Ep. 237: Ben Wolf - The Power of Fractional Leadership in Business
Looking for expert advice on fractional leadership? Look no further! Join host Adam Larson and guest Ben Wolf as they dive into the world of fractional executives. Ben is the founder and CEO for Wolf's Edge Integrators, a premier fractional COO organization. From fractional CFOs and CMOs to COOs and beyond, Ben will share his insights and experiences on how to hire, manage, and maximize the impact of fractional leaders. Get ready for engaging discussions, practical tips, and real-world examples that will revolutionize how you approach leadership in your business. Don't miss out and listen today!
Full Episode Transcript:
Adam: Welcome back to another episode of Count Me In. I'm your host, Adam Larson. And in today's episode, we have special guest, Ben Wolf. Joining us to discuss the fascinating concept of fractional leadership. Ben is the founder and CEO of Wolf's Edge Integrators. A premier fractional COO organization.
Full Episode Transcript:
Adam: Welcome back to another episode of Count Me In. I'm your host, Adam Larson. And in today's episode, we have special guest, Ben Wolf. Joining us to discuss the fascinating concept of fractional leadership. Ben is the founder and CEO of Wolf's Edge Integrators. A premier fractional COO organization.
Today we'll explore the key factors to consider when hiring fractional executives. The benefits they bring to businesses, and even dive into some real-life examples. So get ready to uncover the power of fractional leadership, and how it can revolutionize your organization.
Ben, thank you so much for coming in on the podcast. We're really excited to talk about fractional executive leadership, today. And I thought maybe we could start off by maybe you can share some experience, some of your own experiences. That led you to discover this concept of fractional executive leadership, and how it changed your approach to leadership in an organization.
Ben: Sure, absolutely. Well, Adam, first of all, thank you for the opportunity to share about this topic. Obviously something I'm very passionate about. And I first came across it when I was in this business that I first grew up in, entrepreneurially.
I used to be a corporate bankruptcy attorney. And after I left that, I helped build this entrepreneurial business from startup. Built most of its operations, it was a healthcare startup, until we had over 130 people and we were the largest healthcare agency of our category, in the entire state of New York.
it was really quite a journey. And ways into that, what we and the other members of the leadership team realized is that all of us were figuring out this business for the first time. It was the first time any of us had been running a business of our size before.
I mean, we'd been employees in larger corporate businesses or cogs in the machine, at various places. But the first time, actually, running a business of our size before. I mean, let's say when we're 50, 75, 100 people, we had never done this before.
And, so, everything that we're doing, we're reinventing the wheel, at a certain point. We hired an EOS implementer, to help us use this management system called Entrepreneurial Operating System. So we tried to get help and consultants, usually, just felt like they just put together some big report and spent dozens and dozens of hours with us, and members of our team, and just would deliver this report and say, "Good luck." Now, I just call that drive-by consulting.
What I just realized is, you know what, sometimes that's what you need. But, sometimes, you need somebody that's, actually, on your team that's, actually, part of the business and that's done it before. That's not just figuring it out for the first time like we were.
And, so, we started looking at hiring for full-time roles and, sometimes, either we were just priced out. These people are like 300 thousand, didn't necessarily make sense for this role. Or we realized we need people who've done this before, and we didn't have it.
And, so, it wasn't really till after I had left there, and I was a COO at a smaller business after that. And, then, I really discovered this concept of a fractional executive. Where you can actually get an executive on your team. That's not the trauma if it doesn't work out, or the cost of 300 thousand plus bonus, plus benefits, and everything else, of a full-time executive, who's done this before. And, also, maybe, somebody that you might be worried might be too corporate for your environment, and you could actually do that with a fractional executive.
You can get someone that's done it before. Whether it's a CFO, or a COO, or CMO, CTO, CIO, CHRO, whatever, something else, and get them on. They're part of your leadership team, they're part of your management team meetings. They have direct reports within the business.
And, so, it's like the best of both worlds. You have a high-level person that's done it before, they're on your team. They get to know your business better because they're actually part of your team on an ongoing basis. Not just consulting, "Hey, good luck." But actually managing the people and managing that department, but just doing so on a part time basis.
