Does an interim have to be industry specialist?

Some HR managers and interim providers seem to be advising executives and directors on hiring interim managers who have specialist experience in their sector.

It has always been so for certain sectors and they have a point: understanding the language and “standard operations” of these sectors is a real benefit when you want an interim to start fast and make positive impact quickly.  Especially where the role is to be a heavy weight temporary role.

However, one way in which I have been able to help clients is by bringing insights from other sectors which gives them a way of looking at the problem with fresh eyes.

Some of my recent posts have been about Diversity (as prompted by the new UK Diversity Act) but diversity (with a small D) is equally important.  Some organisations, because of their products or services have tended to have people from similar cultural backgrounds or similar university courses.  The different way of seeing things can be a valid challenge to assumptions that may no longer be true.

Interim managers are often brought in to do things differently and that will mean changes: so some diversity could help that innovation.  The different view brough by an interim from a different sector can often challenge things as they are and assumptions.  There experience of a similar situation or function in another business can bring really strong experience to the organisations.

Interim managers have many transferable skills and useful experiences from elsewhere. I can see why some recruitment agencies, interim providers and client HR assume that sector experience helps get the “fit” right but it is the other skills and experience that are the reason an interim should be considered for a task: the organisation are buying in experienced resource they are unlikely to have in the organisations and doing that for specific short-term reasons.


About 3triangles
Helping organisations make change happen in 3 key areas: strategic change, deliver tactical impacts, efficient and effective processes. All blog content (c) 2009 - 2012 Carol Long and Three Triangles Performance Ltd

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