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In the world of product and design, the concept of fractional leadership has been around for some time. Still, it is rapidly gaining momentum, signalling a transformative shift in how companies approach leadership and expertise. If you are new to the concept of fractional leadership it is a working framework where experienced and highly skilled professionals offer their niche expertise to various organisations on a part-time or project basis. Having spent over a decade recruiting and consulting in the UX and product space it is only really now that we are seeing a distinct increase in clients moving towards this more flexible, cost-effective, and innovative leadership solution.

If you are keen to understand more about how fractional leadership works and whether it might be right for your company read on to understand the potential benefits.

  • Expertise on Demand and Cost-Effectiveness

Fractional leaders, as highlighted in a recent LinkedIn post by Consortia’s Director Ryan Ollerenshaw, an expert in the UX and product recruitment industry, are in rising demand for their ability to provide focused, high-level experience on an as-needed basis. This model is particularly beneficial for SME’s and companies where a full-time executive might be financially out of reach. Fractional leadership offers a pathway to top-tier leadership without the full-time expense, presenting an economically savvy option for budget-conscious businesses.

  • Specialist Support Through Times of Need

Whether you're launching a product in a new market, navigating funding rounds, or managing rapid scaling, accessing the wisdom of a seasoned leader who has faced similar challenges can significantly enhance your strategy. Leveraging the insights of a skilled consultant, who brings firsthand experience, enables current leaders to draw upon a rich pool of knowledge, ensuring they're not just prepared but primed for success.

  • The Power of Fresh Perspectives

The involvement of fractional leaders with multiple companies in any particular time period grants them a broad perspective, promoting innovative approaches and strategic thinking. This diversity of thought is fundamental for problem-solving and company growth. Moreover, their ability to make rapid, impactful changes allows businesses to quickly adapt and thrive in a constantly evolving market.

  • Flexibility, Scalability, and Sustainability

Consortia’s CEO Nathan Connolly emphasises the flexibility and scalability of fractional leadership, noting its adaptability to the shifting needs of a business. This model not only supports companies through growth and challenges but also offers a sustainable career path for leaders in regions experiencing market fluctuations, such as the UK and EU.

The Insight from Tom Hook: Bridging the Gap with Non-Exec Directors

Tom Hook, product design lead at Maersk, draws an interesting parallel between fractional leaders and non-executive directors on company boards. He points out that non-exec directors are valued for bringing external expertise, industry exposure, and network connections into an organisation, a principle that aligns closely with the strengths of fractional leadership. Hook suggests that many of the principles applied to non-executive directors could be beneficially adapted for fractional leaders. This comparison underscores the strategic value of incorporating external insights and connections into a company's leadership strategy, enhancing its adaptability and competitive edge.

Conclusion: Embracing a New Paradigm

The shift towards recruiting fractional product and UX leaders reflects a broader recognition of the value of external expertise, flexibility, and innovation in steering companies towards success. By drawing on the strategic parallels with non-executive directors, businesses can further refine their approach to incorporating fractional leaders more easily, ensuring a balance of fresh insights, strategic guidance, and effective governance.

As this model continues to evolve, it presents a compelling opportunity for businesses and leaders alike to explore new horizons of growth, innovation, and collaboration. The future of fractional leadership in product and design is promising and offers more opportunities for businesses to drive sustainable success.


🤔 Your Perspective

Have you explored the benefits of fractional leadership within your organisation, or are you considering this model for future growth? How do you see the comparison with non-executive directors influencing your approach to fractional leadership with UX and Product? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

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