The Power of Fractional Leadership: A Conversation with Ken Paskins
Hello everyone, I’m your host, Doug Thorpe, and today I’m excited to share with you a fascinating conversation I had with Ken Paskins, an expert in hiring fractional CEOs for businesses.
The Journey to Fractional Leadership
Ken’s journey into the world of fractional leadership is an inspiring one. Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, he witnessed firsthand the highs and lows of running a business. This experience led him to the corporate world, where he gained invaluable experience and mentorship in high-tech industries. However, after years of extensive travel, Ken decided to transition into serving as a fractional CEO, helping struggling businesses find their footing.
The Role of a “Fixer”
Ken describes his role as a “fixer,” stepping in to assist businesses facing challenges in areas such as leadership, management, accountability, and decision-making. He noticed common issues such as poor hiring practices and a lack of understanding between leadership and management. Ken also highlights the high failure rate of companies, especially within the first year, and the importance of continuous learning and development for entrepreneurs and CEOs.
Overcoming Growth Ceilings
Reflecting on my experience working with small businesses, I’ve seen many hit a growth ceiling and struggle to move to the next level. The role of the owner-founder is crucial in making the necessary mindset shifts and hiring senior leaders to drive growth. Ken agrees, noting that some owners have self-awareness and recognize their own limitations, while others may be hesitant to hire talented individuals due to fear or insecurity.
Building a Strong Leadership Team
Both Ken and I stress the importance of building a strong leadership team as the business grows. We discuss how businesses become separate entities that require effective leadership to thrive. We caution against hiring friends and family solely based on personal relationships, as it may not always be the best fit for the roles that need to be filled.
The Importance of a Clear Vision
We emphasize the importance of having a clear vision for the business and ensuring that everyone in the team is aligned with that vision. We also touch on the need for boundaries and barriers, even when working with family members, to ensure that the company’s interests come first.
The 90-Day Interim Leadership Program
I explain my 90-day program for interim leadership roles, which includes a gap analysis to identify areas of improvement and a period of listening and gathering data before drawing conclusions and presenting recommendations to the CEO.
Addressing Gaps and Blind Spots
Ken and I discuss the importance of conducting a gap analysis in the transition process or when facing challenges in business growth. We emphasize that it is natural for gaps and blind spots to evolve as a company evolves, and it is crucial to have an outside perspective to identify and address these gaps.
Hiring for Growth
When hiring for growth, it is essential to find someone who already knows how to operate at the desired level, rather than hiring someone who is only capable of the current level. We acknowledge that making such decisions can be challenging due to financial constraints, but it is necessary for business growth.
The Shift Spot: A Community for Business Growth
We then discuss Ken’s coaching community, The Shift Spot, which aims to help business owners and entrepreneurs scale their businesses. The community provides coaching, expert advice, and a platform for CEOs to share their experiences and solve problems together.
A Special Offering for Listeners
As a special offering to podcast listeners, Ken is offering a gap analysis tool available at theshiftspot.com/gap. Listeners can fill out the online document and receive a call with me to discuss areas of opportunity and develop a strategy for growth.
Connecting with Ken
Listeners can connect with Ken and access more information by visiting the Shift Spot website or reaching out to him directly at email@example.com. Ken is focused on giving back and helping others, rather than just selling his services.
I want to thank Ken for joining the podcast and sharing his valuable insights. I hope that our discussion has sparked ideas in your minds about how to overcome plateaus or barriers in your businesses. Remember, the video version of the podcast episode is available on our YouTube channel, “Leadership Powered by Common Sense.” All the relevant links and the gap analysis giveaway, generously provided by Ken, can be found in the show notes.
In conclusion, I encourage you all to make the most of the insights shared in this conversation and take your businesses to the next level. Until next time, keep growing and keep learning.
Ken Paskins, Founder of GCE Strategic Consulting and The Shift Spot™, is an accomplished CEO / COO and Executive Coach. He brings a broad range of leadership experience, including operations, sales, acquisitions, strategic planning, and P&L management (up to $500M) while leading teams north of 400+ people across North America and Europe for Fortune 100 companies such as Oracle.
Raised in Noblesville, Indiana, and a graduate of Purdue University, Ken grew up in a “hope and pray” entrepreneurial family–meaning that his family lived in either a boom or bust state depending on which idea “made it” and which one ended up with the lights being turned off. He watched his father and grandfather try to make businesses work while learning on the job, and not having the experience needed to truly know how to run a successful business, so he decided there had to be a better way and worked his way up the corporate ladder learning the skills needed to run a business the right way.
Over the course of 3 decades, Ken has utilized his skills and experiences and is known as a “hired gun” or fractional COO, helping companies from pre-revenue to $50M. His clients include HVAC, accounting firms, legal practices, software companies, etc. Additionally, he has experience in PE, VC (including Sequoia) and M&A. One of his most notable accomplishments included closing a $40M+ software deal days after the tragedy of 9/11. He has leveraged his 30-year knowledge base to be able to help other business owners to work on the business instead of in the business at The Shift Spot™.
Links for Ken: https://theshiftspot.com
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Small business owners will hit an invisible wall that can stall the growth of the company. The key reason there is a wall is that owners need to shift from manager to leader. The question is, how to do that?
Doug Thorpe. Doug is a coach for CEOs and Senior Leadership Teams with 30 years of leadership experience. He is the president & CEO of Doug Thorpe Group. Doug is also a podcast host.
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