“We live in a transitional period with profound disruptions. It's not just a technological one Transformation, but a social and cultural one – and it changes our thinking, that Guide and management, ”says Prof. Dr. Bernhard von Mutius, a future thinker at the HPI School of Design Thinking. But just that change in the head is often difficult. How interim managers can set new impulses in this context.

Interim Management

Digital transformation means organizational change

cloudTechnology, Internet of Things or Big Data Analytics: Many companies still believe that they can manage the digital transformation simply by introducing modern tools. However, networking technologies and new apps, devices and systems are at best a tool in digital change. In truth, for companies, digital transformation primarily means a change in their entirety Organization, their thinking and working. The flexible, often only project-related cooperation Team-, Company– and across industry boundaries, they are faced with ever-increasing challenges. Ultimately, this also requires completely new forms of cooperation.

Many corporate leaders feel intuitively that traditional management models have had their day. This applies in particular to long-established, (still) successful corporations. Then Boy, agile start-ups from Silicon Valley or Silicon Allee are now hijacking almost everyone as aggressive competitors Industries - from the telecommunications sector to the automotive industry to the increasingly competitive healthcare industry. The advantage of the new digital attackers: agile, lean working using modern Methods such as design thinking or rapid prototyping is part of their DNA. They simply do not need a transformation - because they have always been digital.

Interim managers are not just fire extinguishers

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The pressure on established companies will continue to increase because we do not know what is right in this unstable situation. The "new" is not there yet - and the "old" is still there because we are in a transitional situation. Disruptive thinking becomes for the future Success under the new industrial Revolution therefore a survival factor - not only as a method, but above all in the management floors.

But what does that mean for company leaders who are in the old World have proven, but realize that their success is stagnating? For classic restructurings, interim managers are usually in demand, who are often carefully selected by interim management providers for special customer challenges. In many different projects, these experts have repeatedly had to prove that they are a company in trouble fast and for sure can get a company back on track.

 6 tips for the future of work

In order to successfully influence and implement digital changes in companies, interim managers can accelerate this transformation process effectively. Their focus is not on the optimization of production processes or portfolio adjustments, a cliché with which Interim Manager often connects.

Rather, they can help establish exactly the disruptive leadership culture that is so necessary for the successful change in digital transformation. What makes these managers stand out, what does it matter, and how can they support corporate executives in the digital world? Six hypotheses how interim managers can successfully accompany digital transformation.

  1. Interim managers for digital transformation focus on HR management. They understand complex organizational contexts and can bring their experiences from different cultural change projects contextually and purposefully.
  2. You work as a trusted advisor on an equal footing with the decision-makers. They are both sparring partners for the transformation and an active implementer. You have a role as a coach and as an operational manager who can implement agile leadership principles with the employees in the organization.
  3. As self-employed entrepreneurs, they are independent consultants who do not have to pursue policies on their own behalf. They have no past and no future in the company and therefore can concentrate with their energy on their demanding task.
  4. Interim managers know unstable company situations from their own experience in their projects. Therefore, they quickly make effective decisions and, in addition to their technical competence, have the ability to successfully prevail over preventers and preservers in difficult business situations. They have a high degree of personal responsibility and can work together with all personalities within the organization in a target-oriented and solution-oriented manner.
  5. They are safe in dealing with insecurity. Through creativity and the use of knowledge, they are able to develop and implement jointly effective solutions within their internal and external networks.
  6. They help decision-makers to evolve as disruptive leaders by providing a healthy balance between deterministic, transactional, and charismatic, transformative leadership in the process of change.


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Due to their profession, interim managers are constantly exposed to new market changes in their assignments. They are knowledge workers for the challenges of Future and have internalized project-specific work in constantly changing corporate contexts over many years. Companies in particular that still need a fresh cell cure as part of the digital transformation should therefore seriously consider the use of an interim manager.

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