Fractional Executives: Leadership-as-a-Service, CXOs, White-Label Solutions

​​“Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it… Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine.” —David Ogilvy

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💎 Why It Matters

You can work with experienced executives on an as-needed basis.

🔍 Problem

You need expert help. But can’t justify the cost of hiring for a full-time role.  

💡 Solution

Find a fractional executive and only pay for what you need.

🏁 Players

Fractional Executives

Hiring Platforms

🔮 Predictions

  • Fractional executives will offer white-label solutions for common needs.

☁️ Opportunities

  • Reduce time to hire. Fractional executives can be hired quickly and save months of recruiting time.
    • MVP Health Care Inc. pivoted to telemedicine. They needed to go to market without waiting to find the “right” CMO candidate. Arlyn Davich joined as fractional CMO to develop their marketing strategy immediately. 
    • The CTO of A.T. Cross quit unexpectedly. They hired a fractional CTO to solve critical systems issues and improve projects left in disarray.
    • Joyce Ripianzi, CPA is a fractional CFO who joined a nonprofit in urgent need of a CFO. They realized they didn’t need a full-time CFO in the first place.
  • Become a fractional executive to improve your lifestyle with flexible employment.
  • Hire a fractional executive to automate workflows to save time and money.

🏔️ Risks

  • Short-Term Mindset  • Make sure that your fractional executive optimizes for long-term success. Short-term incentives harm long-term success.
  • Bad Fit • The executive you hire might not be right for you or your business. You may need to try multiple executives before finding the ideal team member.
  • Team Buy-In • Your team needs to understand and accept the value of a fractional executive.

🔑 Key Lessons

  • Learn from them. Fractional executives should be knowledgeable executives who have been in your shoes before. Solicit advice and input. 
  • Hire specialists. One advantage of working with fractional executives is that you can hire a wider breadth of team members.
  • Integrate your fractional executive with the rest of the team. An executive will have a stronger impact if they have visibility into how the team operates.

🔥 Hot Takes

  • Fractional executives will accelerate the overemployment trend. Executives will overwork themselves to maximize income.
  • Fractional executives will create niche job titles. In-demand workers will be incentivized to commoditize and sell their best skill to as many businesses as possible.
  • Fractional executives will avoid office politics. They will be more focused on getting the job done with limited time.

😠 Haters

How is a fractional executive better than hiring an agency?”
Fractional executives take on more responsibility than an agency. They take full ownership and act as a point person for areas of your business like budget-setting, hiring, firing, and building processes. They should be held more accountable than an agency.

Fractional executives don’t have the same impact as a full-time employee.”
It’s true that they cannot make the same time commitment. In many cases, fractional executives will have a greater impact on a per-hour basis. 

“Fractional executives won’t understand my company as well as I do.”
They aren’t supposed to. Fractional executives have specific skills which can be used in a variety of businesses. You and your full-time team members know your product inside and out. Specialists should be used to leverage that knowledge.

“Isn’t this the same as hiring an interim executive?”
No. Interim executives are hired on a full-time but temporary basis to effect immediate change until permanent leadership is found. Fractional executives are part-time leaders who should be working toward the long-term success of your business.

🔗 Links

  1. Examples of Fractional Executives • The tweet behind this report. 
  2. How a Fractional Chief Operating Officer Can Help Your Business Grow Sustainably • A guide to hiring and correctly utilizing a fractional COO.
  3. What Makes Fractional CIO Engagements in SMEs Successful? – A Research Framework • Academic research on analyzing the success of a fractional CIO.

📁 Related Reports

  • Remote Work • Remote work is accelerating the fractional executive trend.
  • Consulting • A fractional executive is similar to but less engaged than a consultant.
  • Agencies • Many fractional executives transition to running agencies.
  • Productized Services • A fractional executive is an example of a productized service.
  • Personal Brands • Succeeding as a fractional executive requires the cultivation of a strong personal brand.

🙏 Thanks

Thanks to Tem, Stewart Townsend, Wit S., Swapnil Puranik, Yarty, Vikrant Duggal, Ron Immink, Maciej Cupial, and David Steinley.We had a great time jamming on this report.

✏️ Harry researched and wrote this report. Dru researched and edited this report.

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  • 30 Fractional Executives and Hiring Platforms (114% More)
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  • 4 Key Lessons (133% More)
  • 6 Hot Takes (100% More)
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