How to Best Leverage Your Fractional Executive

Published on
May 25, 2023
Written by
Nolan Church
Read time
5 min read

People are the most important — and most expensive — business asset. To get the most out of your investment in people, whether it's a full-time employee, consultant, advisor or fractional executive, maximizing the benefits of the relationship is crucial. And when it comes to fractional executives, the stakes are even higher because their expertise is time-limited. These highly skilled professionals offer specialized knowledge on a short- or long-term basis. Here's tips for maximizing your ROI.

Why fractional executives

Fractional executives are specialized experts who bring insights and expertise in a specific area to your business. They seamlessly integrate into your executive team to solve a specific problem, lead a new experiment, or fill a temporarily vacant leadership role. Fractional executives are the perfect solution for fulfilling a clearly defined goal that your company isn't currently addressing. Any leadership position can be filled or supported by a fractional executive, depending on your company's needs.

Benefits of engaging fractional executives

The beauty of a fractional executive relationship lies in its complete customization to fit your company’s needs. 

With a fractional executive, you gain access to incredibly specialized expertise without the long-term commitment. They can accelerate your existing business, jumpstart new efforts, or up-level your current staff. 

Working with a fractional executive will minimize the risk of hiring the wrong full-time executive. The cost of making a hiring mistake at the executive level can cost millions in lost revenue and time.

Interviewing doesn’t predict on-the-job performance, and executives are the best interviewers. How can you make sure that you hire the right leader to solve the next set of problems? Leverage a fractional exec to help you design the ideal candidate profile, build the interview process, and serve on the interview panel. Or you can date before marrying: bring on an exec fractionally and then convert to full-time if both sides opt-in. There’s no higher signal than working with someone directly.

By engaging a fractional executive, you only pay for the time and expertise you need, which can result in substantial savings compared to paying a full-time executive salary with benefits and equity. 

How to maximize your fractional executive relationship

  • Clearly define your goals and objectives. Detail 1 to 3 ideal outcomes and let the executive bring them to life. Use these ideal outcomes as an anchor for all future conversations. As Steve Jobs said: “I don’t hire people and tell them what to do. I hire people to tell me what to do.” 
  • Give relevant context. On deadlines, the business, relationships, etc. Don’t waste time creating an onboarding plan - great fractional executives will figure it out fast. If not, fire them.
  • Establish regular, honest communication. Set up a weekly or biweekly 1:1 to review progress on the goals and objectives. Set the expectation that the fractional executive will drive the agenda and conversation. Never hold back: always communicate what is going well, and what is not. 
  • Build the long-term solution. Fractional executives are typically temporary. Ask the fractional executive to help you figure out the long-term solution.
  • End on good terms. Fractional executives can generate employee referrals, customer referrals and open doors. You’ve built a relationship that can help your business solve more problems in the future.

Engaging a fractional executive can be an effective, efficient way for you to obtain specialized expertise and insight for a specific problem, task or time period. When the right match is made, a fractional executive relationship is a win-win for both the company and the fractional executive.

Continuum is the premier executive talent marketplace connecting high-growth companies with executives for full-time, fractional or advisory roles. We listen to your specific challenges, match you with vetted experts and help you achieve your goals so you can see results quickly. Reach out today to find the best fractional executive for your business.