This guest blog post is written by Robin Worthington, an experienced Property Director who has worked for global brands such as Cadbury and is now a successful consultant and interim manager. He offers some insider tips for success in the interim industry.
Robin Worthington’s Interim Insider Success Tips
- Ensure your CV focuses on results, not on responsibilities. With a new client, start by agreeing what you will be measured on - and then exceed expectations.
- I believe a Consultant is someone who helps you decide what to do, a Contractor is someone who goes and does it for you, and an Interim Manager is someone who provides both these services - and who hands over a new ‘Business As Usual’ before moving on.
- I rarely find a client who knows precisely what it is they want. Whether or not explicit, I believe the art of the Interim Manager is to bring about change in a controlled manner. Although still a Chartered Surveyor - that is the entry ticket to my sector - I now describe myself as a ‘Change Manager, Process Consultant and Subject Matter Expert’.
- Your ‘client’ is invariably an individual within a large firm - someone who is taking a big personal risk in appointing you. This is the key relationship. Safeguard it.
- I think it was Bertrand Russell who said ‘To have integrity, first you need to have dined’. I have forgotten who it was who said ‘If you are to judge people at all, judge them not by the work they accept, but by the work they turn down.’ Two years ago, I turned down a highly paid role with one of the big audit firms. They had asked me if I was good at selling. I had replied ‘I’m brilliant - at selling the truth’. (As a client, that’s all I’m interested in actually.)
The Market Place - Where, Why and When?
- Where? Are you looking in the right place? I have several networks – the Surveyors Institute, the CBI, two peer-group development forums, squash at the RAF Club, etc. Three out my last four contracts have come directly through these networks.
- Why? You know the old one about how to find your true love – give up looking. Do the things you enjoy and – no surprise – you meet people with common interests. All the groups I take part in I do of my own volition, primarily because I’m learning or helping others learn.
- When? It normally takes me 3 months between the end of one assignment and finding the next. I used to get bent out of shape in the intervening periods. Now I value the space
Robin Worthington FRICS was Group Property Director of Cadbury until its acquisition by Kraft in 2010. He is now a Consultant and Interim Manager, having undertaken successful assignments at Capita Symonds, Morrisons Supermarkets, Jaguar Land Rover and the GAME Group. He is a Member and past Chair of the CBI Property Group, a Member of the Mentoring Panel of IDDAS and holds a Certificate as a Pension Trustee issued by the Pension Regulator.
What are your thoughts on these interim insider success tips? Have you used any of them in your career? Do you have other tips to add? Share your stories in the comments.