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Interim Management – Ingo Schaffer in an interview:
The employment of an external “manager” has increasingly become recognized in the IT / CE industry.
During the past 6 years, you several times successfully led companies from different starting points to success as an interim manager.
When is “an outsider” more suitable for the job than the own management?
Ingo Schaffer: There have been several situations where I was working as an interim manager . Mainly, fast reaction is required.
Mostly, my services are required in connection with business development projects.
My team and I have then brought the company back on track and assigned it to a permanent management.
For an existing management it is often difficult to suddenly change course due to the subjective perspective. Therefore, in times of crisis, it makes sense to entrust an external management.
Thereafter, the entrepreneur may perform and lead the company without any previous impacts.
In business development, especially with regard to companies with a foreign parent company, it depends on the existing structures, processes and guidelines to derive a successful “Go to Market” Strategy.
Which requirements must an Interim Manager fulfill in order to successfully initiate and implement change processes or business development?
Ingo Schaffer: The requirements are high. It requires years of experience in various management positions and companies.
You must be a generalist with high assertiveness. In addition, empathy, emotional intelligence and social skills are needed
to quickly adapt the new conditions and to gain the trust of the people.
Cost management is as important as creating new structures, processes and guidelines in order to be successful in the long term.
In addition, professional qualification is required. Strategy and market skills, teamwork and management skills are particularly crucial.
Especially with international companies, it is important to have a keen sense and empathy. I also believe that life experience is important;you should have experienced in different situations.
How do you deal with an interim management project in practice?
Ingo Schaffer: There is no master plan, as every company, its employees and the economic environment are different.
I draw my experience from many years of activity in the management of large companies and start-up companies in the IT / Consumer Electronics / Photo industry as well as numerous successful interim management projects. Key points include the following:
– The business plan should be established with the team.
– A certain consensus is helpful, but some decisions must be taken also with opposition.
– For each project, make sure that everyone pursues the same goal.
– Therefore the interim manager must know the general business processes.
– Short-term measures should not jeopardize medium-term success.
Often, however, people only play with numbers. This may incapacitate a company permanently.
It is impossible to make business with analysis, numbers and statistics only! They have a subordinate function.
At the end, business will be done between people!
Do you think this task is more difficult than developing a concept and leave?
Ingo Schaffer: You mean like a business consultant?I am a pragmatist, meaning I am committed to the concept which I develop with the company owner; I consider it feasible and promising and also implement it myself. This is perhaps the biggest difference between a consultant and an interim manager.
An interim manager, same as every leader, should work closely with the employees.
I do love this job – I am looking forward to the challenge – that is the only way to be successful!