So I just became aware of that and, then, ultimately, started to do it myself. First as a solo practitioner, as a chief operating officer, fractional COO. And, then, ultimately, started building a team, which I have now. But that's sort of the experience I went through. It was what I learned in that business growing up, and not having someone like that, who'd done it before. That made me aware of this solution, as I learned more over time.
Adam: Yes, that's so interesting. Because if you're reading any business application, if you're reading any articles, if you're reading anything in any industry, around business, you hear this term fractional leadership. And, I think, we may have jumped the gun. So maybe we can start by defining what is fractional leadership and how does it differentiate? Because if you're listening to this and you've, maybe, heard this term thrown around. And people, probably, assume, like you were saying, maybe, it's like a consultant kind of thing, but it seems like it's more than that.
Ben: Yes, that's a great question. I basically define a fractional executive or a fractional leader, as the same as a regular executive. Because the regular executive, if you have your CMO, or your CRO, or your COO, CFO, CTO, CHRO, whatever, they're responsible for a function of the business.
The CMO was responsible for the marketing function of this business. Not one project, but the marketing of the business. The outcomes, the people, everything, just the marketing function of the business. CFO, and a lot of people listening to this, the audience, maybe CFOs or other roles in the finance, or accounting departments.
And CFO is your CFO, they're responsible for your P&L, and finding savings, and forecasting, and strategy, just like a full-time CFO. The only difference between a full-time and a fractional CFO is that they're there fractionally, and they're part time.
So it enables you to afford someone in that role, that is maybe more experienced than you could afford on a full-time basis. So if you don't need someone with a tremendous amount of experience that's been CFO for decades, at multiple businesses, or a CMO at various businesses. If you don't need that, then, fine, you can hire a CMO and let them grow into the role, over time, or whatever, that could work.
But if you do need someone that's done this before. You may not be able to afford or might not be able to find just because there's a shortage of those kind of people. By bringing someone fractionally, you can find someone like that. Someone that have that higher caliber.
But the way they provide that service is a little different than someone in full time. They're not going to be doing all the all-hands-on-deck admin stuff, working 60 hours a week in your company. And even though they're a CFO or the COO, they end up doing tons of admin stuff, too. Just because they're there full time and they're fully invested in the business. Eating, breathing, sleeping, drinking the business.
So they end up doing all this stuff that's not really CFO stuff. They're doing a lot of stuff that's really not CMO stuff. They're doing copywriting, and graphic design, and web work, and all these things. So where your CFO is getting a little bit more involved than they should in the bookkeeping, or the controlling, and not really being that strategic CFO.
But fractional just forces you to say, "Okay, I want to only utilize that person at their highest and best use, at the biggest ROI that I'm going to get from them. Because that's all I'm really paying for." And they will set up a cadence with the finance team, or the marketing team, or the operations team, or whatever, or the technology team, and they'll set up a cadence with them.
They'll set up measurables and processes with the team, that reports to them. They'll create accountability and a cadence for those meetings, and that work. And they'll work with the rest of the leadership team. And, so, they're able to fulfill that role because of that cadence, processes, and the metrics on a more condensed basis.
So they might be with you for six months, nine months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months, and then hand off to a full-time person. Or you may realize that a fractional can work in the long term, and there's, definitely, a lot of people who will end up doing that, especially, in the CFO roles. A lot of businesses you'll find, and we've seen a lot of CFOs. You talk to FocusCFO, which is a fractional CFO franchise, 70, 80 team members. They'll be years and years, on end, just doing that CFO role, on a fractional basis. It really depends on your own unique business.
Adam: Yes, that's interesting. So it's an interesting model because when you're somebody's, especially, such a high executive, you expect them to be there.
Be into the weeds of leading the team, and part of the strategy. How does that work in practice? Because are these fractional executives, are they working with three or four different organizations, at the same time. How does that work?
Ben: It's a good question. I would just get to give my firm as an example, Wolf's Edge Integrators. We have a team of experienced COOs, who have run their own businesses. On average, we're working with about three clients, at a time, on average. Some CFOs I know, maybe work with their client four hours a month or something like that, or eight hours a month.
