going on in the world around us and a lot more to come. In the interim market we often see change or the prospect of change as a good thing. Change creates issues and opportunities for our potential clients, which in turn creates opportunities for us. However, if we are to take advantage of these, we need to adapt. That might mean gaining new skills and knowledge, but more likely, it will be about repositioning ourselves. Sticking with the same old value proposition when market needs and priorities change is a recipe for disaster.

Keeping current is a challenge. So how do we do it?

The first step is to focus on what the marketplace needs rather than on what you do. It’s no good positioning yourself in business growth, if your market is primarily focusing on battening down the hatches and protecting what they have, or to continue to position yourself as a Y2K continuity specialist in 2018. You’re then able to define yourself as an expert in those current needs, demonstrated by your track record.

The second step is to understand their stage in the buying process. Are they aware of the impending issues and opportunities? Are they committed to doing something about it? Do they know the options they have? Do they know which one is best for them? Do they have the resource to deliver on the selected solution? Position yourself as someone who can help them navigate the buying process from that point forward.

2. More people are coming into interim management by choice

When I started running workshops for interim managers about a dozen years ago, it was still seen as something to embark upon at the end of your career. Perhaps something to pursue, almost by necessity, as the full-time job market sought younger candidates. Over the years, I’ve seen significantly more people come into interim management through choice. They could get a full time role, but choose not to. The reasons interim management they choose interim management are manifold and include:

  • Challenging, interesting work
  • Variety of work
  • Taking extended gaps between assignments e.g. to travel
  • Combining it with NED work
  • Chance to focus on what they enjoy/do well
  • Not so affected by office politics
  • Greater sense of freedom/control
  • Reward/recognition for a job well done
  • Opportunity to make a real difference, a real impact

This is leading to a greater understanding of what interim managers can offer, and more opportunities.

3. You must be able to market yourself

However good you are at delivering as an interim manager, the ability to market yourself is critical. History is littered with great products that fizzled out, or worst still, never made the light of day and the same is true of interim managers. If you are to win the type of work you want, where you want, when you want and at the rates you want, you need to be excellent at marketing yourself. This means:

  • Truly understanding the problems you are great at solving and the real value you bring to the client that is different from others. This is your unique value proposition
  • Having a clear idea who faces these problems (the individuals within the companies within the markets)
  • Having strong networking skills to get in front of those people
  • Coming across with credibility, competence and compatibility when you are face-to-face with them

Interested in finding out more? Click here to find out more about my Self-Marketing Masterclass where I’ll guide you through the tools you’ll need to better market yourself as a successful interim manager. 

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