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					(22)   HR FUTURE 07.2008                      ON THE COVER                cover story                                                                                                                                                 HR FUTURE 07.2008 (23)

                                                                                                                                                                            generally over-qualified for the              employee who has left at short notice,
                                                                                                                                                                            project they have been assigned               allowing companies the peace of mind
                                                                                                                                                                            to and companies can leverage                 while searching for a replacement;
                                                                                                                                                                            those additional skills by asking
                                                                                                                                                                            their opinions on other areas of the          Skills transfer assignment. An
                                                                                                                                                                            business.                                     interim manager can be used to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          provide practical knowledge to less
                                                                                                                                                                            HOW CAN INTERIM MANAGERS                      experienced candidates who may
                                                                                                                                                                            HELP SA COMPANIES?                            possess the academic qualifications
                                                                                                                                                                            The concept of interim management             but lack the necessary hands on
                                                                                                                                                                            is still relatively new in South Africa       experience required for the position;

                                                                                                                                                                            but it is a potential resource that could
                                                                                                                                                                            significantly help companies meet             Strategy implementation
                                                                                                                                                                            their business objectives.                    assignments. Studies show that
                                                                                                                                                                                  Since 1994, the South African           consultants and strategists are
                                                                                                                                                                            employment landscape has undergone            formulating, brilliant high-level
                                                                                                                                                                            major change, characterised by rapid          strategies but the execution is left
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          to the company’s line managers to

                                                                                                                                                                            economic growth as well as the
                                                                                                                                                                            need to transform the workplace to            implement without providing them
                                                                                                                                                                            ensure the necessary diversity and            with the necessary support. As a
                                                                                                                                                                            demographic representation. There are         result, it is estimated that at least a
                                                                                                                                                                            also increasingly complex corporate           third of the value-creation potential
                                                                                                                                                                            governance requirements and financial         is lost during the implementation. An
                                                                                                                                                                            reporting standards, all of which – in        interim manager can be appointed

                                               WILL GUIDe yoU tHroUGH                                                                                                       the absence of an abundance of senior         to assist companies with the
                                                                                                                                                                            executives – implies the need for             implementation of its strategies;
                                               tHe MAZe LAWRENCE WORDON                                                                                                     innovative and flexible employment
                                                                                                                                                                            solutions.                                    Non-executive director assignments.

                                                                                                                                                                                  South African companies also            Given the growing complexity of
                                                                                                                                                                            have to deal with the fast pace               corporate governance requirements,
              South African companies              Interim management is not a        pre-defined project. Simply put, they     their achievements to be considered         of change in today’s corporate                there is an increased need for
              face the challenge of           new concept overseas. It started in     can be described as an all-in-one         for new projects, are probably as           environment, whether it is due to             unbiased and experienced non-
              improving their skills          the Netherlands in the seventies in     project manager, consultant and senior    motivated to achieve your objectives        downsizing, to prepare for rapid              executive directors, which can be
              base and management             response to restrictive Dutch labour    executive working at or near board        as you are.                                 growth or even to implement new               provided by using an interim manager;
              capabilities if they want       laws.                                   level.                                         Interim management should              technology or systems to secure a
  to grow into sustainable and globally            In the United Kingdom alone,            Usually, an interim manager is       not be confused with consulting.            competitive advantage. There’s a big          The use of interim managers could
  competitive companies.                      the interim management industry         someone who has enjoyed enormous          Consulting is an area interim               need for senior level people to manage        also solve a number of headaches
                                              is estimated to be worth more           success in his or her corporate career    management touches on but is distinct       that change.                                  for small businesses. Local start-up
  The challenge is made all the more          than £2 billion today with further      but now wishes to work on short term      from. The main difference is that a               The use of interim managers             SMEs (small, medium enterprises)
  difficult by the fact that South Africa,    growth anticipated. It consists of      projects instead, having chosen to lead   consultant essentially works as an          allows companies to bring in the              have a high mortality rate because
  like most countries today, faces critical   various layers of expertise ranging     portfolio careers and not be embroiled    outsider whereas an interim manager         expert talent when they need it, for          of the shortage of the technical and
  skills shortages in top management,         from independent directors acting       with corporate life. Many have a          is expected to act as an insider. In        as long as they need it. Consider this        management skills they need to build
  senior executive and directorship           as modern day non-executives            business degree in addition to their      addition, the interim manager’s             potentially business-saving solution          businesses that can compete with
  positions. Unlike other countries,          to operational managers adept           technical qualifications and typically    position is often limited by time, while    for a company facing immediate                large South African and multinational
  however, South Africa’s skills shortage     at handling crises, turnaround          have held senior management               the consultant’s contract is expected       challenges: an interim manager is             competitors.
  has been further exacerbated by the         programmes or projects.                 positions, not uncommonly at the          to conclude with the delivery of a          typically in place within two weeks                South African entrepreneurs face
  so called brain drain, which in the              It is now an exception to find a   board or head of function level.          specified outcome.                          and can start making an impact                challenges including putting financial
  last decade has seen over one million       company in the United Kingdom with           The concept of interim                    Interim managers can add               immediately whereas a permanent               systems and controls in place,
  highly skilled people leave the country     a £50 million plus turnover which       management as a career has really         greater value to companies than             position could take up to six months          upgrading manufacturing systems,
  in search of better employment              has not at some point used an interim   taken off overseas. A few years ago,      consultants because of their hands-         to fill. They also bring ability,             technologies and processes as well as
  opportunities elsewhere.                    manager.                                it was retired directors who wanted       on involvement in projects and the          experience and a fresh perspective to         introducing quality assurance.
        In order to overcome this                                                     to continue working for a while. Now      ability of their skills and knowledge       your organisation.                                In addition, they need to address
  challenge, South African companies          WHAT IS AN INTERIM MANAGER?             interim managers are much younger,        to rub off onto permanent staff                   Some typical examples where             issues such as business strategy,
  should take a feather from the caps         An interim manager is a management      more ambitious and dynamic.               members. Consultants, on the other          interim management can help South             marketing, international trade and
  of their European and American              professional, usually with a specific        They are used to working on a        hand, are allowed to depart after           African companies include:                    more if they are to thrive. These are
  counterparts and start using interim        area of expertise, who contracts to     project basis and understand how to       having developed a strategy, plan                                                         all daunting challenges for companies
  management to overcome critical skills      provide a client with short-term        manage an assignment within time          or framework taking with them the           Leadership and management                     that don’t have access to seasoned
  shortages at the highest level of their     cover, troubleshooting in an area       frames and budgets. They are results-     knowledge for which the company             assignments. An interim manager               management with the relevant
  organisations.                              of expertise or the completion of a     driven and, given that they rely on       paid. Interim managers are also             can quickly fill the shoes of a senior        experience. (HRf)

                                                                                                                                    Lawrence Wordon is the managing director of Professional Assigments Group (