And, so, they're going to just be less involved, and they're going to have a controller and bookkeepers. Whether outsourced or in house, that they're overseeing. And, so, what it means, to be able to get someone of that caliber helping you in the CFO, CMO, COO, et cetera, role, is it forces you to just be more strategic about how are we using that person's time.
Because so often when you have executives in a business, they end up spending 50, 60, 70% of their time on non-CFO activities or non-CMO activities. So, really, they're doing a lot of admin. They're doing a lot of things where you're paying them a big executive salary, but you're not getting 90, 100% of their time spent on activities that are a good ROI on what you're paying for them.
Adam: Got you.
Ben: So when you're it fractional forces you to do, if you're using that model, is to ensure that we are outsourcing or hiring for the lower level activities. So that we can ensure that we get a good ROI on our money. If we're like spending money on controlling and bookkeeping, we get a good ROI on that money. And for whatever we're spending on our CFO, we're getting a good ROI on that money.
If it truly is a full-time role in the business, then great. Then just try to make sure that they are delegating what they should be. That they are not masking the inefficiencies of the people under them or the processes under them, by babysitting them. And just doing a lot of activity that's not really appropriate for someone of their caliber and capabilities.
It just forces you to do that because if you're fractional, you can't mask those underperforming employees with babysitting. You can't mask those inefficient processes and things that have to be reviewed 50 times, by babysitting because they're not there all the time.
That pushes those issues to the forefront, and it forces you to address them to get the right people on the team. To get the wrong people off the team, to hire the right roles, outsource the right roles. Set up metrics, accountabilities, processes, and systems that will enable your team to be effective without being babysat. Because babysitting is not an option when you're fractional, but when you're full time it is an option.
And, so, people end up spending a lot of their time on things that they shouldn't and, also, doing what I call helicopter management. Babysitting kind of masking process and people issues, that are not being addressed just because they're always there.
Adam: Mm, well, we could definitely unpack what you just said in a lot of different ways.
Ben: Yes, that's a big one.
Adam: There are a lot of things, but we'll stay focused here on fractional leadership. But the stuff you said, I think, there's a lot of things that could be addressed in organizations, what they should look for. If those things are happening in the organization, or how to identify those things.
But, maybe, we can start with, let's say I'm a business owner listening to this podcast, and you're like, "This fractional thing sounds interesting. I wonder if my people are babysitting. I wonder if they're doing those things." How can you determine whether it's a right fit for your organization? How can you make that decision? How can you see that?
Ben: Well, that's really two very different questions. If you want to know if your CFO, or your controller, or whoever is babysitting, rather than being an effective manager and leader-
Adam: That's a whole another podcast.
Ben: ...one thing you could, well, I'll just tell you here's a shortcut. Tell them to go on vacation for two weeks and delete their email off their phone. And as they prepare for those two weeks or as they go through the two weeks, and you see the carnage that is left over, afterwards. Where all the catch up work and everything that didn't get done or didn't happen, or happened badly, that will bring that issue to the forefront. And, then, you'll identify all the things that you need to correct.
So, then, maybe, six months, now, schedule another two-week vacation and, then, maybe, you could be much more prepared and fix a lot of those issues before that. Anyway, you just asked that question about how you identify it. And what was the other question you asked?
Adam: Well, how can you determine whether this is a right fit for your organization? So, yes, I did ask the two questions. And what I asked the first time could probably be a whole another podcast, about identifying things in your leadership. But maybe focusing more on the fractional. How can you determine if this is a good fit for your organization?
Ben: I think one thing is that a lot of fractional executives are coming in, usually, where there's some sort of change management needed. And it's not like, "Oh, everything is hunky-dory. We just need a manager, just to manage the greatness that we already have going on. Usually, maybe, there's an acquisition coming up or it's very dysfunctional, and you just really need someone who knows what a finance department is.
Let's talk about the CFO role for a second. If they know what the CFO role, what the finance department of an organization, of your type, should look like.
Someone who's, again, done it before. They're not figuring it out for the first time. So you want to shape up our finance department to be a healthy department, and have a strategic, not just a controller that just manages the finance day-to-day. But also is actually a strategic CFO and provides strategic financial leadership.
And, so, the point is that, in any of those examples, people are going through pain. So one thing that, I guess, I would say if you're ready, is that are you in enough pain with whatever your situation is, or whatever situation you're about to go into. That you are in enough pain, that you want change, and you're open minded to learn a better way. I think some of us, as business owners, we're like, "Oh, I know everything exactly that needs to be done, I just need other people to listen to what I say."
And they're not really open minded to the idea that there are experts, who have done this before. That you could actually bring in to fulfill the areas where you're lacking. So that you can focus more energy not on those things, but on the things that you have a superpower in. And whether that's bringing in finance, leadership, COO, leading all the departments, or CMO, or CRO, Chief Revenue Officer, or CTO, the HR, and you're in pain in that area of the business.
You want to know something better. You could say it means someone's coachable or someone wants to know a better way, so I would say that's one thing. And, I guess, the second thing I would mention is that, well, you can afford someone of that caliber, but on a fractional basis.
Obviously, maybe, it costs 250, 300 thousand to get someone of that caliber full time, plus bonus, plus benefits. But for fractional maybe it costs you 100 thousand, 150 thousand, a year. But you're just giving somebody that you couldn't afford, at the full-time level, but you have to, at least, be able to afford someone at that level, fractionally. So, I guess, can you afford it?
Another element of whether that's going to be a right fit for you is, I guess, do you have the trust of a potential outsider. After they get to know you and your business better, to be able to back them up. To not end-run around them. To not undermine the things that they're trying to help you build. So that you want to have an independently running and effective finance department.
But if you're going to always meddle in, and undo, and change decisions, and everything without discussing it in advance. Then you're going to undermine the work that you've asked them to do. So do you have the ability to back up and support the experts, that you bring in onto your team. Rather than just never let go and not be able to let go of the vine, as some people say. But just not be able to empower the people that you bring in to do what you've asked them to do. Because they're not going to be effective at that if you're not able to let go.
Adam: So one thing I was reading about that, sometimes, that people are concerned about bringing in a fractional leadership is, "Hey, this is not a full-time commitment. How can I trust them in that moment?" And what are some things that they can think through? You kind of mentioned a little bit that they're going to have to trust them. But how can you help with those concerns?
Ben: I think that, especially, if you're talking to a solo practitioner. You could ask for references to talk to current or past clients, or employers, that that person has, just like with any other employee. Even a fractional CFO, or a fractional CMO, or COO, it's a critical hire or a critical retention, maybe not hire. And, so, that's one thing you could do, obviously, is ask for references.
My own people working with our firm, Wolf's Edge Integrators, usually, our reputation precedes itself. So people have worked with us before. They talk to other people who've worked with us before. They know it's a reputable organization. So you can rely on a reputation of an organization, which can go a little further than the reputation of an individual. More people can have heard of it or might have used them. So that's another thing that you can go to. And I would say it's worthwhile to treat it like you would any other smart hire.
A lot of people make a lot of bad hiring decisions. And, so, I think, it's critical to be, this goes to another thing that, maybe, we were going to speak about. Which is, "Okay, let's say I do want to hire a fractional executive of some kind. How do I make sure that I am successful in the way that I do it, and that it doesn't end up with a bad result?"
So I would say one of the most critical things, when deciding whether or not I could trust somebody and letting go. And, also, just in terms of making the decision, whether I should retain a fractional executive or a fractional executive firm, is to really give a lot of forethought to what outcomes do you need from this retention?
What skills are important?
What outcomes are important?
What measurables are we going to be looking at, in this engagement?
What outcomes or goals, six, nine, 12 months, down the road, do we want to see? And just be very explicit about that. Write it down for yourself, communicate it openly, and then make sure that's in writing somewhere in the engagement. Hopefully, if they're writing you a proposal or a contract, make sure that's in there.
