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Communication: This Is A Must


                                                                            Photo by Jack Young on Unsplash

Communication and Transparency

I suspended my blog series on the topic of the rise of the fractional executive model on December 11th and now I have decided to pick it back up again.


Because the more I talk with SMB owners I realize that the fractional executive strategy is only getting stronger. These executives help combat the fast pace, ever-changing and very competitive landscape of business today. From helping start-ups create sustainability much quicker to an interim executive role that gives a company time to fill an unexpected vacated role without the opportunity losses. 

Needless to say, the utilization of fractional executives has emerged as a very strategic, and competitive move for organizations that need specialized leadership and/or expertise without the commitment of a full-time executive. 

Although this leadership model has proven itself in recent years and affords SMBs a lot of advantages. The successful integration of fractional leaders into existing teams requires careful planning and execution. 

So, in this blog, we'll look at two crucial aspects that you need to look for in a fractional leader, communication and transparency. This entire blog series has given important aspects to consider in preparing for success if you are considering a fractional leader for your organization. However, these two aspects tie them all together because experience, strategy, and intelligence are useless if there is poor communication and they are reluctant to be transparent. 


Before You Get Started

If you are new to this blog series then I encourage you to start at the beginning for greater context although it’s not entirely necessary. 

Part 1: The Strategic Power of Fractional Leadership

Part 2: Less is More

Part 3: This is Not For Every Business

Part 4: Are You Ready?

Part 5: Plan for Success

My original goal in writing this blog series was to help SMB owners objectively consider all their leadership hiring options to help scale their business more effectively without risking too many valuable resources and keeping the profit margins strong.

I do want to note that these principles apply to all leadership roles in any organization. However, they should be expected from your fractional executive leaders as well or they could tear down all that you have built in your organization, either intentionally or unintentionally.

So, let’s get started!



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The Crucial Role of Clear Communication in Fractional Leadership

Effective communication lies at the heart of successful leadership roles but especially fractional leadership roles. I see poor and flat out bad communication every week in my line of work and I can tell you that it conveys two things to me about the leader.

  1. Undisciplined
  2. Disrespect

The significance of clear communication and strategies for maintaining transparency with internal teams and external stakeholders from leaders, especially fractional leaders, can’t be overstated. 

The reason, fractional leaders are simply part-time leaders on a 1099 contract agreement and not a W2 employee. So, there is already less connection between the fractional leader and the organization than a full-time leader. There needs to be clear communication and a strategy for maintaining transparency throughout the contract engagement. So, let’s take a look at both of these aspects of successful fractional leadership.

Clear Communication

Have you heard the phrase before? “No news is good news.” Well, I would only agree that this statement is true if two parties have set it up this way to begin with. I say that because although most people don’t want or like to communicate they typically expect to receive clear and consistent communication from others. 

Now, what is clear communication, really? Because just because you are saying something doesn’t mean it will be clear then effective. 

There are alot of communication frameworks out there to choose from however, here is the basic gist of all of them. This is good for all leaders but be sure that your fractional leader has this ability as well or it could be short and disastrous contract engagement. 

  1. State the problem/situation
  2. State the issues that problem/situation is causing or the opportunity it presents
  3. Describe the actions that have already been taken
  4. Lay out the plan
  5. Ask for questions/feedback (If appropriate)

Only talking about the problem and issues it’s causing can lead to despair and hopelessness. However, bringing a lot of energy about an idea and plan that doesn’t have a problem to solve or an opportunity to capitalize on leaves everyone confused and asking, why are we doing this? Finally, not allowing questions and feedback will come across as a “one-man or woman” show and it will be hard to get strong cooperation from your employees. 

This framework can be adapted and customized to any type of communication. Speeches, company-wide emails, 1:1 conversations, and committee conversations, etc. 

So, don’t fall into the trap that just because you (or your fractional leader) are holding meetings and sending emails that you are, or they, are communicating well. Clear communication will motivate and empower your employees and keep everyone trusting the process and the leader. 

Also, ensure that you set up a regular communication cadence to the organization so people don’t start making up their own reasons why the leadership is being so “quiet.”  Because despite the phrase I quoted at the beginning, no news typically means there is bad news coming. 

The same goes for how you should expect your fractional leadership to communicate to you, as the owner. Expect regular communications with high standards of transparency to ensure that your business is on-track. 

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Maintaining Transparency

The strategies for maintaining transparency are not rocket science. For example, Weekly meetings with the owner and the team, creating a metric dashboard to measure lead measures, and establishing a feedback loop to troubleshoot a process during the week, if needed. I alluded to these already in the ways to deliver clear communication. 

However, if these meetings are not consistently held, or taken seriously when they are held and documented they will stop and so will your company’s transparency and production. Transparency builds trust, however consistent updates keep stakeholders informed and engaged. In other words, if the agreed upon communication structure is not being executed then you need to have a very clear conversation with your fractional leader about the expectations that were originally set. 

In addition, you need to always stay ahead of any issues of the organization. In other words, don’t shy away from talking about tough situations that the company is facing or will have to face. For example, you don’t want your fractional leader to keep bad news from you so that you are blind-sided at the end of a quarter or the year because they were trying to figure it out. Expect a transparent relationship with your fractional executive along with a suggested plan A & B to work through it. This is teamwork and it gives the company the best opportunity to win. 

A good way to ensure that you are getting clear communication is to set up a formal feedback loop to you, as the owner, from your employees. This is good practice anyways, however, this will establish accountability among the entire organization. Also, you will not ever feel like you are conducting a ‘Witch-hunt’ if you hear rumors about your fractional executive. 

The Wrap Up

Clear communication is the linchpin of any leadership role, but especially fractional leadership success. By emphasizing its importance and implementing strategies for maintaining transparency, organizations can unlock the full potential of their fractional leaders. If not, it could result in a loss of revenue and morale. 

Remember, expect clear and effective communication not just words that fill up time and check off the weekly meeting box. Ensure your fractional leadership is working with you as a team and maintaining a high level of transparency by setting up an open feedback loop . 

Businesses can really get ahead of the evolving and competitive landscape of business by utilizing fractional leadership. Especially if you set up clear and transparent communication practices. 

Enjoy the process!

Grow more. Risk Less


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