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Have You Noticed the Shift in How Work is Getting Done?
There has been a significant shift in how work gets done. For many organizations the changing market landscapes and uncertain economies have outpaced the skill of internal leadership. Companies find themselves in need of deeper and more specialized skill sets to overcome the challenges of the day. The rise of interim and fractional leaders is here and this tide does not appear to be turning anytime soon.
Access to fractional leadership is not just for early stage companies. We have seen this trend take off in middle market companies as well. A fractional engagement is a great answer for the early stage (up to $20 million) company that can’t afford (or shouldn’t spend the money) for a sophisticated full time CFO or VP of HR, for example. These organizations do need high level, on-demand expertise to guide through the critical high growth stages, just not on a full time basis. And these fractional leaders can manage and mentor the internal staff as well.
On the middle market side, we see many companies that have loyal, long standing employees that have been “home grown” to their max potential. With the growth of the fractional and interim executive, there is a significant opportunity to leverage experienced consultants to manage and mentor the team companies have so much invested in. Partnering your current senior-level internal employee, that you really hope to promote to executive-level, with an Interim CFO or VP of HR to learn ropes, yields a better leader with all the historical knowledge. Maybe it’s not time to trade out, but train up.
Interim execs can help in times of trouble. They have different “skin in the game” and have no issues with delivering the tough messages. During times of significant change, an interim executive can be a better answer allowing time for the organization to turn things around, get things in order and prepare for a new team to be successful.
When companies are interested in engaging with executives on a fractional or interim basis, there are a number of things to consider, here are a few:
- Just as in hiring on a full time basis, culture fit counts. This person will be a part of your team and the fabric of your company. Make sure they fit with you, your team, your Board, investors etc.
- Do they have a track record of delivering what you need? Check the experiences that other companies have had and talk with service provider references. The best bankers, accountants, attorneys etc are all great sources of information. If they have worked with and can vouch for the effectiveness of the resource, then you should feel better about the decision.
- Can they offer additional arrows? You need your executive to stay strategic (that is what you are paying them to be)…but there is always some block and tackle work that needs to be done. So, look for a firm that can offer additional talent at various levels that your interim or fractional exec can leverage.
Rich is a co-founder of The Fahrenheit Group, a national consulting and advisory firm that empowers emerging companies to achieve success and challenged organizations find their way. As a co-founder at The Fahrenheit Group, Rich brings talent acquisition expertise to the firm to help us and our clients find the most talented professionals to work with. We serve clients across all industries ranging in size from emerging growth companies to fortune 500, including VC’s and private equity backed portfolio companies. From accounting, finance, HR projects to M&A and advisory engagements, we have talent that transforms the world of business.