How Interim Managers Can Benefit Company Culture


Cultural change goes hand in hand with business transformation. One of the key benefits of interim managers is that they can approach and tackle problems with company culture.

Businesses are increasingly seeing the cultural benefits of interim management. Bringing in someone who has no interest in office politics can challenge the “we’ve always done it this way” mentality and help shift “groupthink”.

“Groupthink” is a term that was coined by social psychologist, Irving Janus in 1972. It describes the way groups make poor decisions because members have similar backgrounds and ignore outside opinions. Symptoms include:

  • Close-mindedness – tendency to disregard any challenges to the group’s mindset
  • Overestimation of the group – the group thinks it’s always right, so members do not question their thoughts or actions
  • Wariness of outsiders – view that those not in the group are “the enemy”
  • Pressure to conform – self-censorship of ideas that are different to the group consensus

How Interim Managers Change the Status Quo

An interim manager will only be in the organisation for a fixed period of time, so they are more willing to challenge its ways of doing things. They are not embedded in the culture as permanent staff are, therefore can speak and act objectively.

Interims can also contribute new ideas without being seen as a threat by the management team. They are not there to show off their skills and land a promotion, but manage a period of change. Ultimately, their goal is to make a positive, lasting impact then leave the business to succeed.
An interim manager’s experience across multiple organisations is also a great advantage. They are able to pick up on the culture quickly and see problems that should be fixed.

There have been many studies on the importance of company culture in transformation. No matter how effectively systems and processes are amended, if cultural issues are not addressed they are more likely to fail.

The Benefits of Interim Management for Delivering Cultural Change

Each interim manager will use their own techniques to tackle company culture. However, they will often look at the following points to prepare an action plan:

  • How ready senior management is to face the need for cultural change
  • The overall workforce’s ability to deal with change
  • The impact of the existing culture on the company’s customers – and what impact any proposed changes will have on the customer experience
  • To what extent brand identity is aligned with the existing culture
  • The values and behaviours  required to change the company culture
  • How to turn around the poor practice that has led to cultural problems
  • Change ambassadors – the people in the organisation who have the drive and interpersonal skills to explain the need for change and how it will be achieved By looking at these areas, interim managers are well placed to produce a strategy to trigger cultural change and bring measurable benefits.

Interim managers are well placed to produce a strategy to trigger cultural change and bring measurable benefits

In summary:

Company culture is exists for a reason: it instills camaraderie, teamwork and loyalty. When it comes to change however, groupthink and office politics may be holding an organisation back.

In these cases, interim management offers a neat solution. Interim managers have the ability to see objectively and offer fresh perspective without agenda. This, combined with their extensive experience in different organisations, allows them to put forward highly effective strategies. Their goal is your success.