Posted by anakkawi on December 31, 2007
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Interim management is about recycling rejects. This is the original interim myth, says Bill Penney, a founding partner of Ashton Penney, the interim agency. It began because many of the first interims felt the calling after being made redundant or retiring early; today, however, interims are “a cadre of experts with a huge amount of experience”.
Interims are simply jumped-up temps. Tony Draper, an interim manager who was placed at Kent County Council recently by Rockpools, says: “We’re not temps but a lot of people think we are. We can do all sorts of things, from filling in for a chief executive through to special projects.”
Interims need training up. One of the biggest selling points of interims is that they are highly experienced and capable of hitting the ground running. “They will have done the job before,” Draper says.
They’re expensive. Not if you factor in the pension, health and other costs that you’re not paying. “And by using an interim you can avoid expensive mistakes and generate savings,” Draper says.
They would rather have a permanent job. “That’s just not true. Most interims would, and do, reject the offer of permanent jobs,” Penney says. And most of them already have a permanent job anyway, Draper says — running their own businesses.
They are loners. “That’s not true. We like contact, we like to work in teams. But we become interims because we like the challenge and variety of new projects,” Draper says. They’re also happy to share their experience and knowledge with others in the organisation, Penney says. The impermanent nature of their role means that they won’t feel threatened by a junior manager’s ambition.
They make a fortune. “Of course some people earn £2,000 a day but they’re the rare ones — the lucky ones,” Draper says. “We have down-time between assignments where we’re not earning, and we don’t have pensions and so forth unless we buy them ourselves.”
You have to keep a close eye on what they are up to. “A good interim manager is a self-starter who is experienced and highly motivated. You shouldn’t have to manage him or her the same way that you would a new member of staff,” Draper says. “Over-managing them can be detrimental to delivering the project.”