Transition Management: Making Change Happen


Interim management, also known as “change management”, involves supporting a company’s transformation during a transition phase. Generally, experienced managers are temporarily brought in to manage the situation: major changes linked, for example, to a merger (reorganization of teams, change of process…), lead specific projects (digitalization…) or manage a crisis situation. This practice offers flexibility and expertise, enabling companies to benefit quickly from the skills they need without having to make a long-term commitment.


In today’s fast-moving entrepreneurial landscape, interim management offers an agile solution to immediate challenges. It helps companies to adapt and remain competitive in a constantly changing environment. When to use interim management, what are the keys to a successful transition and what are the roles of the interim manager? That’s what we’re going to develop in this article.

History of interim management

Origins and development


Interim management emerged in the 1970s in the USA, in response to the need to deal with periods of crisis or rapid change within companies. Initially focused on specific restructuring assignments, it quickly expanded to include areas such as complex project management and organizational problem-solving.


Comparison with traditional management models

Unlike traditional, long-term management, interim management is characterized by its temporary, targeted nature. Interim managers are recruited for defined assignments, providing specialized expertise to solve immediate problems, before moving on to other assignments or giving way to reinforced internal management.

The flexibility of interim management offers a significant advantage over traditional management, particularly in an environment characterized by rapid change. Interim managers bring an external perspective, rapid adaptability and varied experience, enabling companies to adjust effectively without the constraints associated with long-term commitments. Interim management has thus established itself as an agile response to changing business needs, complementing the more conventional model of traditional management.


When is interim management right for you?

Typical scenarios

The use of interim management makes sense in a variety of scenarios, generally characterized by complex challenges, rapid change or periods of crisis. One of the contexts in which this approach can be applied is organizational restructuring. When companies are faced with major transformations, such as mergers, acquisitions or strategic changes, interim managers can provide their expertise to manage the transition, ensuring effective implementation and rapid adaptation.

Crisis situations are another area in which interim management can intervene. In the event of financial difficulties, major disruptions or sudden executive departures, interim managers can be mobilized urgently to stabilize the situation, identify critical issues and implement corrective measures.

Complex projects are also ideal opportunities for interim management. Whether launching an innovative product, implementing a new technology or managing significant operational changes, interim managers can provide the expertise needed to ensure the success of these initiatives, often with a rapid, pragmatic approach.

The departure of a key employee such as the HR Director can also be the trigger for recruiting an interim manager, who will act as a bridge manager, maintaining operations until a new HR Director can be recruited. The relay manager’s role is to ensure the transition between the departure of a key employee and the arrival of his or her successor, so that recruitment can proceed smoothly and without haste. It also happens that the relay manager ends up being hired.


The benefits of interim management in critical situations

The advantages of interim management in these situations are manifold. First of all, speed of response is a major asset. Interim managers can be up and running in a matter of days, offering crucial responsiveness when immediate action is required. What’s more, their specific expertise enables them to quickly pinpoint problems, propose appropriate solutions and ensure a smooth transition.

The temporary approach of interim management also offers valuable flexibility. Companies can benefit from specialized skills without making long-term commitments, which is particularly useful when it’s difficult to predict the exact duration of requirements and to estimate future needs, which will undoubtedly differ from current requirements. In addition, interim managers often bring an external perspective, encouraging innovation and cultural change within the organization.

In short, interim management is an appropriate solution when agility, specific expertise and rapid intervention are required to overcome critical challenges, whether during restructuring, crisis or complex projects.

paper boats guided by a leader


The Keys to a Successful Transition

The success of a transition, whether linked to a restructuring, a crisis or a complex project, rests on several fundamental keys, from the selection of the transition manager to the planning and implementation of the process.

Selecting the right interim manager

First and foremost
selecting the right interim manager
is crucial. It’s essential to choose a professional with specific expertise to match the needs of the situation. This means clearly defining the skills required, both technical and behavioral. A good interim manager must have a track record of success in similar assignments, a thorough understanding of the business sector and the leadership skills to mobilize teams.

