“Two Experts Can be Better Than One”
Mark Coronna, Partner & CMO--Chief Outsiders
with Mark Francis, Fractional Integrator for companies running on EOS® --Visionary Integrator Solutions
Introduction to Fractional Resources
You may be familiar with the book Traction® and Entrepreneurial Operating System®, which is a proven business operating system for small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). Within this system, the author details a tool called the Accountability Chart, an elevated version of the traditional organizational chart. An important point of this tool is that it takes two types of people to move a business along, the Visionary and the Integrator. The Visionary is typically the founder, while the Integrator may go by the traditional titles such as CEO, COO or GM. The roles of the Integrator include translating the vision for the company into action and results and also leading, managing, and holding accountable the major functions of the company. While usually considered a full-time position, you may not know that Fractional Integrators for companies running on EOS® have been effectively working with Visionaries and helping free those who have become trapped in the day-to-day.
You may also not be familiar with the role of a fractional CMO. Fractional Marketing executives offer SMBs a timely, cost-effective option to tap into the expertise of senior executives who join your business for a defined period, assist in identifying key insights, design a growth strategy, and implement an accompanying sustainable growth engine. When the strategic work is done, fractional Marketing execs will often enhance execution of that strategic work by developing processes, platforms, and your marketing staff so you can move ahead on your own in a more competitive manner than before the fractional exec was engaged.
Think about both forms of fractional resources as providing a boost, or turbo-charge, to more quickly create or enhance your strategy and infrastructure for sustainable and improved performance. When fractional leaders are no longer needed, the business typically has achieved an accelerated rate of growth, improved its competitive position, reengineered key business processes, established a management cadence with more accountability, and organized and staffed its functions for future success. What business leader doesn’t want predictable growth, an aligned team, and solid repeatable processes?
Combining the Two Approaches Can Support the Growth Needs of Small- and Mid-sized Businesses
The integration of Horizon Growth planning with EOS may seem like having two unlikely and incompatible best practices in the same room. Horizon Growth planning was introduced in 1999 in a book titled The Alchemy of Growth: Practical Insights for Building the Enduring Enterprise by several McKinsey associates (Baghai, Coley, White).
EOS is a more recent business phenomenon, and is used by many small- and mid-sized businesses to focus on and align the organization with tools and management practices to create a healthy and cohesive leadership team, while improving accountability and performance. Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business was introduced by Gino Wickman in 2007.
What makes these two strong approaches excellent partners is that one (Horizon Growth) is more forward-thinking and strategic and helps businesses identify potential new revenue and profit streams over three horizons representing a three five-year planning horizon. The other (Traction) provides tactical tools and practices that have been proven across many industries. These tools and practices focus on six major facets of running a business. They range from structured meeting agendas to problem solving, while also including a placeholder for a ten-year vision. The author states that Traction is a “practical but thorough method to help strengthen and reenergize your business.”
When you access the expertise of Fractional Integrators for companies running on EOS® and fractional CMOs you are now in a position to utilize each best practice as well as to integrate them into a powerful combination. Both approaches deliver results, both are practical approaches, and both are focused on continuous improvement—one through improved planning and the second through improved execution to get the desired results.
When Does a Fractional Approach Make Sense?
As you review this list and see your needs represented in one or more areas, you may be a candidate for fractional leadership support:
Success Story: Ambitious Growth Goals Without a Plan to Accelerate Revenues
One client we worked with is a family-owned business with current revenues of $20-25M. This business has been a “religious” EOS user for a couple of years. The description of “religious” in this context means that this business follows EOS to the letter of the discipline. The business was still in the stages of driving clear organizational accountabilities and consistent management disciplines after a series of small acquisitions.
When the business did its one-, three- and 10-year EOS planning and drafted its V/TOtm (Vision/Traction Organizer™), it set a goal of doubling revenues in 10 years. All good so far. Then, the fractional executive for the company running on EOS realized that the following were missing from their planning:
A fractional CMO was engaged to drive growth planning using the Horizon Growth approach. It became apparent, however, that unless the Horizon Growth approach was integrated into the EOS discipline to keep the effort visible, it would get side-tracked by current priorities. This is a common problem: Current revenues and activities always seem to take precedence over activities which can drive longer-range new revenue and profit streams.
The result was a tightly integrated model where management Level 10 Meetings™ had a parallel in innovation Level 10 Meetings. There was a forum to track and sync resource needs. The business also added a strategic revenue leader position with the primary responsibility to drive new revenue streams.
Read more about how integration of Horizon Growth planning and EOS are best accomplished here.
Selecting the Best Fractional Resources for your Business
Not all Fractional Integrator for companies running on EOS® have equal capabilities and neither do all fractional CMOs. Some businesses start with either a Fractional Integrator for companies running on EOS® or a fractional CMO and then add the other. Sometimes, depending on need and urgency, they will start with both. This depends on whether planning or execution is the hot issue, or both are.
How to recognize fractional leaders with whom you’ll best succeed: