As a Visionary, you have grown your company from a fledgling enterprise to the organization it is today. You want to take your business to the next level - and you know an Integrator is what you need. But, your company might not have the means or the need for a full-time executive. A Fractional Integrator (FI) may be the right option for you. As a former full-time Integrator and current Fractional Integrator, I field a lot of questions about the logistics of hiring a FI. Here are 5 things Visionaries should know about hiring a Fractional Integrator.
1. It Works
The number one question I hear is: “Jerry, hiring an Integrator on a part-time basis is a great concept, but does it really work? As a Visionary, can my company and I get what we need from an Integrator working less than full-time?” Answer: Yes. Seriously. It works - for the Visionary, for the company, for employees and for the FI.
For the Visionary, it means that things will happen and progress will be made. The FI will be your partner in strategic conversations and in growing the business. Relinquishing control to the FI and allowing them to do what they do best, frees you, the Visionary, to do what you do best. Win-win.
For the company, it means you will have an experienced leader building the teams and infrastructure you need to scale your company and grow it to the next level.
For company employees, a full-time Integrator can be a welcome change catalyst or an unwelcome threat to the status quo. The same is true for a FI. Some employees will welcome the FI, others will feel threatened. Ultimately, your best employees are excited by growth and they respect the Visionary for having the courage to add an Integrator.
For the Fractional Integrator, working on a fractional basis is their employment model of choice. It is rewarding and meaningful work that is interesting and challenging, with more flexibility than a traditional full-time role.
2. Some Fractional Integrators Want to Transition to a Full-Time Role, Some Do Not
Another question I’m often asked is: “Am I hiring this person to be a full-time Integrator someday?” That is up to the Visionary and the FI. Some FIs are open to the idea of being a full-time employee of the company eventually. But some FIs are reaching the point in their career where they are no longer interested in full-time work. Some want more time off, some get restless working exclusively on one role, some want more of a consulting type of role. Whatever the case, these FIs like going into an organization, doing the heavy lifting and then moving on to their next great challenge. It is important to understand what your priority is when bringing a FI into your company.
3. The Fractional Model Does Not Affect Implementation Speed
Another top Visionary question: “If the Fractional Integrator is only working half-time, will things take twice as long?” The answer is no. One of the greatest responsibilities of the FI is to recognize how much change the organization can absorb. Often, the FI’s ability to drive change is greater than the company’s capacity to implement the changes.
4. Hiring a Fractional Integrator is a Great Way to Try Out the Integrator Role
Adding to your executive team is no easy task. Adding a FI is a great way to test drive both the FI model and a specific FI. If it doesn’t work out, you can easily end the contract or bring in a different style of FI without the big investment of adding a full-time member to your executive team.
5. Staying on the Same Page is Essential
Once you find the right person for your FI role, it is imperative that you both stay on the same page. As the Visionary, you have a Vision for where you want the company to go and what it should look like when it gets there. Staying on the same page means the FI knows where the Visionary wants to go, and the Visionary knows how the FI plans to get you there. Staying on the same page takes time and effort, but it’s critical.
I am currently the Fractional Integrator for two growing companies. It is hard work and takes discipline to manage my schedule and know what company I’m dreaming about at any given moment – but I am passionate about helping Visionaries grow their companies and I love being a Fractional Integrator. Adding an FI to your team might be the catalyst you need to take your business to the next level.