So that there's no misunderstanding or assumptions about what "I'm actually going to be doing in this role." That it's just in writing, it's clear, it's black and white. You're able to be very much on the same page about what's expected. And I would say listen to your gut.
If you're having a couple of calls with somebody, or you have another member of your team, or your partner. Or another member of your leadership team, that talks to the proposed person, that you might be working with, just listen to your guts. And if you feel like they just have this preformed narrative, let's say, about what they do with all their clients. But it's not the same as what I want to get out of this engagement. That's why it's important to write it down, in advance, before you even speak with somebody. What outcomes do I want?
What am I looking for?
What skills do I need?
And, then, just make sure are they aligned with that? Do they seem to get it? That's something I would say. So references, reputation, being very clear about what you want, and getting the agreements in writing. So that there's no misunderstanding about what outcomes or accountabilities are going to be in place.
Adam: Are there certain industries or sizes of business, where a fractional leader makes more sense?
Ben: I think it depends on which fractional role you're talking about.
Ben: For instance, a company is going to need a full-time CFO, sometimes, before they need a full-time CMO, let's say. Or they're going to need a full-time Chief Sales Officer or a Chief Revenue Officer, before they need a full-time CMO. I'm just saying you could have a 25, 30-person business that maybe needs a fractional CMO. But maybe they need a full-time CFO or a full-time head of sales. Because that's the driver of the whole revenue of the business is sales.
So maybe they need a full-time person in the sales role. Although, there are fractional sales leaders as well. But, maybe, that sales role needs to be full time before the marketing role needs to be full time. And you could have a fractional Chief Marketing Officer.
You could get someone with a much more extensive experience than you could get if you tried to hire somebody full time. You just end up with somebody that knows copywriting really well, or knows graphic design, or knows social posting really well, or maybe they know PPC, pay-per-click, maybe, they know it really well. But they're not going to be a real strategic CMO to create your entire strategy, and drive execution, and all the resources of that. It just may not make sense to hire that kind of CMO, when you're only 30 people. This may not make sense.
Ben: I mean, a CHRO, for example, sometimes, you might bring in an HR generalist, not really a chief people officer, but an HR generalist. You could have that full time, when you're 50 people. But, maybe, it's not till you're 150 people or 200 people, that you need a full-time HR person. But you can get somebody, maybe, when you're only 75 people a fractional. So, depending on the role, I would think it depends on when you need certain roles as full time, versus when you need them as fractional.
Adam: Yes, and when you're thinking about this fractional role. I'd imagine in today's work environment, with remote working, hybrid, all those things that are prevalent. A fractional executive doesn't necessarily need to be able to come to the office, all the time, and especially, if they're meeting or if they live in a different location.
How does the fractional leader adapt to those types of situations? Let's say a company is completely remote and you'll never actually going to see anybody in person. Are there certain tools that they can use to maintain, and help the leaders maintain that connection and productivity, as they're coming into certain organizations?
Ben: Yes, well, certainly, if it's a mostly remote business, to begin with, or largely remote, or even partially remote. Obviously, that makes it a lot easier and a lot less limited to any geography, in terms of finding somebody. With my firm, Wolf's Edge Integrators, most of our fractional COOs are not working in-person on a week-to-week basis.
But for most of our clients, they do come out, at the beginning of the engagement, we'll start to build that rapport with the leadership team in person. And then they'll be there for quarterly and annual planning sessions. They'll get together in person for that, too, I mean, for most of our engagements. But on a week to week basis, with the teams, it's remote.
And, so, that's only the majority of the time because, let's say just in the United States alone, obviously, you're all over the world. But even just in the United States alone, you have the likelihood of having a right-fit person, who happens to live within 10, 20 miles of your physical main location is not that likely.
And, so, definitely, it helps to be open minded to that. In terms of tools, I think it's important wherever possible to have those in-person touch points and to create that relationship because they are a trusted member of your teams. I think it is helpful where possible to have that. Sometimes your businesses are really all over the world, and it's just never practical to have everybody getting together. At least even on the leadership team level, everybody getting together in person.
