Know the difference between a management consultant and an interim manager

Companies operating in a fast-paced environment, need a high degree of flexibility and adaptability to keep up with the sudden and frequent changes.

However, many companies working in these types of environments tend to lack these two parameters and therefore situations such as the restructuring of an organization, launching of new projects, relocations of factories, a gap in the management, or a company experiencing such fast growth that they cannot keep up to speed, can cause alarming problems and overwhelm the resources at hand.

Companies tend to look for external services that provide expert knowledge in order to deal with the challenges that arise out of such situations like the ones listed above. This is where a consultant or an interim manager comes into play.

Choosing whether to take an Interim Management approach or hiring a management consultant can be difficult. This is because of the fact that the two concepts resemble one another. However, when we look deeper into the two approaches, we see that there are real differences between the two.

Similarities between a management consultant and interim manager

As previously stated, an interim manager is similar to a management consultant. One could say that an interim manager is a management consultant, but a management consultant is not an interim manager. The similarities that the management consultant and the interim manager have are:

  • They share the ability to fast track a critical project
  • Strategic and analytical
  • An independent and objective view on the challenge
  • Temporary addition of top management resources

Although there are some similarities between the management consultant and the interim manager, we see that more senior directors choose to go for the Interim Management solution rather than going for a management consultant. This is because there are some clear advantages to hiring an interim manager instead of a consultant

Interim Management solution

Going for an Interim Management solution entails that a company receives added management expertise for a limited time period, which means that the commitment on the company’s side is low, but the value added into the business is very high. Moreover, the cost of having an interim manager is more cost effective than having a permanent employee for instance. The cost of having the interim is solely based on the time he/she works on the assignment. Once the interim period terminates, the cost goes away.

What differentiates the interim manager from the management consultant?

  • Being an interim manager, means being 100% devoted to the task. What is special about interim managers is that they are committed to their role as a short-term employee and their broad and long experience history in critical situations gives them a strategic advantage when dealing with new problems.
  • The interim manager does what is the best for the company and uses his/her method that suits the organization and the situation that the business is in. In other words, they are loyal to the company they work for and are not tied down by frameworks laid out by the consultancy which is the case for a management consultant.
  • Similarly, to the consultant, the interim manager lays the groundwork, meaning the analytical and strategic part of the job. However, what makes the interim manager special, is that the interim manager implements and executes the strategy, ensuring that the business reaches the desired goal. The interim manager views the company’s success as their own success.
  • Interim managers have no hidden agenda and are therefore not a threat to the existing employees.
  • An interim manager could be the new permanent manager. By hiring an interim manager at first, allows the company to test the compatibility
  • Interim managers are cost effective

What you can expect from your interim manager?

If you decide to take the Interim Management solution, then these are the things that you can expect to get out of your interim manager

  • You can expect to get an overqualified senior manager for the assignment, who has a lot of experience. The interim manager often brings key skills that the organization does not tend to have
  • An interim manager will be result driven and 100% focused on the task
  • An interim manager has chosen to go the Interim Management career, because they thrive in this flexible and project-based work life. They enjoy the freedom of not being tied down
  • The interim manager is not involved in any politics of the business. He or she is solely only there to create results that benefit the company.