Time-Sharing the C-Suite

I’m not the guy you want answering the phone if you’re selling Time-Share Condos.  For me there’s no value in spending every vacation, every year, in the same place – or spending a lot of time bartering for an exchange.  Vacation, for me, is about exploration new places, new experiences.  The whole time share model of predictability and stability of ownership at a fractional cost point doesn’t work for me… for vacation.

But, time-sharing does work just fine for me in my career.  And, it might work just as well for staffing your C-Suite.

Too many Indians, not enough Chiefs…

One of the hardest thing about scaling a business is staffing; building a team with the right mix of talent, at the right levels of experience and contribution, at the right time.  If you load up on front line contributors, then it falls on you, the Founder/CEO to do the management and strategic thinking for every functional area.  As in: CEO=CFO+COO+CMO+CTO+Cxx… That takes time from what you should be doing –  managing and strategic thinking for the overall business.  You become a vulnerable single point of failure with only your personal experiences as guidance.  And the staff either founders waiting for you to free up and give direction, or strays off on their own into uncharted waters with frustrating results.

…and vice versa

On the other hand, if you build out the C-Suite with the seasoned professionals for all the functional disciplines, your burning through cash and/or founder’s equity and your front line is understaffed and overworked.  Everyone in the board room is having a great time thinking big thoughts while the crops wither in the fields.

Then there’s the “Hail Mary” option of hoping your team will grow into senior roles in time – which very rarely happens. The most common source of organizational underperformance and institutional drama I encounter is the result of great people failing in the wrong jobs.

And now for something completely different

What if you could have that senior expertise at a fraction of the cost – the cost of one front line worker?  What if you had that expertise on site 1 day a week, and available via phone/email on a ad hoc basis during the rest of the week?  You’d have top level thinking for your senior management meetings.  You’d have the benefit of additional experiences outside of your own.  You’d have some on-site coaching for your operational staff.  The front line would be unencumbered the rest of the week to execute.  And you’d be better able to balance your operational staffing needs while positioning for growth.

As time goes by

Over time, as your business grows, you can scale your management team in an incremental and plan-full way.  The incumbent fractional C-Staffer might extend their contribution to multiple days or even to full time status as budgets and workloads dictate.  They might be instrumental in selecting and on-boarding the full time C-Staffer when the time comes.  Or they may be able to recruit and develop the internal front line/management candidate that ultimately wins to post.

And, you just might be able to take a little vacation – at a time-share.


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