From Interim to Author – Life after Interim Management

We hope to provide wise counsel to many who are thinking of entering the Interim market place but what of those that leave it? Some return to permanent employment, others take on a portfolio of advisory roles and a few are fortunate to retire. 

We asked Alasdair Drysdale, a seasoned and respected Executive Interim Manager what inspired him to write books on his experience as an Interim Manager. His latest, The Interim Director: 40 Projects in the Wilderness, is Published by Management Books 2000.

Why did you write The Interim Director, more than two years after you’d retired? 


It occurred to me that I’d been extraordinarily lucky as an interim, on several counts:  

  1. The group for whom I was previously the financial director had been taken over by a much larger group which was so badly managed that I felt that there ought to be some guidance available to prevent or at least caution others against following such a bad example
  2. When I left the group without a job to go to, I found that some recruitment professionals, Doug Baird the most prominent, encouraging and entrepreneurial amongst them, were becoming increasingly aware of the potential and value in providing temporary staff at high level as well as at clerical level
  3. As I was quite widely experienced, with a wife who had several enterprises of her own, I was in a position wherein it was relatively easy to accept one-off assignments while I was looking for a permanent post 

Bit-by-bit the lure of a permanent job began to fade, until I realised that I had almost forgotten about it, so enjoyable and rewarding was the project life becoming. 

Why should I tie myself down to a single regular role when I could enjoy a variety of tasks in many industries in many places? The answer was an obvious no-brainer, and since I have no brain, I just went where the work was, and carried on for two decades until I decided that I had reached a good stopping-point. 

The fact that I’d completed 40 assignments only dawned on me later. I began to realise that by being in the right place at the right time, I had experienced a very wide variety of tasks in many industries in a multi-national range of geographical and legal environments. The thought that all of that experience would be rapidly dissipated until it no longer existed began to gall me, so I decided to put it into a book.

Having previously written The Financial Controller, which has turned out to be a big seller and is still going strong (by its nature, it won’t go out-of-date), I found it relatively easy to produce The Interim Director, although it is written in a very different (conversational) style. The book charts the many lumps and bumps of 40 projects of many varieties in a host of industries across 24 countries over 20 years. My publisher has contributed many ideas, which have resulted in the book being mainly a management book, but also partly a travelogue and a working biography.

I greatly enjoyed my interim projects despite the many problems and diversions along the way, and I hope that readers of the book will share my enjoyment… and avoid most of my pitfalls!  

What inspired you to enter the Interim Market place? Was it planning, luck or necessity? Please share your stories with others in our interim community by commenting below or contact David Dagger



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