Interim or Consultant: Which is better?
Should you hire an interim manager or a management consultancy?
Hiring an interim and engaging a management consultancy are two very different ways of developing your organisation and assisting through change. The choice is often determined by the characteristics of the challenge, though more and more businesses are beginning to recognise the value of interim management over traditional consultancy.
In our experience, the unique situations presented by the investment cycle within private equity-backed businesses are more effectively supported by the interim approach. Let’s take a look at both sides of the coin, and see which option may be better suited for your business.
- Interim: An interim can provide expert and sector-specific advice, but they are also capable of and responsible for implementing that advice. Interims manage the day-to-day role, make decisions for your business and drive business development
- Consultants: Management consultants tend to recommend actions based on their findings and then leave it to you to implement them, for those that aren’t as well versed in the methods of the consultant, this can bring up a variety of issues, with the end responsibility, and as such, the risk, falling onto your business in its entirety.
- Interim: These people have more specific ‘hands-on’ practical experience, offering advice and recommendations on issues based on situations they may have overseen in the past. The advice is theirs to execute, and they are directly responsible for the actions taken based on their own advice.
- Consultants: They are trained in their profession and are more than capable in the advice that they give, but their training is typically based on theoretical techniques, with no/little real-world experience of the consequences that their advice could bring.
- Interim: Since an interim will manage the day-to-day responsibilities in your organisation, employees will report directly to them, which means that any unexpected ‘hiccups’ in the process can be remedied quickly, mitigating the risks that hiccups can bring.
- Consultants: Whilst they may still be in contact with your organisation, their visits will be infrequent and will often be for specific reasons. Any unseen issues which have an effect on the execution of their advice will make it difficult to rectify strategies or influence advice in as quick a manner as an interim.
- Interim: An interim is directly employed with your business, as such, they are solely committed to improving the business. Making a difference, and building a good reputation, is vital for them to secure their next assignment, making them more results orientated overall.
- Consultants: They are likely to be working on multiple assignments at the same time, limiting their services to an agreed number of hours. Whilst they may be committed to improving your business, they simply cannot match the level of commitment that comes with an interim.
- Value for money: a team of interims can deliver better value for money than recruiting a top-tier management consultancy to perform the same role. The interim appointment is usually for a pre-determined term within a clear budget.
- Long-term value generation: Interim managers can add more long-term value to an organisation as they are likely to transfer their knowledge to the rest of the team and put processes in place that continue business change and transformation after the end of their assignment.
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