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GRO.TEAM Business Growth Agency

How To

Make a Success of Interim Consulting

How can you maximise your chances of success if you make the leap to interim consulting?

is it the same?

Few interims get treated that differently
In my experience very few people get treated any differently day-to-day in interim consulting roles than “permanent” employees..the fact that you’re an interim consultant won’t be a big issue but the expectations of you as an interim consultant can sometimes be higher. You might be expected to be an expert on more things, and you’ll probably be expected to have a measurable impact — perhaps more quickly than a new full time employee would be. You could also get more latitude to challenge the orthodoxy, not be expected to navigate the company politics so carefully, and have your change agenda considered more dispassionately.

how do you make sure you’re a success

The first (and maybe obvious) point is to choose the right role. Don’t set yourself up for failure by taking an interim consulting role with a team size, company culture or business model you’re not absolutely confident you can add real value to. Ultimately what you “sell” is your reputation and track record — don’t be tempted to risk it by taking on a role you’re not 100% right for. Once you have found the right role, and before you start, make sure you are very clear about the brief. Make sure you really understand what success will look like in the potential role.

know why they hired you

get the basics righT
Sometimes companies want a change agent, but sometimes they just want an interim consultant to “act like they got the job for real” and do their “sensible best”. Make sure you understand whether you will need to be a good cultural fit or being counter-cultural is one of the reasons why they want to hire you. When you start get the basics right..always arrive on time and dress similarly to the prevailing dress code in the team. At the early stages of any assignment make sure you don’t write cheques you can’t cash by promising un-achievable things. There is no surer way of destroying your credibility (and making enemies of other people) than by promising things that can’t be delivered. It’s a subtle situation may have been brought in to increase urgency and delivery so any goals you agree need to be ambitious but achievable.

when you arrive

Never make the mistake of joining with a “here’s the tell me about the problem” approach. In your first week interim consulting try and meet as many people in the team as possible. It’s important for you to get to know the team, and them to get to know you, so scheduling 30 minute interviews with each team member to ask the sort of questions below will very quickly create a picture of what you’re walking into.


Interview Questions
1. Are you enjoying it here at the moment? 2. What are our key responsibilities as a team do you think? 3. As a team, what do we do well do you think? 4. What do we need to get better at? 5. Who are our stars? 6. Does anyone in the team need help to be more successful? 7. How could we get more customer outcome focused? 8. How could we move faster? 9. Would you recommend working here to a friend? 10. What three things would you do if you were me? 11. Anything else we should talk about?

week one

After the interviews an interesting exercise is to allocate any team member mentioned as a “star” in question 5. a +1 and any struggling team member mentioned in 6. a -1. Adding up all the scores will give a quick but surprisingly accurate team talent map. Question 9. can also be used create a quick team “NPS” score. At GRO.TEAM we like to end the first week of a new interim consulting assignment with a “Week One Playback” with the person that sponsored the appointment. It’s a great opportunity to discuss the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) found so far and calibrate it against what the sponsor wants.

Be of value

Growth Services

add value

in any way you can
Remember to add value to your interim consulting client in any way you can as well. It’s not just about the goals. Doing things like sharing their job postings on LinkedIn, mentioning them in any interviews you do, retweeting their tweets, liking their Facebook page, and so on, all help. Don’t “penny pinch” the client either. What “goes around comes around” so if taking a phone call or sending a quick email in non-client chargeable time helps solve a problem or keep momentum up then do it. You’ll be judged on your impact at the end of the day.

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The last thing to remember is

…to know when to move on
You know when you’ve achieved your interim consulting goals or hit the diminishing returns point on the value curve. Don’t wait to be replaced. Proactively suggest a new way to add value to the client if one is appropriate, or move on to your next interim consulting challenge with another successful engagement under your belt.

be of value

so there you have it
To make s success of interim consulting you need to chose the right role, deliver as much value as you can, and then move on as soon as you’ve delivered the necessary business impact. We summarise it at GRO.TEAM with our motto of “Be Of Value”. If you do that at all times you will be successful. Interim consulting be for everyone but if you get your sense of accomplishment from delivering business impact and enjoy variety and challenge then maybe it’s for you?

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