Consultancy or executive interim management? When interim management is the best solution for companies

If you are looking to bring external senior skills into your business on a temporary basis, you may be hesitating between a consultant and an executive interim manager. Indeed, there is an overlap between the two roles. And in some cases, consultancy may be the right solution. Several key differences, however, show that executive interim management is often more appropriate.

The crucial difference to note is that the role of consultancy is purely advisory: a consultant will audit a business, analyse their findings, and on that basis provide a set of recommendations tailored to that company. They will not, however, take the lead in the implementation of those recommendations.

A hands-on role

First, most evidently, executive interim managers do not just gain an in-depth understanding of a company’s operations, opportunities, challenges and risks: they also spearhead the implementation of the transformations needed. In situations where companies have a skill or experience gap within their senior management, this is vital. This leadership role ensures that the changes recommended are duly implemented in the most appropriate manner.

Working with your staff

Another ramification of this operational involvement is that executive interim managers actually work with a business’s staff: interacting with the rest of the team on a prolonged basis provides them with an even better understanding of the dynamics at stake, and of the finer subtleties of the issues to address, which could be harder for a consultant to detect, due to their more limited involvement.

This also allows for an on-going feedback loop, whereby the executive interim manager is able to adjust the strategies to implement over time based on the day-to-day experience they accrue within the business.

Greater accountability

What is more, executive interim managers’ hands-on role within the company means that they are subject to more immediate accountability: while the impact of the recommendations made by a consultant can take some time to become measurable, executive interim managers are responsible for carrying out the transformations needed, and are thus more directly answerable to the company.

100% focus on the company’s best interests

Finally, it can be said that executive interim managers are good consultants, but not every consultant is a good manager. They are also more likely to work with their own teams, where an executive interim manager would work directly with the company’s staff.