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Interim Insights - Amanda Mays

by Shannon Walsh


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Amanda Mays is the Interim Operations and People Lead, East Midlands Devolution Programme. As an interim leader, she brings a wealth of experience and insight to the table. We sat down with Amanda to delve into her experiences and glean insights into her dynamic role. Here's what she had to share:

What led you to a career as an interim?
I started my own consultancy business to undertake both interim and consultancy assignments as I wanted to take control of my career in terms of flexibility and impact.  I had worked in the same sector for the previous 18 years and wanted to explore different industries and sectors to see where I could make the most difference and feel excited about the possibilities. A key factor was also being able to have a positive impact on businesses in roles I knew I could add value in.

What do you enjoy most about being an interim?
I am adaptable, can quickly step into new scenarios and make an immediate impact. This is what I love about my assignments and it’s fair to say that no two are the same. I have recently experienced the formality and quirkiness of the City of London, walked on the beach after work in Jersey and met Ozzy in Birmingham’s Grand Central Station!

What are the challenges you face as an interim, and how important is leadership style?
One of the main challenges is getting a true understanding of the client’s brief and working out exactly how to support them, which may be in ways they do not necessarily realise. Managing client expectations and delivering on your agreed outcomes is key – under promise and over deliver. I work hard in every assignment and make sure every day counts. Leadership style is very important and as an authentic leader I love to bring out the best in people – either in my own team or those in the organisation. As an interim one of our key aims should always be to transfer our learning and make sure that our legacy lives on and is not dependent upon us as individuals. That should be built into every assignment we take on. One of the challenges is also agreeing the timing of your departure. I have been fortunate to have every contract extended and knowing when and how to leave is important too.

What difference have you made in the organisations you’ve worked for?
 I have enjoyed the variety of organisations I have worked with and truly believe I have made a difference. I have delivered cultural change programmes, new operating models and transformed teams. I am in touch with people now from all my assignments and hope that whilst I have made a difference to the organisation, I have also positively impacted on the people I work with – that is important to me. 

In your current role, if possible, to share, what were the drivers that led to an interim being recruited? And why do you think an interim is the best way of solving that problem in this scenario?
My current role is in the East Midlands Devolution Programme Team (Operations and People Lead) to establish the new East Midlands Combined County Authority. It is an ideal assignment for interims as we will design, develop, and implement the new authority and as permanent recruitment takes place to the new Authority the programme team will leave. It is the first every Combined County Authority and as such it is the most exciting programme as we literally have a blank sheet of paper to turn the content of the Devolution Deal into a fully functioning and successful organisation. The government will give the combined county authority money and power to make decisions in the area that would previously have been made centrally, leading to a better connected, more competitive, and prosperous east Midlands. 

What makes a good interim in your eyes?
Someone who is highly skilled, adaptable, and experienced who can quickly take the lead in their assignment and make a real difference. You must be hard working and comfortable working at a strategic level but also not be afraid to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in. You must be able to get on well with people and have consultancy skills that enable you to get to the ‘nub’ of an issue and be comfortable with challenging the organisation and holding up the mirror.  Working well under pressure is often required and delivering tangible results in a relatively short period of time. 


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