The life of an interim leader: quickly in and quickly out

In today’s business where change is the norm, an organisation with a loose structure may be the best idea. Tor Peter Barfod is just finishing off a three-month project where he was made redundant by the changes that took place. “That’s a good argument for hiring temporary managers,” says Barfod, who has already accepted a new position in another company. 

Like most interim managers, Tor Peter Barfod has solid management experience. With an MBA from the University of Strathclyde, he started as an advisor in the Ministry of Defence in 1991. Five years later he started an eight to nine year long career in the consulting industry, followed by nine years in various management positions in ISS. For the last two to three years, he has worked as an independent consultant, and this autumn he got his first interim management job for InterimLeder.

Tough competition for interim management jobs

“When I set up as self-employed, someone tipped me off about InterimLeder. I signed up, had an interview with them and started following their job offers. There are lots of qualified people in their database and the competition is tough, so I didn’t strike lucky with my first applications. That didn’t happen until October this year, when I got the position I’m in now,” says Barfod.

Hired by international technical contractors

In October 2015, Barfod was hired to solve a problem for an international technical contracting company. His task was to build up a new department.

“The company has three departments. The department I was responsible for was the smallest, but it was to be developed. My task was to specify an operational concept to clarify to the market what we provide. I’ve also been in charge of the budgeting process and the organisation of the department,” says Barfod.

Rapid changes

In the short time Barfod has been with the company, major changes have already taken place. Two divisions have been merged, and his role has become redundant. He has already been offered a job in another company and accepted it. However, he has clearly made his mark on the company:

“During my two to three months here, I’ve filled their leadership position and brought together the new department, taken it through the budgeting process and organised it so that it’s ready for start-up and operation in the New Year. I’m finishing the job on 18 December, and when you look at how short this job is, I think that makes a good argument for why it’s smart to hire a manager.

Success criteria for good interim management

We asked Barfod how he views the difference between being a permanent manager and joining a company as an interim manager.

“An interim management job is more of a project than regular administration. You know you have limited time and that you need to deliver as quickly as possible. To succeed, you must be very hands-on and operational. You must aim straight at your target and be very clear about the mandate you’ve been given,” concludes Barfod.