Homogeneous versus hetrogeneous: Dangerous ground?

Over the past few years I have noticed a growing trend towards homogenising interim managers via skills analysis, accreditation, profiling etc and have a concern that the very thing that sets us apart from consultants and permanent employees is the very thing that we may well eradicate from our cv’s. Over 10 years as an interim has allowed me to work in industries and roles that my profile doesn’t fit. If I was tested or accredited I would bever have been selected for those roles, yet I did them and completed them successfully. One of our key attributes is that we deliver, I am not sure how we “profile” that. When Nick Faldo profiled his swing he stopped winning tournaments, when Johnny Wilkinson thinks about his kick he often misses. So are we in danger of trying to remove what makes us different and good to fit a profile? Rather than look at profiling and accrediting interims wouldn’t we be better served profiling our industry? Rather than seeking accreditation and being “profiled” to sector or role would we not be better served by being different and special?

What do you think?

Complicated question – We find interims as a % of the population we are very much in the minority. This is substantiated with the tiny market segment we fill, and the difficulties given the lack of critical mass in trying to standardise the solution.


To standardise the solution I agree is to squander the value, because resourcing where there is underlying capability to do the role (emotional intelligence and technical ability, breadth, enough provenance), is better vs. the executive sourcing model which is very much more industry and sector specific.


Where there is substantial sector specific fit allot of what we do is unconscious based on our previous experience because that’s the way our brains work. Where the value is we find – is taking very capable people and getting them out of the comfort zone, cos that is where the real thinking and innovation takes place. What value comes without new thinking?


That is a disingenuous vs. a traditional solution because a client expects you to tell them what to do because you’ll have done it before, although again legacy after an interim has “defined the boundaries” is around creating an environment where clients figure out and detail the solution themselves. This too can be an uncomfortable process


Clients to buy from those like themselves and there are not many CEOs with the same sorts of profiles as us, or they would be very bored.


So I agree the value is in diversity and unfamiliarity, and the challenge remains as there is no clear “standard solution to compare against” how do you validate and accredit an interim? QC is always about comparing against a standard.


What is common is some of the values that interims share, although again there are many different equally valid horses for courses and subsets of the population and part of a broader solution.


If you profiled our industry, (by which I guess you mean clients) I think you would find again that we would not ideally fit. It is only when a specific set of circumstances arise that it is possible for a client to decide what’s right. That client decision is more based on a chain of trust, and has little relevance to external accreditation.


There are cultural issues with this too around the UK trend to standardise behaviour, which id argue shows a complete lack of trust which has completely the opposite effect.


As a hypothesis – client trust and personal security in letting go has allot to do with the success of an interim project, so there may be merit in profiling the client and interim characteristics of the most successful and not so successful projects?


I am always amazed that with the shorter and shorter tenure of CEOs and broader the trend of senior management to more contractual style of working, that business schools do not study the subject of interim management more closely. Where there does seem to be convergence of thinking is around the emotional intelligence aspects, psychology of the interim and their engagement, which again is often very disingenuous with most management theory.


Bring on the debate…