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Defining mission management by analogy: the interim manager's flight manual

Reading time : 3 minutes

Fly a mission like an airliner

Is there a pilot in the plane? With interim management, the answer is invariably yes! Like an instructor, the associate director accompanies the manager through each key phase, to ensure a smooth transition into the company. All aboard!

" Cabin crew at doors, arm slides, check opposite door". What if the ritual check-list that crews go through as soon as they push back from the plane also applied to interim managers? One thing is certain: with an interim management firm like IMfinity, the professional is never left alone in the cockpit.

It all starts before you even get on board, when you put together the crew. Depending on the customer's expectations( high-flyingmission or quiet long-haul flight in business class), the needs expressed and the type of project, the first challenge is to find the ideal profile to meet the challenges. Arnaud Desclèves explains : "While the panel of professionals at our disposal can cover all requirements, the presence of an instructor is essential to guide the manager through this new project, in a world he or she is just discovering. And in this case, the associate director plays the role of instructor! "

A full briefing

His briefing begins with a reminder of the instructions (what posture to adopt) according to the company's culture. The associate director presents the specifics, the underlying political issues, and the relationships he has perceived between personalities and departments, to facilitate the manager's integration. Armed with this implicit knowledge - in addition to all his expertise - he has everything he needs to get off to a good start.

Second step: study the weather together. Is the manager going to arrive in a stormy climate of competition, in a legal storm of litigation to manage, or on the contrary in clement weather, despite threatening regulatory clouds? This essential information on the temperature of the company also feeds the professional's reflection on his attitude. The managing partner also advises him on his approach: whether to be discreet in stealth aircraft mode, or perfectly assertive in A380 mode, imposing his presence.

The last phase of the briefing concerns the flight plan : what is the exact requirement, how can it be met, what changes are possible during the mission and what is the provisional schedule?

A safe flight

For the interim manager, it's time to take control. "As soon as he gets on board and starts his assignment, he has to stay in constant contact with the control towerThis constant communication makes it easier to solve problems and keep on track. This constant communication facilitates problem-solving, avoids missteps and prevents isolation.

During the first few days of the assignment, the instructor also plays a decisive role in guiding from a distance, clearing up questions and deciphering situations. "There must be intense contact between the two of them: the associate director talks continuously with the manager to support him in his first miles."

After a few days, the manager is ready to take off and gain autonomy. It's now up to him to spread his wings and show the full extent of his skills. "There is often a key moment - a meeting, a presentation, a meeting with consultants - during which the interim manager is required to make a strong statement and take a stand. This is what really marks the start of the assignment, the triggering event that shows everyone that he or she is in the right place and in the right job. He then acquires his legitimacy and proves that he is in control.

Last turn

The ramp-up continues until we reach cruisingaltitude and speed. Exchanges with the managing partner remain regular, but less frequent. "They consist mainly in making sure that the altitude remains the right one: never climb into the stratosphere and get out of your frame, and never take a nosedive and sleep on your laurels either". Discussions are systematically held as soon as a difficulty arises - a storm cell to circumvent or a particularly complex clause in a contract. "A good interim manager is characterized by his or her mastery of danger. They keep their seatbelts fastened at all times, and remain alert to all risks and turbulence.

A successful landing!

The last crucial phase:landing. The end of the assignment and the handing over of files must be anticipated, with the imperative of a satisfied customer, ready to embark once again in the company of an interim manager. That's why it's so important to have a debriefing session at the end of each assignment, so that you can learn from the experience and prepare for the next.

One of the hallmarks of a good interim manager is his mastery of danger. He keeps his seatbelt fastened at all times and remains alert to all risks and turbulence.