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Friday, September 21, 2012

Escalation in interim managers hired to bring about change

Change management is becoming the new place to be for interim managers, according to the latest snap shot market research from management provider Russam GMS.

The company's latest report of 12,000 interims highlighted that the majority of interim assignments are now for specialist projects or change management programmes - rather than traditional 'gap-filling' assignments, which make up just 13 per cent of total projects.

Further findings reveal that nearly 20 per cent of interims say they are involved in change management work and business transformation work, which now accounts for 19 per cent of all assignments.

Charles Russam, chairman of Russam GMS, said: "Change management has emerged as a new job discipline in interim management. Increasingly, CEOs are hiring interim change management experts to help them handle their tough business challenges and to move their business to the next level.

"Interims are proving popular because they bring specialist expertise that tends not to exist within a company. They are adept at identifying and quickly sorting out problems and can be brought in on a short-term basis so they are an affordable option for many businesses."

Russam adds that there seems to be an increase in the number of businesses bored with a no-growth economy, keen to move ahead and with funds on hand who are now hiring interims to help identify changes and to manage their implementation. It's a quick, low cost, low risk approach and it can be seriously effective, according to the company chairman.

Jacqui Dunning, a former consultant at PA Consultancy, said she was attracted to change management because she had seen too many good projects ruined by poor implementation.

"Too many businesses have great strategies and plans that aren't implemented properly which is why I moved from consultancy into project delivery. But there are skills needed as a change manager. Firstly, you need to be resilient and recognise that no one likes change so people within a business will be naturally suspicious of you," she said.

"You also need a diverse range of skills to succeed including great analytic ability to quickly assess problems, excellent communication skills and boundless energy and passion to get people to buy into your vision of change. You need determination to see the plans through to the end. You must be a good listener and strong leadership skills are essential as they contribute to at least 70 per cent of project success."

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