Transparency and communication are key elements in transition planning. Before the start of the assignment, it is imperative to clearly share objectives, expectations and success criteria with the interim manager. Creating a detailed plan, including key milestones, performance indicators and timelines, is essential. It is also vital to involve internal stakeholders to ensure a common understanding of the issues and gain their support.

Strategic planning and implementation

The implementation phase of the transition requires careful coordination. The interim manager must work closely with internal teams, establishing clear communication channels and fostering collaboration. He must draw up a complete transition plan, indicating the objectives, deadlines and resources required. Effective change management means putting in place regular evaluation mechanisms to adjust the plan if necessary. Monitoring progress, resolving problems quickly and adapting to feedback are critical aspects of this stage.

Cultural integration is an often overlooked but vital dimension. The interim manager must understand the existing organizational culture, respect the company’s values and work harmoniously with team members. It may be necessary to make gradual adjustments rather than radical changes to facilitate a smooth transition. The manager must win the support of existing teams and defuse any resistance.

Flexibility and adaptability are necessary virtues throughout the process. Adjustments may be necessary as circumstances change. It is also crucial to ensure an efficient handover at the end of the assignment, enabling a smooth transition to in-house management. Making yourself “dispensable” and ensuring the transition to a sustainable organization must be the interim manager’s objective from the outset.

In conclusion, the keys to a successful transition lie in the careful selection of the interim manager, transparent and detailed planning, and coordinated, adaptive and integrated implementation. Alignment of objectives, effective communication and collaborative management are the cornerstones of this complex process, guaranteeing a successful and sustainable transition.

Transition Manager roles and responsibilities

Leadership and team management

Leadership lies at the heart of the interim manager’s role. He must inspire and motivate the team, which is often faced with complex challenges. By establishing a clear vision, communicating transparently and leading by example, the interim manager mobilizes team members around common goals. He must also be able to manage team dynamics, fostering collaboration, trust and productivity.

Team management is an essential component. The interim manager must identify individual skills within the team, allocate resources efficiently and define clear roles. He or she must be able to quickly assess the strengths and weaknesses of the existing team and, if necessary, recruit new members to reinforce the skills required for mission success.

An interim manager’s versatility and adaptability are essential assets for success in constantly changing and often demanding environments.

Crisis management and decision-making

In crisis situations, the interim manager’s ability to make rapid, well-informed decisions is crucial. He must be resilient in the face of uncertainty, develop emergency action plans and lead the team with confidence to overcome obstacles. Crisis management also involves effective communication with all stakeholders, instilling confidence and ensuring transparency in the actions taken.

Decision-making is therefore a key skill. The interim manager must quickly assess situations, analyze available data and choose the best course of action. This often means making tough decisions under tight deadlines, weighing up the risks and rewards.

In addition to these main roles, the interim manager must also be a facilitator of change. He must manage the transition in such a way as to minimize resistance and promote acceptance of the changes within the organization. Managing relationships with stakeholders, both internal and external, is crucial to ensuring a successful transition.

letter game between currency and luck

Challenges of Interim Management

Managing resistance to change

Managing resistance to change is one of the major challenges facing interim managers. Team members may initially perceive the interim manager as a disruptive element, generating apprehension and stress. Transparent communication, creating a shared vision and proactively managing employee concerns are essential to mitigating resistance. The interim manager must demonstrate greater empathy, involve employees in the change process and clearly explain the long-term benefits. By involving employees, they feel valued, listened to and understood, and are more likely to accept change.

To help employees accept change, it is sometimes necessary to provide them with training or new equipment to help them through the transition and prepare them for the new missions or tasks they will have to perform.

Maintaining business continuity

Maintaining operational continuity is another crucial challenge for the interim manager. During the transition, it is imperative to minimize interruptions and ensure that day-to-day operations continue to run smoothly to avoid any negative impact on productivity. The interim manager must therefore adapt the allocation of resources in order to manage change while maintaining current operations.

