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Change management: who is responsible and what is the role of interim managers?

Change management: who is responsible and what is the role of interim managers?

"The only constant is change itself." Heraclitus' famous saying applies to all aspects of life, including your work and the way your company operates. Even in the most prosperous companies, there comes a point in life when change is needed. There can be many reasons for this, from adapting to the market environment to remaining competitive, to necessary restructuring and transformation. 

But whose responsibility is it to manage change? Should it be managed in-house or should it be outsourced? Who is an interim manager and how can they help you to manage change successfully?

Read our article below to find out.

What is change management?

Change management is a set of processes, techniques, and tools that help companies and their environment to manage change, from the earliest stages of preparation through implementation to the achievement of objectives. Change management helps organisations to prepare for and adapt successfully to both natural and unexpected changes, rather than simply enduring them.

In the last two years, change management has gained unprecedented importance in the lives of companies, as the world is changing at a pace unprecedented since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost daily.

When is change management needed?

Change can be triggered by external as well as internal factors. An economic crisis, a change in the political environment, or advances in technology can be just as much a driver of change in an organisation as high turnover, the sudden departure of a manager, the emergence of a new competitor, or a less-than-ideal internal structure. Whatever the cause, successful change and achieving the desired goal requires systemic thinking, experience, and awareness. Change typically involves stepping out of one's comfort zone, both at an individual and organisational level, which needs to be managed to avoid confusion and employee dissatisfaction. Change management provides an effective solution.

Who is change management for?

Change or transformation may be necessary for many areas and at many levels in a company: it may affect the organisational hierarchy, the corporate culture, the technological background, or the business strategy. In terms of the impact and depth of change, a distinction is made between adaptive and transformational change. The former refers to continuous, step-by-step changes that can affect, among other things, services or products and work processes to improve the way the company operates. Transformational change is a more extensive and comprehensive process, for example, when a new service or product, or even a whole business line, is introduced. 

As can be seen, both adaptive and transformational change are highly complex processes. Successful change management requires systemic thinking, an overview of all the processes involved, detailed preparation, ongoing communication, and active participation in implementation.

This is an interim management role that requires the right knowledge, experience, and capacity. For this reason, it can be delegated within the company only with enormous compromise, and in many cases not at all.

What is the solution?

Employee involvement

To successfully implement a change strategy, you need to involve the employees of the organisation. For successful change management, employees must know what is expected of them, and what will happen during and after the change. Developing an effective communication strategy is also a key part of the process. 

Hiring an interim manager

Interim managers are experienced managers who can be hired for a specific period or task, and who are outstanding performers in their profession. As well as working on predefined and clearly defined goals and tasks for the company, interim managers can objectively manage the necessary changes and the processes that go with them, which is not always possible with an 'internal manager' who is otherwise tied to the organisation.

Change management may also involve the involvement of a management consultant. It is important to know that the interim manager, unlike the consultant, not only sets direction, plan, and strategy, but also implements them while guiding the organisation through the transition.

How can interim managers help a company to successfully manage change? 

They do not need to get involved in day-to-day operations

Unlike traditional managers, interim managers do not need to be involved in the day-to-day operations meetings and negotiations. They don't have to worry about their future promotion or their relationship with other managers in the company. They devote their time exclusively to the successful completion of the tasks entrusted to them, which enables them to work with outstanding efficiency.

Interim managers are goal- and results-oriented

Interim managers quickly integrate into the company environment to the extent necessary to do their job. The effectiveness and success of their work can be measured by the achievement of objectives and results. The client can therefore be sure that the objectives of the company and the interim managers are in line. This is a prerequisite for successful change management.

Final note

Change management, although not new, has taken on a new meaning and a new role in recent years. The need to adapt quickly and effectively to recent international and domestic changes is placing an increasing burden on companies. Change management is a highly complex task, and its success can determine the competitiveness of a company and even its future. If your company is facing change due to external or internal factors, you should consider hiring an experienced interim manager.

If you have any further questions on this topic, please request a free consultation on our website and our colleagues will contact you shortly.

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