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MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT, INTERIM MANAGER, CONTRACTOR OR PROJECT MANAGER

What are the differences

You would have definitely heard all of these titles, but what do they actually mean and how do these roles differ from each other. Executive Interim Manager is still a fairly new term on the CEE market, which quite often leads to incorrect interpretations. Contractors, consultants and project managers have been and inherent part of the business for much longer, which is why their roles are generally better understood. Let’s start with the first three and then we will explain The key differences.

Management Consultant

Management Consultants primarily focus on improving organisational performance by analysing the existing challenges and developing plans for improvement. They employ well-educated, talented experts with good analytical thinking. Clients can benefit from their extensive bench-marking data, review of market practices, view across your industry and experience from similar projects. The cost of their work, especially from the market leading professional services organisations, can be quite high.

Contractor

Contractor will have technical or other specialist skills and will have the ability to deliver complex projects quickly, on budget and to specification. They are more tactically focused than strategic and are able to follow clear project briefs, workflows and ready-made tasks rather than to design a programme of work from scratch. Many have the ability to deliver complex projects and adapt quickly to a variety of cultures.

Project Manager

Project Managers have been present on the market for a long time, usually responsible for the implementation of construction, engineering, IT & telecommunications projects. Project manager’s role is primarily focused on planning, delegating and overlooking the work of the project team and overall monitoring, so that set goals, based on specific criteria, are met within the specified time scale and budget.

Competent project manager understands all individual project stages, knows how to plan and supervise them, as well as ensure quality and risk management throughout the implementation. They will also regularly report to the designated project committee.

Interim Manager

Executive Interim Manager is a senior executive person with high qualifications and extensive professional experience gained from several high-level management positions, who can be engaged by a company within days for a defined period of time to solve a specific business problem or lead the company through transformation.

An interim manager can secure a business for the period of time needed to find the right candidate who will be employed permanently.

Neither the management consultant nor the project manager would fulfil this role in such a situation.

So which one to engage ? 

While it can be said that an executive interim manager is a management consultant to some extent, the consultant is not an interim manager.

To some extent, an interim manager is also a project manager (in the assignments, when his role is to implement a specific project, process, change or other transformation in the company employing him).

An interim manager may have project management experience, but the scope of the executive interim manager’s role is much broader and has a much higher level of responsibility. The project manager is expected to have experience in project management, not in business matter.

Management consultants are usually tasked to prepare and propose solutions, but are rarely involved in the implementation process. Most of them lack external industry experience or understand what it takes to put theory into practice.

Unlike Executive interim managers, management consultants work for their employer not for you and are often incentivised to cross sell other services you may not need.

Executive Interim manager is a strategist, analyst, planner, coach, trainer and objectives-focused implementer. They are loyal to your business needs and objectives and works hand-in-hand with your team. Interim manager will always strive to achieve the set goals within the designated time and with cost effectiveness in mind as his/her market reputation is of great importance for winning next assignments. Your starting point for deciding whether you appoint a Management Consultant, Contractor, Project Manager or an Executive Interim Manager should be determined by your firm’s:
  • nature of the assignment / problem you need solving
  • level of support you expect this person to demand of you
  • risk appetite
  • available budget
You may choose a blend of all options or have a preference, but whatever it, is you need to consider this decision carefully.

    EIM Executive Interim Managers
    are Strategists and Implementers

    Management Consultant vs Interim Manager vs Project Manager vs Contractor

    Executive Interim Manager

    Approach

    • Organised, adaptable, results driven,
    • Thrives on change, solving business problems and challenges,
    • Has chosen Interim Management as a distinct career choice,
    • Results-driven approach based on long-standing experience of delivering solutions.

    Skills & Experience

    • Experience as CEO, President, Entrepreneur, Executive Director or Senior Manager,
    • Reasonably overqualified for the assignment,
    • Cross-sector and international experience,
    • Ability to transfer best practice.

    Responsibility

    • Normally given full responsibility for the assignment, often with budgetary ownership.

    Reporting

    • Reports to and maintains the overall relationship with the client,
    • Works with, and as part of, the company’s management team
    • Leaves a legacy.

    Contractor

    Approach

    • Delivers a project or services based on their specific skills and experience.

    Skills & Experience

    • Have niche, sector-specific and practical knowledge and experience from delivering previous contracts (usually doesn’t understand the full business case and doesn’t have experience working at very senior levels).

    Responsibility

    • Has responsibility to deliver a specific project or services under a written contract.

    Reporting

    • Reports to his firm and to the designated manager at the client firm at agreed milestones.

    Management Consultant

    Approach

    • Uses mainly standard inhouse approaches and methods,
    • Normally operates within one or two industry sector groups which may limit his knowledge.

    Skills & Experience

    • Usually choose to become a consultant at a younger age and complete extensive inhouse training to learn various analytical methods and tools,
    • Possess skills and know-how to analyse the company’s competitive position on the market and propose strategies for improvement.

    Responsibility

    • They advise on possible alternative strategies and implementation methods, but the implementation falls under the client’s responsibility.

    Reporting

    • Reports to the management consulting firm
    • As part of their assignment they will try to cross-sell other services the client may not necessarily need.

    Project Manager

    Approach

    • Uses one of the standards methods for managing projects, selected based on the client’s preference.

    Skills & Experience

    • Planning, delegating and monitoring of tasks,
    • Usually single-sector focused.

    Responsibility

    • Has responsibility to deliver a specific project according to a brief and requirements specified by the client, usually requires regular communication/ closer supervision.

    Reporting

    • Reports to the designated manager at the client firm at agreed milestones and on completion.
    We at EIM would be happy to support you by finding the right executive interim managers who, based on their diverse experience, can quickly take on the challenge and deliver rapid results. Thanks to our Nurtured Knowledge Community of reputable Executive Interim Managers, we can provide you with professionals who are experienced at very short notice and selected according to strict criteria.
    With us, you can expect exciting, hands-on, and intensive international assignments, drive forward future innovations and provide your own ideas for the success of your projects.
    We give our best when Clients need rapid solutions, transformation or out-performing results, anywhere in the world.

    Let’s talk about it together

    Bohuslav Lipovsky
    EIM Executive Interim Management CEE

    Together we can find the solution you are looking for

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