Insights

How Fractional Executives Can Fill Leadership Gaps

It goes without saying: the world has changed dramatically since March. It will only continue to change more and more and rapidly as we continue to progress through our continuing to change new world.

And as part of the overall change that has taken place over the last four months, we’ll venture a guess that the approach you take with clients, your internal communications and your company’s business operations are all now very different than they were at the start of 2020.

And, are the following among the challenges you currently face: are you are struggling to find answers to the questions that are coming at you fast and furious – all in an effort to figure out how to best get your business solidly on track to head into an unknown future? Do you have gaps in your leadership meaning you lack the needed horsepower to drive your company forward in a strategic direction, so it can survive and thrive heading into the future?

The new way

In the past, the model we all followed was to run out and hire full time people to fill the role (or roles) where there were gaps.  However, I doubt that right now you have buckets of money lying around, and I’d bet you don’t have the time to sort through and vet hundreds of candidates, filter out the best for interviews, and then pray the best ones aren’t frauds.

More and more companies and Private Equity firms know that there is a better answer to filling the leadership gap: tap into experienced fractional executives.

Good fractional executives bring their expertise, leadership, approach and “fresh eyes” to a business situation, which enables to them to hit the ground running and make a quick impact on your business.  These executives have experience running large companies and successfully managing complex issues, which they then translate to positive results for your business and your own situation.

As well, these are fractional executives, so you are paying for the time you need them, and aren’t paying for someone in a full-time position.

To say it’s a win for you is an understatement.

What’s in it for you

Experience and leadership will drive great results, but the benefits go beyond just experience:

  • Decide how much you want them on site and how much time you’ll need.
  • Turn them on or off, based on the needs of your company.
  • Don’t pay costly benefits, as a fractional leader is not a full-time employee.

While many of you may have heard of fractional CFOs, there are fractional executives in every functional area of a business, including:

  • Finance
  • Operations
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • HR
  • IT

Make sure you ask the right questions

Just like hiring a full-time employee, it is important to ask the right questions early on to determine if this person has what it takes to truly make the impact you need.

Here are a few questions you should ask:

  • Have you done this before? Ask where and whom they’ve worked with.  Ideally, you want someone with fractional experience who knows what it’s like to work under those circumstances and in that environment (as it comes with its own unique approach). To be blunt – your fractional hire should be someone who has “been there – done that.”
    As an example, don’t hire a sales leader who has never led a team before.  If in doubt – and quite frankly you should do this for everyone – ask for references.
  • Do you have a methodology and process as you approach the situation? A good fractional executive will have a plan and strategy so he or she can quickly understand your issue and drive the change you need.
  • Do you have any unreasonable demands? Most fractional executive will be flexible to your needs.  However, if they come asking for long contracts or many unusual provisions, it’s unlikely they are confident in their ability to do the job. Tread lightly when you come upon this situation. 

Do you have questions on how to find the right fractional executive to help your team?  Or do you have some success stories tapping into fractional leadership? If you’d like to chat more, give Bill Morrow – or any of the ECS team members – a call. ECS covers a wide range of functional areas, and our team has “been there – done that” many times over.

Bill Morrow is available at bmorrow@thinkempirical.com or 610-310-6707 or connect with him on LinkedIn here.