Fresh, Breathe, Sustain, Absorb and 5 other words that describe the benefit of an interim

Engaging an interim manager in your organisation can bring benefits that go far beyond that of a “temp” or delivery-focussed contract role.  Here are 9 words that describe the benefits you can get, some obvious, some perhaps you may not have considered.


Avoiding notice periods and lengthy on-boarding processes


Ability to quickly stop your interim’s assignment if it’s not working out, the internal situation, priorities or budgets change, and during the handover phase at the end of the contract.


The motivation and drive of an interim is different to that of a permanent employee. Permanent employees may be concerned with building their career; carving out their specialism; protecting their position; maintaining adequate performance or be driven by the view of their friends of colleagues and the various political allegiances.

That’s not to suggest on this basis that an interim makes better recommendations, but may be made and received without concern that it’s coloured by their place in the organisation.


Sometime it’s good to have a fresh pair of eyes on something. Human nature is that it can be difficult to achieve this if you have been involved in something for a long period of time. And you probably know that when you discuss a thorny problem with someone previously uninvolved, they often ask a particular question or approach it from an angle you simply haven’t thought of before.


…based on multifarious experience and working within different organisations and environments. I like to consider the IT team’s position from a maturity perspective, both that of the IT team and the wider organisation, because both need to match. And I have seen very different examples having worked in organisations from 6 people to one of the top 30 largest, certified at the highest level of maturity for software development.


….some time for reflection and consideration. When you are recruiting a new permanent employee there is an opportunity, although it probably doesn’t feel like this when a valued colleague is moving on. Getting this new appointment absolutely right is critical for now and the future, particularly as a new wave of ‘digital’ technologies approach for organisations to take advantage of.

Having a capable interim in place should allow you to consider the future needs and draft a person spec that reflects future needs with the realistic possibility of attracting fresh talent for the journey ahead.


Interims have to be good networkers because that’s where their next assignment comes from. When you buy an interim, you also buy access to this network for ‘crowd sourcing’ ideas and input when you don’t have the experience in house.


My mindset as an interim is different to when I was permanent, because it brings into sharp focus the short-term nature of things. Building capability, autonomy and sustainability so that what I set in play will continue beyond my departure (otherwise it was an investment wasted) is my number 1 priority. It’s all about writing the exit plan on day 1 of the assignment.

This plays out differently to someone who is doing the role longer term because they are there to lead longer term when the interim isn’t.


Maybe there is the opportunity for the interim to do some work that dent a manager’s relationship with their team. Perhaps better to ask an interim to do that work, settle things down and then hand to the permanent unencumbered by the reputational hit from their reports. Absorbing any bad feelings and taking them with them.


This article is written about the benefit of having an interim manager. This is a different proposition to a contract role, e.g. a programme or project manager, which are more task-focussed. Some of the words above won’t apply in the same way, so its worth making this distinction if you have used contractors, but not interims.

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