So you just do those quarterly, annual plannings, and meetings, all on Zoom, that's just how the entire thing is done. There are definitely good tools, and if you're setting up measurables and processes, obviously, it's important, and there's a lot of systems that work for this. But it's important to have those systems somewhere that everybody has accessible to.
So if you're using a CRM to manage your sales, or operations, or processes. Just make sure that the fractional executive is in that system, just like everybody else, and everybody has transparency to what everybody else is doing. For managing meetings, and projects, and accountabilities of managing the business.
I find that an online system like ninety.io, n-i-n-e-t-y-i-o is a good platform for managing meetings, and major projects, and major goals, and managing the business, and outlining the vision. And the structure and the accountability chart or the organizational chart, and just managing all of that in a place. Where everybody has access to it, with full transparency, I think a system like that is good.
There's another app that does that called catapult.ai, is another good one. There's an app called Bloom Growth that does it. I mean, I could keep going on and on about this.
But there are a lot of good systems that are good for managing companies, and getting everybody on the same page. That is, especially, relevant, even if you're all in the same place, but especially relevant if people are not physically together.
Adam: Mm, so we can't talk about a fractional CFO without thinking about, people could be listening to this saying, "That's interesting, I think I could do that." What are some considerations somebody should think about or steps they should take, when thinking about going at this type of thing? Whether through as a solo person or joining an organization that does that, kind of like Wolf's Edge Integrators.
Ben: Sure. So what I would say, the first thing people should be mindful of, if they're thinking of going into this field. Which, obviously, I love it, it's a great field. I think that the reasons why a lot of people go into this are what I call the three mores. Which is more fun, more flexibility, and more money. It's more fun in the sense that because, as we spoke about earlier, you're working on these higher order activities.
Where you're making much greater impact, a lot less of the admin or non-higher impact activities which is more fun. Because you feel like you're making a big difference. You're spending more of your time on more high impact activities. So you get more satisfaction from it. You get a satisfaction from driving major change. Not just managing something over ten years, you're actually seeing major impact on your efforts.
So that just makes it more fun and more satisfying. There's more flexibility because when I mentioned, typically, people are working, if let's say you're working about three days a week, three clients at a time. And that's about three days a week of client time, and then about two days a week of buffer time. Working on your own solo practitioner business, on business development, on networking, and on driving your kids to a sports conference, and taking off a Friday, or taking off a Monday.
And just that extra flexibility is a nice quality of life for people that want to go into that. And the other thing is more money, which is that you can honestly make more in about three days a week of client time. Than you can in most full time, even executive roles. Because, again, it's scalable, you only pay for what you're getting. So by the hour, so to speak, you're getting paid a lot more.
And, so, what the client gets out of that, is they get the flexibility. It's not a full-time hire, it's no big overhead, it's less of a commitment. They could end it after nine months, you achieve what you need and then you end. But it's not so nice to fire your CFO after nine months. But if it's fractional, that was the plan to begin with.
So you just have that flexibility, but you pay for that, if you convert it to hourly, so to speak. So you make more money than you do with the full time, at least, when you're fully booked or close to it. So that's what I would say. But, then, how do you know if it's for you? So one thing I would keep in mind is that, understandably, you can't be effective doing exactly the same things that you did when you were full time.
Ben: You just have to recognize that it's different. You can't be effective in driving change and getting results, on a fractional basis, with just a few hours a week, or a few hours a month. As you can when you're full time, when you're there all the time, it's just very different. You have to recognize that it's not just more of the same. It's going to be a brand new set of skills, there are a lot of things you're going to have to be very mindful of.
And the last, at least, high-level point I would say is that it's important to understand is that business development/networking/building a pipeline of potential clients, especially, if you're a solo practitioner, is part of your job. If you don't view business development as part of your job, and it will always be part of your job. Not just when you're first getting started, but always be part of your job. If you don't love that or at least recognize and embrace it, as the reality, then, you actually won't be successful transitioning to fractional.
