The Case for Hiring Part-Time or Fractional Executives

Every business owner dreams of gaining major traction in the marketplace. Fast-track growth, however, often comes at a cost. Things get taped together. There’s no process to speak of. Systems? Ha. Things go missing, including clients and team members. Lack of resources means that even the crown jewel – the company’s ability to out-innovate — may be put on hold just to keep up.

When a company grows faster than the capabilities of the leadership team, the company can hit the wall.

Smart fast-growing companies have started looking to part-time or fractional executives to provide C-suite leadership, mentorship, and the operational upgrades needed to help a company break through the ceiling to growth.

Fractional executives bring the fresh perspective of experienced C-level executives quickly and affordably. With a focus on getting results, companies find that renting the rock star exec outweighs getting 100 percent of the time of a lesser light.

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What Is an Interim Executive & Is It the Right Answer for Your Company?

What is an interim executive? It’s a highly knowledgeable and deeply experienced C-suite executive ready to step into a company in need of superior leadership.

As veterans of the interim business, we know that pairing the right interim executive with the right company is a delicate balance. After all, private equity funds or venture capital funds get one use of their dollar. Just one. Fund managers have a sacred charge of evaluating opportunities and investing the funds they’ve been entrusted with by their limited partners in hopes of maximum returns.

Likewise, we get one chance to make a great match. We must identify the interim executive with the right skills and experience and catch that executive during the brief period of time they are in between assignments assessing the next opportunity they want to take on.

So how do we best deploy genius leadership when we only get one chance every day to maximize everyone’s time, unique skillset, and results? We start by being selective about our clients.

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How Much Does An Interim Executive Cost?

Once owners, board members, and investors figure out exactly what an interim is and how an interim can help, the next question is: How much does an interim executive cost?

The short answer is: There is no off-the-shelf rate card for interim execs. Or more precisely, it doesn’t exist for the best interims in the world.

The first thing to understand about interim executive costs is to know that interim and permanent executive compensation is structured differently.

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Acting Manager vs. Interim Manager: What does Acting Mean in a Title?

Scanning someone’s career history, what does it mean when you see the word acting in a title?

The language around interim executives, executives who specialize in growing, transforming and turning around companies can be tricky as executives in the specialty don’t always identify themselves with the same language. But in some cases acting can be another indicator that you have found an interim.

Consider your audience: is the executive being presented to the board of directors, the company at large, or to the general public?

When it comes to public companies, the language is precise and if an executive has temporarily stepped in while a permanent search takes place, they will be described as interim or acting.

Things get confusing because public companies often appoint board members to this interim or acting role who serve as more of a babysitter or placeholder. Beware that this is not the same thing as a career interim who can be identified by their career history taking on high-impact engagement after engagement, helping cause companies to grow or turn around.

The far larger use of interim executives is in private companies worldwide, whether for-profit or nonprofit.

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What is an Interim Executive Director and Why Would You Want One?

The concept of an Interim Executive Director (ED) isn’t well-known among nonprofit organizations…yet. But, it’s becoming more mainstream and for many good business reasons.

On average, it takes a Board of Directors 9 months to recruit a new Executive Director. By the time they are on-boarded and contributing, a year may have passed since the departure of the prior nonprofit leader.

While nonprofit board members may step up to “mind the gap,” the truth is that stakeholders — employees, partners, and funders — can lose confidence in your organization during this leadership transition and key employees may leave.

Organizing payroll, developing a budget and/or managing human resources may keep the lights on, but without someone filling the executive director role during the transition period, your organization can be harmed and stymied while the Board is focused on the executive search for a new ED.

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Maximizing Operational Efficiency: Expert COOs Offer Tips for Improving Process and Productivity

Operational efficiency is the key to successful companies, the wish of all companies, and the bane of far too many. Successful COOs have found ways to develop processes that root out inefficiencies, lower operating expenses, improve productivity, and increase profit margins. 

Here, two expert COOs share what they have learned from repeated successes at mega-million-dollar corporations.

Steve Raack, a COO who has led consumer goods giants, including Beautycounter and Herbalife; and Mike Bartikoski, a manufacturing and supply chain expert who has run operations for Hershey and Pepsico among others, shared their insights during a wide-ranging webinar and Q&A moderated by InterimExecs CEO Robert Jordan. You can access the full webinar on-demand.

