Are Interim Managers too expensive?

Using Interim Managers

Interim Managers - A Cost or A Saving?

Having been an Interim Manager for more than 10 years, I have worked in many organisations on a  daily rate basis. Sometimes, I am regarded as an expensive resource.

With senior stakeholders, it has often been helpful to highlight that my contract has a standard two-week notice period, so if the organisation finds a better alternative it can change its plans flexibly.

Many senior stakeholders do not appreciate this advantage when they consider the headline daily rate. If they discover an alternative change delivery strategy, they can change tack with no switching costs or negotiation delays.

Good interim managers also help their clients to explore the alternatives. If there is a better one, I would (and have) recommended it. For example, on several occasions I have identified, mentored and recommended a previously overlooked member of staff for my role, thereby shortening my own assignment, converting it into a part-time support role for the new manager.

With junior staff, the most effective response to any questions has been to acknowledge that the costs are relatively high and to invite the questioner to debate alternative options. The key question is “If I was not here in your organisation, what else would it (you) do instead.” Often staff just wanted to understand why a decision was made to spend what looks like a lot of money on a temporary manager. Their line managers had not explained this to them, nor involved them in the process of appointing their interim leader / manager.

Finally, career interim change managers never exceed the client’s budget. This is a bête noir for our industry and is the antithesis of what we usually do – which is generally an effective and efficient change management solution.

Have a great week.


About the Author: Adam Blackie is the author of Your Digital Personality and a professional Interim Manager who leads information management teams through their change programmes. He works with CEO’s and their Boards in the UK to change the way technology is used by staff and their customers.


About Adam Blackie

A career Freelance Accountant who specialises in leading helping others to hold onto their money.
This entry was posted in change management, cost cutting, Interim Management, leading change, leading change management, service delivery and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Are Interim Managers too expensive?

  1. You are having good pointers, Adam. I’ve been working months and years with interim managers, and the key reason being their quick ramp-up (assuming they have the needed comptence) and especially the swift ramp-down if the business reasons do not support this kind of approach anymore. The costs of the interim managers can then be seen in a different light.

    • Adam Blackie says:

      Thank you.
      This subject is really all about the business case, something that is sometimes missing or vague in change projects. Interim managers are an investment for a business, they shouldn’t invest until they are sure of the return.

  2. Nick Robeson says:

    Interesting and worthwhile exercise Adam. I carried out some research some years back where we asked interim executives to place a multiple on their cost v ROI. Outcome from over 800 interim executives was an average of 14 times ROI.

    • Adam Blackie says:

      Thank you,
      An ROI of 14 on any project would be a worthwhile investment for any business. As a minimum I always try to identify savings at least equivalent to my own assignment cost. If every Interim aimed for this as a default deliverable, it could change the perception of our service offering.

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