Not long ago, the term “freelance executive,” if heard of at all, was an oxymoron. While there have been interim and fractional CXOs in the marketplace for a long time, this talent takes temporary full-time or part-time roles to fill or backfill openings at the C-suite table. But the idea of a freelance executive? It’s new, rooted in the Great Realization.
For the same reasons that other members of the Great Realization are working as independents, people with C-Suite experience are working as contractors. And as with independent talent in general, they play a growing role in the optimized workforce.
While work as interim or fractional CXOs is still on the table, independent executives offer value that extends beyond the C-suite. They give enterprises the opportunity to put top-of-organization expertise into large strategic projects where they can apply their knowledge to help spur growth, scale business more quickly, and take on complex issues. They can deliver major projects, fix complex operational and finance problems, and bring important experience to a variety of fields and industries.
The Independent Executive Package
Anywhere that seasoned, strategic experience is needed can benefit from engaging independent executive talent. The right resource can:
Start at full speed
The depth of experience and organizational understanding that independent executives bring to the table can mean immediate productivity.
Help drive change
Independent executives understand the benefits and challenges of change initiatives. They can help leadership avoid potential pitfalls, connect with the workforce to facilitate buy in, convert strategic goals into operational activities, and monitor progress.
Be a dedicated resource, either to lead or advise, for a complex initiative
Organization-wide programs can be complex and require cultural as well as process change. An independent executive with the requisite experience can help ensure success either as a program leader or an advisor to the leadership team. Unlike in-house leaders, this executive can focus exclusively on the program with no other distractions.
Offer skills that extend beyond functional expertise
An effective independent executive can quickly connect with peers and staff, build productive relationships, and able to make critical decisions from Day 1. They can also recognize and align with organizational culture.
Bolster investor confidence
An enterprise that is launching one or more major programs to better compete in the rapidly evolving marketplace may concern investors who question whether the right expertise exists in-house to accomplish such big goals. Engaging one or more independent executives to advise or lead significant initiatives can quiet investor concerns.
Help respond to industry disruption
Tapping an independent executive who has led an organization through such a disruption can help ensure success for an enterprise facing major market changes.
Increase Value through Direct Sourcing
Direct sourcing, which eliminates middlemen like staffing or consulting firms, significantly increases the benefits of the engaging independent executives. Connecting directly with this talent lets a company pinpoint and engage the right fit for their needs. This ability can translate into significant value, not just through cost savings but also by having on-call access to executive expertise in people who understand the company’s culture.
As more C-suite members opt for the freedom of going independent, enterprises will be the big winners. Independent executive talent promise faster results, new perspectives, and notable return on investment.