In today’s dynamic business world, companies are often facing unforeseen challenges that require additional expertise to overcome successfully. That’s where transition managers usually come in. These experienced professionals meet a need for responsiveness and flexibility. As management experts, they are ready to take on temporary challenges and guide your company to new heights. On one condition: you have o find the right person.
Meeting specific challenges, driving change or filling vacant management positions… Transition managers can be used in a variety of situations. In all cases, they allow you to benefit from the expertise of experienced managers over a limited period of time.
However, as the market evolves, the number of transition managers is growing strongly. The profiles are varied and increasingly specialized. In this infinite ocean, it’s legitimate to ask: how do you spot the ideal professional? Aymeric Bouffard, transition management expert at Fitch Bennett Partners, offers you his advice.
Step 1: Write a mission statement before you start the selection process
Before you begin your selection process, it’s important to clarify and write down in black and white the company’s needs in their entirety: from the context, through the issues at stake, to the objectives. This is exactly the role of the engagement letter.
This document describes the nature and conditions of the assignment. It is useful when several internal people are working on the project, because it ensures that the main objective is not lost sight of. It can also seal the alliance between the company and the transition manager. In this case, it will act as a point of support between the two parties.
Note: There is no legal obligation, either in the Labour Code or in the law, forcing a client to draw up an engagement letter. However, it is recommended as a bulwark against any friction or misunderstanding that may arise. A preventive measure that ensures a harmonious and profitable relationship for all parties concerned.
A number of questions will help formalise this engagement letter:
The transition manager
- Define the skills and qualifications required and the posture to adopt to carry out the assignments.
- Can a beginner do it or is an expert needed? Specify the number of years’ experience.
- Does he or she need to be able to speak several languages?
- How long do you need him/her for?
- Will he/she have to carry out any specific assignments (Reporting, Management, Member of the management committee? Delegation of powers? Employee status to be able to exchange with trade union organisations…)?
- Does your request require detailed knowledge of your business sector?
The resources you make available to the transition manager
- Depending on his support methodology, does he need any resources in particular?
- Describing the resources you make available to him will enable the professional to project himself.
- Will he act alone or will he be accompanied?
You may also be interested in this article: Welcoming the transition manager : a step to be taken with care
- Specify the fees
- Don’t forget to take all the criteria into account (the difficulty of the assignment, its duration, the professional’s experience, the proposed methodology, etc.).
Step 2: Selecting the transition manager
Choosing an transition manager is somewhat similar to selecting a candidate for a permanent contract. Confidentiality (signing a non-disclosure agreement), an in-depth interview to validate skills and achievements, discernment of personality and the taking of references are not to be overlooked once again at this stage. But while there are points in common between the selection of a candidate on a permanent contract and an transition manager, there are also important differences that need to be taken into account for a successful selection.
We wanted to explain the differences point by point so that you can take them into account when making your selection.
The major differences are :
In transition management, candidates must be available immediately, which implies a very specific mindset and posture.
The transition manager must be capable, in a short space of time, of carrying out a diagnosis and proposing a plan of action which, if approved, will be implemented. This implies a high level of experience adapted to the context and challenges of the assignment. The transition manager will be deliberately “oversized” to enable him to have the expected impact within a given timeframe.
The selection process:
Bearing in mind that there is often a sense of urgency, that the assignment has a fixed duration and that the manager selected is “oversized”, it is advisable to opt for a short selection process, with two or three interviews.
Frequently, transition managers are asked to take on assignments which, in the end, do not come to fruition. For example, assignments that are cancelled, a solution found internally, a budget problem, another candidate selected, etc. Given this level of uncertainty, when the transition manager has a choice between several assignments – which is often the case – he will tend to favour the client who first confirms his interest. It is for this reason that it is highly advisable to have an appropriate selection process to optimise the chances of retaining the transition manager you wish to work with.