Wednesday, May 24, 2006


There's a trend in employee comms at the moment for interim managers - especially during 'change' (though isn't everything in business in constant flux now?).

It's something I was initially in favour of as I saw it as offering more opportunities, but I've now had my fingers burned and will tread very warily when anyone comes knocking looking for an interim.

For me, being on the inside of an organisation as an employee means knowing it inside out and getting all the benefits of being part of the business entity. The downside for communicators is being at best, a middle-management employee, so rarely having the clout to make a huge impact.

Working as a consultant makes it easier to have the challenging conversations with senior management, but you're never truly a part of the team. You're regarded as an outsider - and may be perceived as a threat.

The interim should be seen as an insider, but should also have the power and impact of a consultant. But my experience has been very different.

My experience is that:
  • Businesses hire interims to do the jobs no-one internally will touch
  • Hires are made at too high a level - but the work is often low-grade transactional
  • Interims are regarded as employees rather than expert partners, and consequently are rarely used effectively as part of the business decision chain.

I know interim assignments work for a lot of people - at least at surface level. But I wonder how often the expectation meets the actuality for both the client and the interim.

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