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 fractionalexecutives 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.
It seems like every business owner dreams of achieving major traction in the marketplace. That 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 end result is often a splat: the company hits 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.
When you own the company, it’s nothing like being an employee. You might as well compare lifting up a hundred pound weight versus a feather.
Through the years I’ve owned or been a shareholder in a number of companies. So when I initially started a career taking on interim assignments – in my case helping companies prep for sale and ultimately exiting to a financial buyer or strategic investor – I approached every company as if it was my own.
Only in running and owning a company can you know firsthand the sleepless nights.
Pondering everything. Like cash flow.
Hiring and retaining your best people.
The questions are endless: how do we compete better? How do we win ridiculously large contracts? What do we do if the market goes down? How do we make our marketing viral?
Ownership is not for everyone and it is easy to feel….well, alone.
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.
Company owners and investors call us wanting to brainstorm about the type of leaders they need, which is great – right up our alley.
Why do companies call us saying they need an interim executive? A top interim put it this way: companies show up because something is going really, really right. Or because something has gone really, really wrong.
Fitting into one of those categories is just the start of the conversation. We also must determine if an organization is the right fit to work with InterimExecs RED Team.
We have invested 12 years and thousands of man-hours screening, ranking, and choosing the most talented CEOs, CFOs, COOs, and other executives across the C-suite to form the RED Team. That work continues every day, curating top talent for leadership on demand. These relationships are dear to us, so just as we screen executives, it’s important that we also screen companies that want to land a great executive.
Would your organization be a good fit for us and the RED Team? We have listed the top three factors we seek in both executives and companies we choose to match for talent.
Let’s explore this together and see how we match up in our leadership on demand values and your company’s goals:
InterimExecs RED Team of top interim and part-time executives around the globe range in specialties from CEO to COO, CIO, CFO, CMO, and CSO. But, title is not the main focus. Interim executives are often project-based resources that can be pulled in alongside the current management team to carry out big projects, mentor someone internally, or assess how your business is doing and create a roadmap for the future.
If you meet the following criteria, we can probably help:
Even before the pandemic forced businesses to be more nimble and forward-thinking than ever before, the need for interim executives had been growing. In 2020, we asked 600+ execs to shed light on interim roles, a comprehensive survey that covered the who, what and why behind the growth of this category. And now as the world is finally defeating COVID-19, businesses are continuing to adapt and re-strategize with a new set of challenges, only amplifying the need for experienced, “make it happen” interim executives even more.
To better understand how the current marketplace is dictating the need, we conducted a follow-up survey, asking 125 executives to answer the same question: “What trends do you anticipate having the greatest effect on the interim specialty in the year ahead?”
Across both surveys, the conclusion was clear: interim executives are needed now more than ever. 71% of respondents see opportunities for interim management trending up and another 21% seeing they will remain stable throughout the coming year. Here, we break down the five reasons why more organizations are drawing on interim executive leadership:
When smart owners hire managers with the intent of working together for a long time, it’s easy to call their relationship – if it works – a partnership. It’s not a partnership in the legal sense and it’s not a partnership in the investment sense, where partners share costs and gains.
But in great working relationships between employer and employee, each looks out for the other. Each invests to build and maintain a good relationship and share the gains of working well together and advancing the mission and economic and social health of the organization.
The problem with rampant outsourcing is that it leads to thinking on the part of employers and contractors that relationships are reduced to a transaction. Pay me X and I’ll perform as ordered. Stop paying me and I’m gone.
The logic is the same whether it’s one contractor or ten thousand. While it is transactional in the letter of the contract, it is not in the spirit of one.
The danger of a purely transactional mindset is that loyalty goes out the window. Loyalty from a boss to an employee and loyalty from an employee or manager to the organization.
In organizations with a strongly transactional bent you can bet that any corporate talk about integrity is a watered-down concept at best.
Growth strategies are one of the three topics that are top of mind for US CEOs in 2021, according to a study by PwC. Yet 86 percent of CEOs will fail at creating sustained growth, according to Bain & Company.
Should you call in an interim chief innovation and growth officer (CInO)?
Having a qualified and competent executive management team is integral to the success of any organization. Problems arise, however, when an executive suddenly vacates a position or there is a mismatch between the internal capabilities of a leadership team and the actual skillsets needed for a specific stage of a company’s growth.
Red flags may start to arise in an organization whether it be a lack of a clear vision, high team turnover, stagnant sales, missing innovation, or breakdowns in communication. The knee-jerk reaction of many companies is to look at a leadership change via a full-time executive search, which can take 6-9 months and include long-term contracts with added costs of perks like severance and benefits.
The world of interim management, a specialty that has grown significantly through the years, has offered an alternative route for companies wanting to maintain forward motion while re-evaluating what is needed to take them into the future. As opposed to a full-time executive search, interims can be on board in a matter of days and come with flexible contracts and pricing models.
Executives who specialize in interim management have track records building, fixing, stabilizing, and growing companies around the globe. In an executive-as-a-service model, companies can bring in an executive to temporarily fill a specific role – CEO, COO, CFO, CIO, etc. – or to serve alongside the current management team to execute on a big initiative where clear vision, leadership, and even mentorship is needed.
First-year Change Agent members have access to the Interim Institute’s 4 hour audio program on the Fundamentals of Interim Management, and a one-hour strategy session to help jumpstart their interim career.
*$200 additional charge for Accelerator Program only applies for first-year members. After the first year, membership renews at $485/year.
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