How CEOs Can Create More Value in Their Business


It's no secret that the world of work has changed in the last 18 months. While there's plenty of talk going on about returning to the office, embracing the new normal, and grandiose plans for hybrid work models, can a CEO trust that this will add value to their business, or do they need to think differently?
In part, the changes we see result from the pandemic, but in part, the pandemic has merely escalated already underway changes. Before March 2020, we talked about the gig economy. More and more people worked on a contract or self-employed basis and came into companies to do a measurable version of ideas and experience-based jobs. These are the people who add value to a company where there was none to see before, and it's the type of job function that the most forward-thinking CEOs are embracing now. 

The tug of war between value and measurement 

Today it is increasingly evident that this fractional way of working is rapidly becoming the norm. Forbes wrote: 

“Some estimates predict that gig workers represent around 35% of the U.S. workforce in 2020, up from between 14 and 20 percent in 2014. That means roughly 57 million Americans currently engage in some type of gig work that contributes more than $1 trillion to the U.S. economy annually. Those figures are only expected to grow, with some predicting that freelance workers will make up more than half of the U.S. workforce by 2023.”

However, it precipitates a second shift in our thinking. For years, employers have sought to find a way to measure roles that are ideas or experience-based. It's a tricky task that's had pretty limited, and often limiting, results. That was until the rise of the gig economy. Seth Godin, the author of the popular marketing commentary, Seth's Blog, put it well: 

"When bosses had trouble measuring output, they bought our time, and then layered 'process' and bureaucracy on everything as a stand-in for actual productivity. But now, measurement is everywhere, freelancers and contractors are easier to find, and work is being atomised. Being good at process is a weak stand-in for being good at work."

The division between job roles that people must do in the 'office' (e.g., medicine, physiotherapy) and those that don't are more apparent than ever. With that, the need to recognise and embrace the roles that add value in a less tangible way and arguably only measurable over an extended period has become essential.

Embracing the new interim frontier

How do CEOs find the best people to create value in their business? The people who are experienced interim hires? The ones who can hit the ground running and provide no less input on a Zoom call than if they were in the office in person? 
Most companies have been reluctant to embrace a greater level of remote working, gig working, etc., because of the lack of trust they have in their ability to control and measure output. The antidote is in being able to see a track record. The second way for CEOs to embrace this new world is to dive in. Godin says:

"…double down on work that's truly hard to measure, to sign up for emotional labour and experimentation and group leadership and working on the frontier." 

Why? Because in an increasingly competitive commercial market, companies need to differentiate themselves. CEOs know it, but if they keep trying to operate in a manner that better suits a pre-digital age, they won't achieve it. For both employers and employees, this is a trust-based juggling act that can reap great rewards. It's succinctly put by Godin, who says:

"These jobs are harder to get, harder to keep and are fraught precisely because they're less measurable. These are the jobs that create quantum leaps in value but are hard to spec and manage."

Working in keeping with employee and customer values

So with all of that in mind, why would we return to the office as usual? Why would we embrace the same business practices that have always been the status quo? Naturally, they have their place too. However, we know that there's a more streamlined way of doing things. We also know that this way takes advantage of remote working, gig culture and digitisation to support businesses' commercial interests, is in keeping with the lifestyle expectations of top talent, and adheres to the environmental values of a society that demands a more circular economy.
Funnily, it ties into a more historical way of working. Godin references it, saying: 

"Before Manchester factories were up to speed, this was normal–you did your work on your kitchen table and got paid by the piece."

We can also see that culture in the pillars of the City of London - in its Guilds and Livery Companies, built on the work of artisans and craftsmen and women dating back to the 12th century. That, of course, is where the measurement capability for these experience and ideas based, value-adding roles is. It's in bringing it onboard on an interim or fractional basis to deliver on specific projects, problem-solving initiatives or strategic guidance for the company or individual CEOs.
At gigCMO, our experienced Fractional CMOs have been helping companies add the value that helps businesses grow through strategic marketing and business leadership support on an interim, part-time and project basis since we began. If you would like to find out more, contact us any time.

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