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Find the Right Fractional Executive Leader for Your Business

You have an established business with a couple of managers and a solid production team. The company is grossing $4-6M annually and “all systems are a go” to grow to the next level, $10M.

The problem is, you (the business owner) are the only executive level leader and you can’t imagine trying to grow to the next level without another executive leader. 

So, the logical next move is to prioritize this as your next hire. However, the market demands $200k + benefits for an experienced and reliable executive leader. 

You could hire someone for much less but most likely you are really getting a glorified manager, not a strategic leader. 

The difference is that an executive leader knows how to empower the team around them to scale the business instead of loading up on operational tasks.  

This is why the fractional executive leadership model is so attractive to small businesses. 

In the dynamic realm of business, leaders are increasingly turning to fractional leadership as a strategic solution to address specific organizational needs. 

As a recap, this innovative leadership model involves bringing in experienced executives on a part-time or temporary basis to tackle targeted challenges and opportunities.

In other words, you can grow more and invest less money with the fractional executive leadership model. However, this leadership model is not for every business

To successfully implement fractional leadership within your organization, a thoughtful approach to identifying specific needs, understanding essential qualities, and employing effective recruitment and selection strategies is crucial.

So, if you are ready to seriously consider the fractional leadership model then this blog is for you.


Identifying the Specific Needs of Your Business

Do not skip this step!  

This is critical to the success of this leadership model.

In fact, any fractional executive who is really concerned about your success will ensure that this step doesn’t get skipped. 

Here are 3 Steps to take in determining if they are the right fractional leader for your business.

1. Conduct Strategy Sessions

Before hiring a fractional leader, give them enough information so that they can have an accurate assessment of your organization's current state and desired future state. 

Identify areas that require specialized attention—whether it's navigating regulatory challenges, implementing technology upgrades, or optimizing strategic initiatives.

Then, ask them for recommendations of how they would help you get to your desired future state. 

2. Request a Proposal (RFP)

If you like what you hear then you are ready to get a proposal so that you can clearly define objectives. 

An RFP will get the objectives documented so that the selection process will stay focused and the language will be consistent throughout several conversations. 

Whether it's solving a specific problem, driving growth in a particular area, or providing strategic insights, having well-defined objectives will guide the selection process.

3. Involve Key Leaders

The RFP looks good so now you are ready to engage any key stakeholders within your business to ensure that everyone is on board with the fractional leader. 

Bring in your department leaders to meet them and ask questions. By doing this, you will ensure they are a good culture fit and that the identified needs and recommendations are all-inclusive. 

In addition, Involving your key leaders fosters collaboration and buy-in. If your team is on-board then this gives the fractional leader the best chance to help the business reach the stated goals and not waste valuable resources.

At this point, the fractional leader will be able to notice any red flags and really determine if they are a good fit for the business, or not.



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Qualities to Look for in a Fractional Leader

While you and the prospective-fractional leader are determining the specific needs of your business, you also need to pay attention to four key personal and professional qualities that will determine if they are a good fit for your business.

These four qualities should also be found in a full-time hire but are critical for a fractional hire.

1. Specialized Expertise

Does the fractional leader have enough specialized expertise relevant to your organization's needs? 

Their ability to provide targeted solutions in areas like finance, operations, or marketing is key to their effectiveness.

If your industry or market is very niche then don’t settle for a general fractional leader. 

However, if the fractional leader is well versed in many different verticals, markets, and niches and they are a quick learner then they will be successful as well. 

This will become very apparent through the proposal process if they “speak the language” of your business or will be able to speak it with minimal ramp up time.

2. Adaptability and Flexibility

Fractional leaders must be adaptable to the unique challenges of your organization. 

So, look for individuals who can quickly understand your business dynamics and seamlessly integrate with existing teams, fostering a collaborative environment.

This person needs to be able to command the attention and trust of the team in a very organic way. Not force their agenda or authority on the team. 

They also need to be able to “roll with the punches” and deal with adversity or internal team challenges with grace.

3. Results-Driven Focus

Opt for leaders with a track record of delivering tangible results. 

The results can and should come from both their full-time and fractional leadership experiences. 

Fractional leaders are not just advisors; they are hands-on contributors committed to achieving measurable outcomes within the defined timeframe.

So, if someone is not really concerned with setting goals and objectives then that is a red flag that you should lean into. 

4. Strong Communication Skills

Effective communication is paramount for successful collaboration.

Leaders, especially fractional leaders, who can articulate complex ideas clearly, build rapport with diverse teams, and convey strategic insights to various stakeholders will be successful.

They should possess strong written and verbal communication skills so that they can connect with all types of learning and communication styles. 

Because the contract window is typically much shorter than full-time leaders this quality is extremely important so that no time is wasted.


Strategies for Recruitment and Selection

This is where the difference between full-time and fractional leadership selection process becomes more noticeable. 

Because there is such a small percentage of the workforce that offer fractional leadership services, you need to take a different approach to find qualified candidates.

Here are three strategies that will help you find a pool of qualified fractional leaders to choose from.

1. Leverage Professional Networks

Utilize professional networks, both online and offline, to identify potential fractional leaders. 

A quick Google search will review many platforms to connect with fractional leaders.

Platforms like LinkedIn, UpWork, HustleWig, and in-person industry events are valuable resources for connecting with experienced executives who specialize in your organization's focus areas.

2. Collaborate with Fractional Leadership Agencies

Engaging with fractional leadership agencies streamlines the recruitment and selection process.

These agencies often have a pool of pre-vetted, experienced professionals, saving time and ensuring that candidates have a proven track record.

More and more of these agencies are starting every year so this will help legitimize an industry that is largely non-accredited right now and dominated by solopreneurs. 

3. Trial Engagements

Consider implementing trial engagements or short-term projects to assess a candidate's practical capabilities within your organization. 

This creates a win-win situation for both parties so that you don’t spend valuable time integrating a new leader then determine in 30 days that it’s not working. 

A great practical thing to do would be to contract with the candidate to spend a month auditing the operations and produce a full SWOT analysis. 

Another example, would be to have them work with 1-2 of your current leaders to solve a problem that takes approximately 30-90 days. 

By this time you should have a good understanding of how the fractional leader conducts themselves in the workplace. 

Even if you believe you have found the right fractional leader, structure the contract to include a 90-day review with an opt-out clause. In addition, you can ask for a 30-60 day termination with or without cause to further minimize risk.  


Are You Ready to Implement Fractional Leadership?

Implementing fractional leadership involves a strategic alignment of organizational needs, the right qualities in a fractional leader, and effective recruitment and selection strategies. 

However, if you take your time to ensure a fractional candidate has proper expertise, adaptability, results-driven focus, and strong communication skills; you will get the best fractional leader for your business.

If you are interested in starting the fractional leadership discussion, schedule a FREE Strategy Session, today!

Enjoy the Process!

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