My job as an interim manager is to deliver improved cash flow

Interim Manager Bjørn Gunnar Aase wants to disprove a couple of management myths: That it takes a long time to get an experienced manager in place and that using interim management means incurring additional costs.

The Vestfold native started his career in the construction industry by wheeling rock dust and building balconies with his mates during the summer. Today the 49-year old is a structural engineer holding a degree in economics and certified as a quality auditor and, not least, an interim manager. A few weeks back he completed his most recent interim management assignment for which he had been brought in to get a project back on track in just three months. He succeeded and the assignment concluded at the end of the year.

Interim management – an investment, not a cost

One of the myths Aase wishes to dispel is that interim management costs money:

"Many believe that they will incur additional costs by hiring an interim manager. But if it is an additional cost then I have not done my job. As with all investment projects you will first need to invest in order to collect returns through improved cash flow, be that through increased revenue or lower costs."

Many organisations are not aware of the options available to them

After many years in commercial management Aase finds that a fair few organisations are unaware that they can solve urgent management needs in other ways than through internal transfers:

"Fires are often put out by asking the usual question: 'Should we go with Per in the warehouse or Trond from finance?' This is an easy but often much worse solution than accessing external help from an interim manager for a brief period of time."

Aase believes that the focus on the organisation is often damaging:

"Rather than looking at the task that needs to be solved the emphasis ends up on ensuring that the person is affiliated with the company and that they are familiar with the "unique" culture. Many also believe that it takes six months to bring an external individual on board whilst the reality is that an interim manager can be in place in just a few days and that they will be able to get stuck in from day one."

Extracting unreleased potential

As an interim manager, Bjørn Gunnar's speciality is providing companies with overall strategic assistance within business development and implementation and optimal use of management and quality systems. He identifies a major need in the market for bringing in neutral third parties who can help companies extract more of their unreleased potential.

"Many companies have excellent systems but are unable to see the improvement potential that can be found in the implementation of excellent procedures and ensuring that all users take ownership of the systems. If you feel that the system is like having a stone in your shoe, you are either using the wrong system or you have communicated it in the wrong way. In many companies there can also be great potential to extract when it comes to change management in projects, simply by charging for what you do and achieving effects in the form of a 15-20 percent increase in cash flow," Aase concludes.