Consolidating and sustaining change

Finally, the ultimate challenge for the interim manager is to consolidate the change in order to make it sustainable within the organization. Often, the positive results achieved during the transition assignment need to be consolidated to ensure lasting transformation. To achieve this, the interim manager must set up long-term monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, train teams in new working methods and ensure that the changes made are integrated into the organizational culture. This requires ongoing commitment and persistent communication to maintain the momentum of change and anchor new practices in the long term. The interim manager will be able to ensure a smooth handover by relying on the managers, any new resources he has recruited and the employees who have actively contributed to setting up the transition.

Sas study: success in interim management

At Boost’RH, our
HR interim managers
can intervene in your companies, whatever your issues: crisis management, HR emergencies, HR change management.

For example, we worked with a healthcare company in the midst of a growth crisis. From 20 employees, a new strategic site was to welcome 200 in 18 months. We therefore provided the company with an experienced interim HR manager, for a period of 12 months.

This experienced interim HR manager, with in-depth knowledge of the sector, was able to manage the recruitment and integration of employees, as well as the HR issues associated with this growth. Before his departure, he made sure to recruit and train an HR team with a permanent HR manager to ensure the long-term future of the site’s HR department.

The client was able to benefit from the expertise and knowledge of this transitional HRD to drive its growth, with the assurance of having an operational resource within a few days.


Interim management is proving to be an agile and effective response to the changing challenges of today’s businesses. Interim managers provide expertise, flexibility and leadership to solve crucial problems. Although faced with challenges such as resistance to change and the sustainability of transformations, interim management remains an essential response for leading sustainable organizational transitions.

For the future, we can anticipate an increase in demand for interim managers, particularly with the rapid evolution of global markets, massive digitalization and the integration of artificial intelligence in more and more fields.

Are you looking for an interim or bridge manager?

Delphine P, HR Business Partner at Boost'RH Groupe

Delphine P

“According to our expert, the success of an interim assignment depends on the right match between the company’s needs and the chosen interim manager. As a general rule, when companies call on the services of an interim manager, they don’t yet know what the outcome of the reorganization will be, and therefore what profile to recruit over the long term. That’s why it’s a good idea to use an external interim manager. First of all, thanks to their experience, interim managers will be up and running very quickly. They’ll be able to adapt immediately to a transition situation, making themselves dispensable in the end.

This notion of “dispensability” is key to the success of the interim assignment, since in essence the interim manager intervenes to temporarily fill a gap. He will give advice and pass on knowledge, with the aim of making the customer autonomous and operational after his departure.

Calling in an external interim manager makes it possible to lead change without having to terminate a contract, and to manage a potentially complex exit, while keeping costs under control during the transition. It’s important to bear in mind that the profile required in the long term will certainly not be the same as that of the interim manager.”

To sum up

En 3 Questions

  • What is interim management?

    Interim management is a management strategy in which highly qualified professionals, known as interim managers, are temporarily integrated into an organization to resolve crisis situations, lead specific projects or facilitate major changes. Their mission is to provide cutting-edge expertise, operational agility and strategic leadership to ensure a successful transition before handing over to stronger in-house management. This approach offers flexibility and reactivity, enabling companies to benefit quickly from the skills they need without having to make long-term commitments.

  • What are the key stages in change management?

    Successful change management involves several key stages:

    • Analysis and understanding Assess the need for change, identify stakeholders and understand the implications for the organization.
    • Communication Communication: develop clear communication on the reasons for change, its objectives and expected benefits, to mobilize employee support and involve them in the change process.
    • Planning Planning: draw up a detailed plan including specific stages, necessary resources and deadlines.
    • Training Training: provide adequate training to equip employees with the skills needed to operate in the new context.
    • Progressive implementation Progressive implementation: roll out change gradually, focusing on initial successes to build confidence.
    • Monitoring and adjustment Establish monitoring mechanisms to assess progress, gather feedback and adjust the strategy if necessary.
  • Why use an external interim manager?

    There are several reasons for using an external interim manager:

    • Benefit from specialized expertise, rapidly operational The experienced interim manager has the specific skills and in-depth experience needed to meet specific challenges or manage urgent situations.
    • Maintain financial flexibility This solution enables companies to benefit from highly qualified skills without incurring the long-term costs associated with hiring a permanent executive.