Who makes a good interim manager and who should persue interim management as a career?
There is no doubt interims and more nature than nurture. It certainly does not follow sucessful senior execs will make the most successful interim managers.
A typical Interim Managers profile puts us in a very small subset of the population. This too is a limiting factor in terms of growing interim management as a solution – as buying CEOs have a very different typical profile too. Icebreaker has developed a very clear view of this to support an interim manager’s decision making; as a consequence the icebreaker team to complete a profile tool to check this. This analysis came from my own curiosity as no-one helped me in my decision making as to whether interim management was for me.
This reality presents some interesting challenges – interims are better as interims and get bored as FTEs (Nyenrode University). From the other side of the fence customers should recognise the value of this diversity and in the right circumstances use interims. These characteristics make us very comfortable in adverse circumstances when FTEs e.g. at these times are more concerned with the longevity of their careers. Organizations that recognize and manage diversity deliver outstanding results, more often terms such as blockers or mavericks are used when this diversity is where the money and high performance is. I look forward to the result its making meaning to the endless rants interims vs. consultants vs. FTEs
Interim assignments vary only in terms of circumstance which can dictate a different approach. In terms of personal traits – I’d argue and on the ground have consistently found the aptitude is the same, driving process – the capability to seamlessly engage, deliver change and exit.
Self awareness is vitally important to make us a whole lot more effective. Executive coaching skills enable us to be a whole lot more effective along with cutting edge varied experience to enable us to make sense of most circumstances. This is central to making sense of the capability an interim manager and an area where thinking converge – Nyenrode University seems to lead in this area.
Whilst cloning is absurd notion – there is very definitely a set of characteristics that suggest we should or not be an interim. Those on the cusp I find lack the natural tenacity to see through the toughest times on and off assignment. The market at the best of times is tough enough to weed those out.
There are 2 other types – those that drag out assignments and the unemployable exec who do rather confuse the picture.

will have a different profile vs. the SCD / MD / OPsD / general managers that handle the most challenging large scale change with large numbers of people reporting to them – where the right profile becomes central.

We can and do learn those things that don’t come naturally but will not remain effective for extended periods of time, if we don’t play to our strengths. Its recognising this diversity and additional strength that an interim brings is key to engaging the interim; I expect this difference will come out of the results of the working interim population loud and clear.

Managing diversity in large organisations seems to be replaced by the opposite – defining and measuring individuals vs. the norm organisational behaviours, which is the killer of innovation, high performing teams or “the effective human being”