Fractional Futures

by Jay Cuthrell
Share and discuss on LinkedIn or HN

This week we take a look at what’s next in executive roles of the future.


🔜 As a quick reminder, I’m headed to Red Hat Summit and AnsibleFest in Denver this week. ⛰️ 🤓

🔜 If you’ll be in Denver too, let’s meet at Elevate Technology User Group. Register now: 🎫 🎟️

Looking ahead

🗓️ Later this month, I am headed to Dell Technologies World in Las Vegas. If you’ll be in Las Vegas too, let’s meet at Elevate Technology User Group. Register now: 🎫 🎟️

🗓️ Next month, I am honored to be a Tech Field Day delegate at Qlik Connect in Orlando.

🗓️ Want to combine forces or see your event listed here? Let’s chat!

More content in more places

🏦 🎙️ 🎧 My appearance on Fred Cadena’s Banking on Disruption podcast will dive into SXSW 2024 findings, FinTech, and much more.

🦄 🏇 🎙️ 🎧 My own Unicorn Jockeys podcast will be making use of A.I. and I’m excited to see where this all goes.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled Fudge Sunday newsletter! 🤓

Getting Informed

Imagine someone telling you in your early career that it would be increasingly common for multiple companies to share a single CEO — especially so when it comes to a particular social networking platform.

Does that seem to be a bit far-fetched?

Does that appear to be somewhat oddly improbable?

And yet… here we are in 2024. But, what about other kinds of leadership roles in the C-suite?

My peer network has educated me recently on the growing market for fractional executive and fractional leadership roles. In a nutshell, the use of fractional executive roles is ideal for companies needing strategic executive support without the overhead of a full-time hire.

Of course, the notion of a fractional executive role is not new and likely dates back to a Gretchen from at least 20 years ago. Indeed, the Regina contingent could not hold back the tide.

Fractional roles on Google Trends 2004-Present

Communities for Fractionals

During my education, peers directed me to several deep web communities and service providers that cater to fractionals on the spectrum of curious to aspirational to seasoned.

Coverage of fractional roles will likely increase as well but a few articles that summarize or link back to fractional resources are worth sharing.

Of course, lately, the meme of A.I. replacing the C-suite roles is more provocative to consider. So, I also went back to work published by McKinsey over the years on the so-called “Fractional FTE” envisioned as automation adoption drives down time requirements for various roles.

Based on my initial research, the use of fractional to describe roles accurately is mixed in these modern times. Buzzwords are contagious like that. 🔥🤣

For example, the phrase “contract to hire” or “interim role” appears as search & replace ready for “Fractional to start then can become full-time” or similar variations. In effect, this might be an interim role by another name. 🧐

By contrast, companies with a skilled board of directors would likely consider tapping an existing board member with specific expertise for an interim role in anticipation of (or in response to) a C-suite departure that will require the full-time C-suite role to be backfilled. ♟️

Of course, it ultimately depends. The hard and fast rules of fractional leadership hiring are becoming clearer as I learn more from the community. 🤔

For example, sometimes full-time executives need to step away for a bit and sometimes those executives never return. Another example might be the period of scaling up in marketing, finance, or operations that does not justify a full-time hire — until it does. 📈

As there is potential for confusion with the term fractional, it is useful to refer to the aptly named landing page Fractional Defined from Fractionals United. 🤓

For my part, I’m very Camp Gretchen now too and thinking about the unique short-term needs of companies during times of mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. 🕴️

What’s the eventual equilibrium going to look like for full-time roles and fractional roles across emerging technology companies?

Until then… place your bets.


I am linking to my disclosure.

p.s. As I’ve gotten older, I have come to appreciate getting snail mail. If you have time to drop me a postcard, I’m going to be scanning the picture side of the postcards I’ve received and link to a Fudge Sunday Reader Postcards gallery (with suitable redactions and filtering for greater anonymity) as a newsletter trailer of sorts. Stay tuned! ✉️


✍️ 🤓 Edit on Github 🐙 ✍️

Share and discuss on LinkedIn or HN
  • Get Fudge Sunday each week