“Everything rises and falls on leadership.”
John Maxwell wrote these words to begin one of the most important works on the topic of leadership, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. It’s a phrase many of us hear often from our field leaders, and it’s one that proves itself over and over again, not just among our salesforce, but at the corporate office, too.
I tend to agree with Maxwell. But if you really dwell on his statement, you begin to feel the weight of it.
- Is leadership really that important?
- Can it really impact everything?
- More importantly, what happens when there is a lack of leadership? And not just in cases when someone if filling a leadership position, but simply not fulfilling it, but also when there’s simply no one in the position to begin with?
- What is the impact of an absence of leadership for one month? Three? Six?
- And what is the impact of the wrong leader for that amount of time?
If you’ve spent any time working on the corporate side of a direct selling company, you’re likely thinking about two people right now. You’re thinking about the best leader you’ve ever worked with, and the worst. You’re thinking of the times that great leadership became the spark of raising the entire organization. And you’re thinking of the times that the wrong leadership has held the company back.
We talk a lot about leadership in our channel. But do we really respect it? Do we truly believe that everything rises and falls on it? If we did, would we do things differently?
What is a Fractional Executive?
There’s no doubt that the entire business world is and has been facing an ongoing need for transition and transformation, especially over the last five years. This is especially true in direct selling. As the world changes, how we live and operate within it must also change. And a change in how we approach leadership at any given moment must change, as well.
A somewhat new concept that has gained in popularity in the business world over this same timeframe is what is known as the fractional executive. There are many different definitions of a fractional executive, but here is one from ThinkingBigger.com that seems to cover it well:
Fractional executives are leaders who take up a part-time position in your C-suite of employees such as CIOs, CFOs, COOs, CHROs — the list goes on. When your business hits a certain size, it can be challenging for a founder or CEO to balance all these roles while still running a company. Typically, the workload is more than the CEOs can handle alone, and they become limited to the experience they have on staff and what they can afford. Fractional executives have significant experience with major firms and bring a lot of different skills and expertise to the role.
Most of the time they may only work part-time or in a freelance capacity, but they can have the same kind of impact on your business that many of your full-time staff provide. Not only do they bring their leadership skills to your business, but they may also lend a certain amount of credibility to your business.”
The way I see it, fractional executives give direct selling companies an opportunity to add executive leadership quickly without the pressure of making a wrong long-term decision. Here are a few key ways I see fractional executives helping a direct selling company:
Brett Duncan, Co-Founder and Managing Principal of Strategic Choice Partners, lists out a few key ways he sees fractional executives helping a direct selling company in his guest article on The World of Direct Selling News titled, “The Rise of Fractional Executives in Direct Selling” Be sure to read the full article.
Are you interested in Fraction Services?
So, do you believe that everything rises and falls on leadership? If so, are you tenacious in finding the right leaders for the moment, refusing to sacrifice excellence for agility, and vice versa? We would highly encourage you to consider fractional executive support moving forward and would love to chat with you about it if you’re interested. We’re working alongside many direct selling companies helping them do just this. We’d love to help you, too.
Contact us now, and let’s schedule some time to discuss your company and its best next steps.
About Brett Duncan
Brett is a founding partner with Strategic Choice Partners, and an experienced executive specializing in marketing, communications and digital strategic consulting.
He worked for his first direct sales company two days a week while still in college packing shipments in their warehouse from 5 until midnight. He began at the entry level of the marketing department at AdvoCare, International in 2002, rising to the position of marketing manager before he left in 2007. In 2009, he joined Mannatech as Sr. Director of Global Online Solutions. He was then promoted to Vice President of Global Marketing in 2011.