A crisis can change everything. Whether it’s a broad-based economic collapse or a pandemic or even a competitor’s new disruptive technology that dramatically shifts your market landscape, the aftermath of a crisis usually brings a “new normal.” Facing this reality means adopting new thinking, implementing new approaches, and perhaps even tightening budgets and reducing staff levels.
Companies that embrace the new normal must be agile instead of fragile. If they can achieve that, they can not only survive, but thrive. But how can they make the pivot from a non-competitive status quo to this new normal of expanding success? It isn’t always easy, but one strategic, proven, and cost-effective approach that can help is engaging the services of a fractional leadership consultant.
Just What IS Fractional Leadership?
Simply put, fractional leadership is the practice of using leadership experts – via a part-time, typically short duration engagement – to help guide strategic departmental operations. Fractional leaders are expert consultants – in sales or marketing or finance, for example. They normally work for a client a day or two per week and their tenure with a client organization is, by design, short-term. Fractional leaders often engage with clients for a period lasting from a few months to a year or more. Depending on the nature of the client need, the fractional leader might initially spend more time with the organization in the beginning and less later on. Regardless, the fractional leader is normally not intended to become a permanent member of the executive or management staff; instead, the fractional leader is enlisted to make necessary (and often difficult) changes, implement effective strategies and processes, and set foundations for the future.
From Fragile to Agile
For companies that recognize their market vulnerabilities and decide to act, a fractional leadership consultant can be a game changer. This expert can be both an objective observer and a competitive strategist who can provide the critical guidance and direction a struggling enterprise needs to pivot from fragile to agile, from also-ran to market leader.
In terms of the big picture, the fractional leadership consultant helps an organization set a new strategic course, based on market realities and real-world best practices gleaned from careers typically spanning decades. The wisdom and practical insights gained during long professional careers uniquely prepares the fractional leader to bring practical perspective to rescue the business in crisis.
After analyzing the status quo and assessing an often-dire situation, the fractional leader makes critical decisions and recommendations to company executives, including, in many cases, the business owner. These recommendations can impact everything from product mix to personnel, from positioning to pricing, and from processes to priorities. The fractional leader may recommend cost-cutting measures that are unpopular with some in the organization, but necessary for the company to survive and regain its leadership position in the marketplace. By making these tough choices and guiding their implementation, the fractional leader sets the stage for sustainable success.
What are Some Benefits of Fractional Leadership?
For the client organization, obviously, the fractional leader’s role as described above presents a strong set of benefits. By taking advantage of the consultant’s deep and multi-faceted experience across multiple industries, the organization gains essential objectivity and big-picture perspective that cannot be marshaled in-house. In fact, because the fractional leader is not expected to be a full-time employee necessarily working on-site, exceptional leadership credentials are suddenly available at a fraction of the cost of a full-time executive. A sales leadership consultant, for example, could work remotely most of the time, providing unique or even world-class skills that might not be available locally.
Another key benefit for the client organization is that the fractional leader can not only provide tactical development, but they also bring experienced strategic-level development, honed by years of corporate experience. Again, this professional distance can be critical to having the perspective necessary to drive impactful change.
For the fractional leadership consultant, benefits include less travel and more time with family, as well as the ability to use critical hard-earned skills in new ways to meet new challenges. Fractional leadership consultants often find tremendous rewards – both professional and financial – that make the work purposeful and fulfilling.
The Bottom Line:
Fractional leadership creates a win-win for the consultant and the client. Especially during and after a competitive crisis, the consultant can help the organization make tough decisions and implement the strategic initiatives necessary to pivot from status quo struggles to a “new normal” of success. To learn more about how to become a fractional sales leadership consultant, click here or contact us today at 844.874.7253.
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