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Being an Interim Manager

Published on October 13th, 2014 | by Chris Williams


Contractors, Consultants And Interims – Spot The Difference

Bringing about change in a business is often the hardest thing to do – especially if you don’t have the right advocates internally to achieve it. In this blog post, Alium Partners’ Christopher Williams advises on the options businesses have and the key differences between the contractors, consultants and interims who may be able to help.

On initial conversations with any business seeking external support, it is absolutely key to discover why they want that support in the first place. What is the challenge facing them? Once this is known, it is much easier to understand the kind of resource required. Whether it is a contractor, consultant or interim, it is important for all parties to know the key differences between them before hiring so they can match capability and need as appropriate:


Put simply, a contractor is brought in to provide a specific skill that is missing at that time in the business. They are temporary support for a permanent requirement. For example, the world of financial services relies heavily on business analysts as contractors.


Sometimes referred to as management consultants, this group provide strategic advice and insight to a company. They may help to develop knowledge and thinking in the business by giving their opinions, but be clear - consultants are not there to show leadership, make a decision or implement – like the Queen (sort of), they are there to advise and warn.


Finally, “true” interims should be added to an organisation to provide an “end to end” solution. They bring about a lasting change in both process and culture that delivers real, embedded transformation, from paper to practice. In some ways they are the best of both worlds of the other two options, bringing the practicality of a contractor, with the expert knowledge of a consultant – but with unique influencing ability to facilitate a lasting cultural transformation.

As I said at the outset, as long as you are clear about why you want additional support and the business reasons behind the investment, picking the right resource from the above list should be straight forward.

What do you think the key differences are between contractors, consultants and interims? Do you have any more to add? Share your thoughts below.

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About the Author

As a Consultant, Christopher deals with a large variety of clients throughout the private sector including sectors such Telco and Technology, Manufacturing and Facilities Management. He also has significant experience of placing procurement, supply chain and sales positions, both interim and permanent.

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