What a Fractional Leadership Engagement Looks Like


Sometimes, illustrating the concept of Fractional Leadership by way of a real-life example can help make it easier to grasp its true value. Consider the following example of one business owner’s experience to better understand what FL engagements look like.

Jack1 owns a design construction firm that focuses on medical offices, employs about 40 people, and has $14 to 16 million in annual revenue. His attention to detail and nearly obsessive commitment to quality work led him to essentially teach his sales, design, and construction teams that all decisions had to go through him. Every deal required his approval and input. He was intimately involved in design proposals and construction projects. Mistakes were unacceptable and his people did not really know how to predict what he would consider a mistake. It was his view that it was safer to run everything through him for approval.

The firm had hit a blockage. They tried to continue growing, but no matter what they did, they simply could not push past that $14 to $16 million revenue ceiling. But they could not figure out why this was happening.

Last year, Jack took his family on a resort and cruise vacation for the first time in about five years.  They had an amazing time. It was so refreshing because much of the time, particularly on the cruise, there was little or no cell phone reception, so he was able to truly enjoy the time with his family without interruption.

As a result of his time off, Jack returned to work well rested and rejuvenated. But, to his horror, Jack discovered that basically nothing had happened during his absence. Not only had his team made no sales, but they had also lost several of their prospects who needed to the work to move quickly. When the salespeople or designers could not move their projects forward, the potential customers simply went elsewhere.

This was a huge wake-up call for Jack and his team. They finally realized that because he had made himself indispensable to every single sales, design, and operational decision, he was the bottleneck creating the ceiling against which his firm was hitting its collective head. The team hadn’t built any processes or metrics to ensure that people made sales, completed designs, and constructed medical offices the right way, every time, with or without Jack’s involvement.

Inspired by the wake-up call, Jack retained a Fractional Chief Sales Officer (FCSO) to act as the company’s head of sales. The FCSO created a true sales process by clearly documenting the right and best way to do things. He also helped the sales team establish metrics so they had specific actions they knew to take every day and every week to ensure they made enough sales to achieve their goals. He helped the design team do the same thing.

Because of the systems, processes, and metrics the FCSO helped the company put into place and which he oversaw, Jack was able to start redirecting salespeople’s and designers’ inquiries to the right people. He started taking himself out of the equation so the team could sell design construction contracts without him. They started to see their revenues break through that $16 million ceiling and finally had the bandwidth to expand into other types of construction.

At this point, you understand at a high level why bringing someone onto your leadership team who’s built a business like yours before will help you. And if Jack’s situation leading up to his outsourcing a seasoned executive to bring his company’s business growth to the next level sounds at all familiar to you, it might be the right time for to consider hiring a Fractional Leader.

Learn more about each of the five types of Fractional senior executives: the Fractional Chief Marketing Officer (FCMO)Fractional Chief Sales Officer (FCSO)Fractional Chief Operating Officer (FCOO)Fractional Chief Financial Officer (FCFO) and Fractional Chief Technology Officer (FCTO)

  1. Owner’s names has been changed.


Ben Wolf Author
Ben Wolf, founder and CEO of Fractional Leadership, has been on both sides of the Fractional Leader search process.
As a leader in companies where he served as Fractional Integrator (outsourced COO), he has searched for and found multiple Fractional Leaders for clients. And as a Fractional Integrator, he has gone through many cycles looking for new clients at the successful conclusion of each engagement.
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