You may feel like, "Oh, I'll just do some big effort when I first go independent." And, then, maybe, that works, sometimes, that will work, and then you'll stop. You'll get, let's say, a full load of clients for the first time, and you'll stop doing business development. But, ultimately, your network and the network of your network, eventually, peters out and you'll, eventually, have no pipeline. And your clients will end, vast majority of them will end, at some point.
So whether it's six, nine, 12, 18 months down the road, your clients will start to end. You'll find yourself with no pipeline, no clients, and getting back to panic mode, and you'll just find yourself in this feast or famine roller coaster. That is just not giving you the three mores, not going to give you the life that you think you're going to have. So the biggest thing I would say is are you able to embrace the idea of business development, as a long-term part of your job description. Just like client-service is a long term part of your job description.
Adam: So there is a lot more to think about when you go at it as a solo, as opposed to joining a firm who's doing it, right?
Ben: Yes. And there are all kinds of firms, some firms you still have to do a lot of business development, some you do less. So there's a big mix of how that works. Now, the other resources I would point people towards, if they want to learn about this or exploring going into it. Is, first of all, I mean, read my book, it's written for business owners. But I've had fractional leadership landing executive talent you thought was out of reach.
I've had a ton of people who tell me that, even though, again, it's written from the perspective, or for the business owner is the audience, that as going into it, it helped them tremendously. It gave them terminology, gave them a good understanding of what it takes, so definitely read the book. It's on Audible, paper, hardcover, Kindle, whatever.
Another thing is there's a good community with a lot of education, called Voyageuru, V-O-Y-A-G-E-U-R, like voyagaeur V-O-Y-A-G-E-U-R-U, like university .com, and it's only 19 a month, I believe. They've also got a boot camp, they've got courses and materials.
I'm not affiliated with them in any way. But just pointing that out as a useful resource as voyageuru.com, as someplace to go to learn more about it, see if you're cut out for it. You'd also connect to the community there, with a lot of other people in the field. So it's a good thing to consider, to learn more.
Adam: Yes, that's great. We'll try to put some of these links into the show notes for the audience, so they can check out Ben's book and everything. And, Ben, maybe, as a last question, to wrap up the conversation. This has been a great one. How do you see fractional leadership transforming the business landscape, as we go into the future?
Ben: I think the biggest thing I see about it, first of all, it's been exploding the last few years. I mean, it's been around for decades, technically, especially, the CFO field, that's really the first field where it really exploded.
But over the last five years it's grown a lot. I mean, post COVID, it's gotten even bigger because of what you referenced earlier. People are getting more open minded to not being physically present with people. And even though that's not the same as fractional because you could have fractional that's also in person. But it just opened people's minds to finding talent in ways that they were closed to earlier. So I think that's part of why it really expanded even more, with the advent of COVID and all the lockdowns.
But I would say that the biggest impact it makes on businesses. What it's really done is it has democratized access to very high level, very experienced talents to an extent that didn't exist before. Because if the only way you could hire a CFO was full-time hiring a CFO, and that was prohibitive, for some reason for you, then, you had no access to that talent.
Ben: But what it's done is, it's democratized and allowed smaller and smaller businesses. First it wasn't just the big companies. Now, then, it's the mid-sized businesses, and then it's democratized down even to small businesses that can now access and have people of that caliber. Who've run those departments, or run companies, or owned companies before on their teams, as a regular part of their leadership team, just doing so fractionally.
So it's just democratized access to much higher level talent, to much smaller businesses than who previously had access to it. So I would say that's the biggest thing that's transformative about it, and makes it useful.
Adam: Mh-hmm, well, Ben, I want to thank you so much for coming on the podcast. I know I've learned a lot today and I hope our audience has as well.
Ben: I appreciate it. And I would just say, also, even without getting the book people go to wolfsedgeintegrators.com/resources. There's actually a free chapter of the book, chapter one of the book, you can get access to it there, and it doesn't cost anything. I just want to put that out there as well, if people want to learn more.
Adam: Yes, and like I said, check the show notes and we'll put a link to that, in our show today.
Ben: Awesome, thank you for the opportunity, Adam. I hope it was a value add for the audience.
Adam: Thank you.
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