The very mention of part-time CEO may appear to be something unknown for many of small or start-up enterprises. Yes, because we are mostly used to the model of Consulting SLA whereby a consultant or an organization would meet the piecemeal services required by a venture.
At the very outset why an organization would need a CEO? Obviously to define a right strategy and planning for the successful implementation of business objectives and to drive the vision of the enterprise. CEO would obviously be accountable to draw organizational productivity, consistently increase the net worth of the company, and achieve stakeholder satisfaction. These aspects would inherently demand efficient management of all business functions supported by an energetic team.
Why do you need a part-time CEO:
(i) You may be a first time entrepreneur and a start-up owner.
As a first time entrepreneur, you will need support right from setting up the processes, implementing the project infrastructure, to putting the venture on commercial track. These initial processes need multifunctional expertise in business and management. For young entrepreneurs and for people who come from traditional business line, this might prove to be a challenge to build a professional structure. In order to overcome this challenge, a first time entrepreneur and a start-up owner can engage a Part-time CEO who can invest his expertise on (i) Business Plan (ii) Statutory and mandatory registrations (iii) Investment model (iv) Procurement (v) Policy Development (vi) Marketing collateral (vii) Legal and organizational documentation (viii) Team deployment (ix) Technology implementation (x) Infrastructure deployment; and (xi) Commercial launch.
Besides the above, the matter of business promotion and brand identity processes suitable to the target market and customer segment is an important concerted task to be achieved with the active involvement of respective team members.
(ii) You may be remotely handling a project.
You may be the promoter-owner of the venture who is away on other avocations. You may be an enterprise having headquarters or business units in other part of the world. You may want a local expert in the project location to handle the project with absolute expertise and accountability. You need a responsible company who could extend you Part-time CEO services placing their Sr. Executive onsite. This model will bring you required assurance on successful project implementation supported by relevant SLAs.
(iii) You may be holding some parallel projects which demand specialized techno-management skills.
You may be an individual or an organization who has got requisite management expertise and seized with several projects. You might need a Part-time CEO who come with requisite techno-management expertise. This will place you at ease in the initial project launch and you will also be secured about the project success under SLAs.
The model of engaging a Part-Time CEO:
You should go for a model where the role of a Part-time CEO is a mere indication of responsibilities, deliverables and accountability. He may not be necessarily be an all-time visitor to the project site. As a promoter-owner, you will be the actual CEO in the organization and the person in question would otherwise co-ordinate with you to effectively handle project deliverables. The appointment of such person or organization for part-time CEO services would precisely indicate these aspects along with (i) project scope, (ii) terms of service, (iii) periodicity, (iv) remuneration, (v) Support after project launch, and (vi) exit route, in the MOU. Regular and onsite placement of part-time CEO might give way to management and team cultural challenges on his exit. Thus, it is desirable to have off-site services as an officiating person.
The MOU could spell the performance metrics and subjective terms like penalty for non-performance, cost over-runs, schedule delays and so just as in case of a project delivery agreement.
The challenges in going for a Part-Time CEO:
You would need to exercise openness in accepting suggested measures by the part-time CEO. As a responsible person for project delivery, he might want contextual changes in resource handling, vendor relations, procurement preferences or even review of strategy. Mutual trust and transparency between the promoter-owner and the part-time CEO would make lot of positive difference to the project.
The parameters of selecting a right organization or right individual
The most important parameters being (i) Multifunctional expertise specially with respect to project management (ii) Visionary with innovative thinking (iii) Ethical and transparent (iv) Sense of ownership (v) Proven background (vi) Process oriented and analytical (vii) Market Awareness (viii) Service with smile; and (ix) Always accessible; and desirably Social Media savvy.
Notwithstanding the above, the final responsibility again lies with you to monitor the effectiveness of part-time CEO and his deliverables. Ideally, you should undergo a few sessions of detailed inputs from him before the project start and during the project handling on the approach, project baselines, performance parameters and controlling measures. Choose a person as a part-time CEO with guts and confidence and through thorough screening.