Fractional leadership unlocks global growth

Fractional executives play an integral role in strategic decision-making. Freepik

Fractional executives play an integral role in strategic decision-making. Freepik

Published Jun 27, 2024


Debbie Goodman, Adviata Naidoo

OVER the past four years, most companies across the world have had to review their workforce strategies as they try to tap into the global talent pool resulting from the rise in remote and hybrid work.

For South African organisations, this shift has remained somewhat elusive given the weakness of the rand and the subsequent reduced ability to leverage expensive global talent and leadership teams.

However, one South African company has landed on the key to accessing the best global talent without having to break the bank: fractional leadership. Jack Hammer has developed this pioneering business model over the past five years and seen significant success.

Global access

In the past, there was a narrow mindset about what a successful workplace might look like. This model entailed a CEO surrounded by full-time executives, who would all live in proximity to the office and spend five days of the week, 8am to 5pm, together.

Within the space of only four years, that model is now considered to be a somewhat outdated idea. The composition of future-focused business is undoubtedly moving towards a hybrid and fractional work model. We have our leadership teams situated in Los Angeles and Cape Town, supported by hybrid and fractional leaders located all over the world.

Once we stopped trying to break through the brick wall of traditional people models, we were able to drive global growth with zero external funding as we took on board top fractional leaders who integrated with our culture.

Not to be confused with consultants, fractional leaders are part-time executives who work within an organisation; integrating into the company’s leadership team and contributing to strategic decision-making.

Fractional leaders often handle specific functions and oversee a particular area such as marketing and finance. Globally, organisations are starting to hire fractional leaders to access high-level expertise without the full-time cost.

Paradigm shift

South African companies would do well to move away from the former gold standard of centralised command-and-control people models if they want to benefit from geographically dispersed (whether in SA or globally) top talent. Rethinking the ways to optimise your workforce and leadership teams is essential to stay competitive and drive growth.

This is happening all over the world.

Driving global growth with an old-school mentality as it relates to people models is no longer viable. Growing into new markets requires local market insights and the best people to provide those insights; while being aligned with your company culture and values requires more than what a temporary, on-the-ground consultant can provide.

Building a future-efficient and optimised talent model, which combines the best of human expertise with cutting-edge technology at a cost that doesn’t kill company cashflow, requires a full-on embrace of new models that include fractional leadership.

Within this new paradigm, options abound. It’s all about agility, adaptability and staying ahead of the curve.

  • Goodman is CEO of Jack Hammer Global and Naidoo is MD of Jack Hammer Africa