Previous Article Next Article A day in the life of Mike SandersonOn 26 Mar 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Myday begins early. I tend to work long hours – usually from about 8am to 8pm. Aswith many of my assignments, I am based away from home, so during the week Ilive out of a suitcase.Mypresent assignment is acting projects director for rail operator GNER where Ihave pulled together a projects team. This group of people, selected fromacross all areas of the business, is charged with delivering the buildings,construction and train fleet development work as part of the franchiseagreement. Although I am acting in a consultancy capacity, I am attending theboard meetings. Mybackground is engineering. I have a degree in mechanical engineering, an MSc inmarketing and an MBA from Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania, where Imajored with distinction in multinational planning. I am also a fluent Frenchspeaker and writer, recently acting as deputy programme director forThomson-CSF in Thales, Paris for the New Athens International Airport – a mostchallenging multi-cultural project. I was also head of projects for Eurotunnel,another Franco-British project.Igot into management consultancy and interim management in 1991. After beinginvolved in the fourth company turnaround as managing director since I had comeback from the US in 1980, I decided to set up my own consultancy – StrategicManagement – with an HR specialist and lawyer, with the idea of becominginvolved with business turnarounds. Aside from one small project, most of thework has been interim and advice work.Asan engineer with considerable marketing and business planning experience, Iview myself as a business consultant who implements. This means I get involvedin projects where I am asked to look at the organisation, regroup various teamsand spearhead the actual implementation of that reorganisation and achieveresults in a short time. Ihave been on my current assignment for five months, and it will certainlycontinue for another month and a half, and possibly another three or four. Theobjective is to find a permanent replacement, because this is a job that didn’texist before. This is often the case with the work I do – I don’t come in toreplace anybody but to create something new and develop a new approach or a newdivision. Forexample, a few years ago, I was projects director in a joint venturepartnership between Lucas aerospace and the Indonesian government. I created abusiness plan in conjunction with Lucas directors and their Indonesian businesspartners. After a period of negotiation and legal agreement, I acted as thefirst general manager of the company for three months to start up the company. Howeverchallenging and absorbing the project, I am never interested in staying on fora longer time. Essentially I am a consultant who gets involved in theimplementation of advice and the creation of that process, and once I getthings started I want to move on to other things. Everyorganisation is different, but there are common threads, and that is often thepeople. There tend to be certain behavioural patterns. Some people are cooperativeand some are not. Some are willing to see change and some are not. This meansthe essential qualities for an interim are to be confident and extremelydiplomatic.Whena contract is due to finish, I getready for the next post. I like to work all the time, aside from holidays. Somepeople are quite happy to work three months here or there, but I don’t needthat kind of lifestyle. I don’t normally like to have a break betweenassignments of more than a few weeks, if possible, or more than say a month.And even when I am waiting for an assignment, I am always extremely active inmarketing myself, and my firm, to other people. Ihave a database of clients, of prospective client companies and of the interimagencies. I also have a database of banks, management consulting firms,accountants and venture capital firms. Periodically (usually between three andsix months) I do a mail shot of anupdate of my client list and the projects I have undertaken. In this way I cankeep people informed of where I am and what I am doing and find out whatopportunities they have available.Whatis satisfying about consultancy and interim management is the ability to comeinto a company, hit the ground running (as you are expected as an interim),start to move things along, design new structures, rearrange and organise –and, of course, get a result.