Understanding interim rates
Putting interim managers into tiers is difficult, as the scope of their work defies pigeon-holing into neat compartments. Yet interims often ask how they might progress into ‘the next bracket’ of assignments, so it’s useful to understand what those brackets might be. Day rate is the easiest way to define the tiers but this varies greatly across industries and functions.
??450 ??650 per day
At this level, I would class an interim as ‘junior’, although that refers to your position comparative to other interims, not your organisational level, which would be ‘senior’. At this level, you typically provide the horsepower needed to get things done. You’re primarily executional, focusing on implementation and applying your specialist experience and knowledge to drive projects or initiatives forward with a hands-on, head-down approach. There are many project management interims at this level, combining the ability to plan with the drive and process-focus to deliver. You’ll understand and appreciate the big picture, but your attention is typically concentrated on a specific corner of an organisation where your skills have the most impact. When you lead, it’s typically by example.
Moving up: Seek out opportunities with more strategic and leadership responsibility. It can be difficult to secure a new assignment that promises that step up, but once you’ve proven yourself within an existing interim role, you might be able to push for that next level of experience that will move you up a tier.
??650 ??950 per day
You’ve moved from implementation to a more strategic capacity. You’re often brought in to lead programmes, projects or teams, bringing an understanding of what should happen from a strategic point of view. You’re an exceptional stakeholder manager, with the ability to engage at all levels of the organisation and the capacity and strength to make tough, evidence-based decisions. You’re a compelling leader, with a focus on imparting your knowledge to incumbent employees and leaving a legacy of value rather than building dependency. You will also have a track record of making measurable impact.
Moving up: There’s no substitute for ‘runs on the board’. You need to showcase consecutive assignments where you’ve delivered exceptional results from a technical point of view and shown strong and accurate leadership at executive level. Not every interim can make it to the top tier: it’s for elite performers with that rare combination of acute business acumen, exemplary stakeholder management skills and the ability to define and drive strategy.
??950+ per day
At this level, interims are powerful change agents. You’re typically brought in when large-scale change is needed, to solve a problem or capitalise on a business-level opportunity. You operate at director level, bringing the board-level experience required to make an impact at the top. You will have a purely strategic focus, setting direction for others to follow and making business-critical decisions that impact the whole organisation. While you’re an exceptional stakeholder manager, you will typically have fewer stakeholder contacts than the level below, since you don’t reach down into implementation as much. In short, you are an incredibly impressive, compelling business leader, hanging your hat on top and bottom line results.