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Interim Management

Published on November 12th, 2014 | by Sophie Mitchell


How To Work Effectively With An Interim Service Provider

Having worked with Alium Partners for over four years, Sophie Mitchell shares her views on how candidates can get the best out of their relationship with an Interim Service Provider and the key factors to consider in order to gain maximum benefit.

With a plethora of choices when it comes to interim service providers, sometimes the first decision can be to choose which organisation to register with. As well as doing comprehensive online research, I believe it is also important to reach into your own personal network and find out how well respected your prospective partner is. Ask some key questions:

  • What is their reputation for service quality?
  • Are they true to the values they espouse?
  • What other services do they provide that differentiates them from the competition?

Once you have answered these questions and successfully registered with the agencies of your choice, you must focus on building a strong relationship with the providers. You can do this effectively in a number of ways.

Keep The Client In Mind

It is important to remember when talking to a provider about a potential role to keep the client at the forefront of your mind – and more specifically, their needs. Ask yourself the question, “What is this business trying to achieve and do I have the skills required?” Whether the client is bringing someone in to lead, be part of a larger team or steer a particular project to completion, your skills and experience must be suitable. Remember that this “fit” is at the forefront of the providers’ mind as well as the client – so it should be your focus too. Providing specific examples of where and what you have delivered, and what tangible results you were responsible for are also critical.

Self Presentation

By this, I don’t mean the way you look or dress, although obviously this is also an important factor. Being clear about your specific offering and personal brand to differentiate yourself effectively in an increasingly crowded interim marketplace provides providers with clarity about where you are best placed to operate versus your peers.

Partnership Approach

Good providers will not treat you as a commodity, but as a partner with whom they are keen to work in a manner that is mutually beneficial, and having regular, balanced contact and building strong relationships will improve your ability to stay front of mind.

Keep In Touch

It is essential that you keep in touch with your chosen providers – but be aware that choosing when and why you contact them is equally important. Unless you are in regular assignment with one particular provider, a quarterly call and annual face to face meeting should be sufficient. Remember to always add value to a conversation or email by discussing current or recent assignments, new skills or qualifications gained, and of course any market intelligence that you feel may be useful.

A Point To Note

Finally, when thinking about interim providers, I think it is important to remember that the high quality operators strive to create opportunities for as many of their candidates as possible. However, both you and your providers are also subject to the market and age old law of supply and demand – something which every interim must understand if they want to succeed. Maintain a professional and measured attitude that will enhance your reputation in the market.

What are your opinions on interim service providers? How do you conduct a successful relationship with them? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.

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About the Author

As Head of the General Management practice, Sophie works closely with a variety of clients across the private and public sector, delivering innovative interim management solutions to their organisations. Typical requirements include change and transformation, business improvement, mergers and acquisitions and growth and leadership. She works with have a range of interim managers including Managing Directors, CEOs, Board Members and high level General Managers, all who have a proven track record of delivery.

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