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Decoding Executive Titles: The Difference Between Interim, Project, Part-Time & Fractional Executives

Interim, acting, project, contract, fractional. The array of titles can make your head spin. But they all point to a specialized type of executive that companies call on when they are going through transformation.

What is an interim executive and how does that differ from a part-time executive, a project executive, or fractional executive?

Let’s break it down.

What is an Interim Executive?

Interim executives are highly-skilled, experienced C-level executives who typically contract to work for a company for a defined period, versus full-time executives who are hired by the company. The defined period can be as little as one month or last as long as two years.

There are highly qualified interim CEOs, interim CFOs, interim COOs, interim CIOs, interim CMOs and CSOs ready to step into a position.

Why would a company choose an interim executive over a full-time executive?

There are many possible reasons, but in all cases, the company needs some kind of change or upgrade.

For example, the organization may have a leadership gap. Maybe the organization is on the wrong track and losing market share. It needs an executive to create an operational roadmap and then execute and implement to ramp up growth.

Maybe it’s a technology or security issue or there’s a need for an effective leader to reposition the company, update the brand, and build out a best-practices sales team to bring it into the new digital era.

In all cases, executives across the C-suite can be drawn on for these types of assignments. There are interim CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CIOs, CMOs, and CSOs.

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Executive-as-a-Service Can Solve Your Leadership Problems Like SaaS Solved Your Outdated Software Problems

For years, companies have used SaaS – Software-as-a-Service – to solve their technology problems. No more buying expensive software. No more hiring experienced managers to oversee its installation. No more worrying about updates. It’s all handled by the pros and the service lives in the cloud, ready for your people to access the minute the need arises.

Now, companies are discovering that EaaS – Executives-as-a-Service – can just as easily solve their c-level executive challenges.

What is Executive-as-a-Service?

Like SaaS, which is subscription-based on-demand access to digitals tools, EaaS is on-demand access to executive leadership, whether you need the skills of a chief financial officer, chief marketing officer, chief operating officer, chief technology officer, or any other type of “chief.”

EaaS allows you to pay only for the c-level expertise you need and only for as long as you need it. No pricey executive search fees. No hiring bonuses No long-term contracts. No human resources expenses. As a cost-effective alternative to onboarding any type of full-time chief executive, the EaaS model means that even small businesses can afford experienced, effective leadership.

Executive-as-a-Service leaders are interim or fractional executives with a wealth of experience managing companies through big challenges such as rapid growth or decline, mergers or acquisitions, new market demands, and dried up funding.

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A Look Back on 2021 and the RED Team

As we reflect on the past year, we are grateful to the incredible executives that make up InterimExecs RED Team, as well as our clients who have put their faith in us and the leaders we deploy. We’ve jumped into companies from fintech to healthcare to manufacturing. Some struggling with declining revenue, lack of systems and process, or high turnover. Others experiencing big growth — maybe even spurred on by the last two years in a pandemic and changes to consumer behavior.

We’ve wrapped up a few top highlights from the year here: 2021 Year in Review

Wishing you and your families happy holidays and a prosperous New Year!

2021 YEAR IN REVIEW

An ERP Implementation Strategy to Improve Your Business Operations

It’s a common scenario: A company spends the money to delve into a massive ERP implementation only to get stalled, Or worse, flounder and fall flat (and lose big bucks in the process).

Maybe it’s the lack of planning or software curation. Maybe it’s not thinking ahead for future needs. It might also boil down to not having the right talent to make that integration sing.

For all that goes into ERP implementation — ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning, is, after all, managing, streamlining and tying together all the most essential parts of a business — strategizing every step should be a nonnegotiable.

“ERP systems usually get replaced every seven to 10 years. I’ve been with some companies where they hadn’t replaced them for 25 years,” says Bruce Howard, an InterimExecs RED Team member and Interim CIO who has spent much of his career implementing ERP systems.

“There’s a planning phase to bring all of the pieces together and make sure you’ve got a clear approach and clear people assigned. And then you need a methodology for the way you select systems and implement.”

To better understand the components of a successful ERP implementation and strategy, how an ERP can support business operations and better decision making, and how bringing in a veteran can elevate the process, we asked Howard along with interim executives Tony DeLima and Alonso Vargas to walk us through the essential elements.

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