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  • Writer's pictureCXOs & Co.

The Supertemps

Updated: Dec 26, 2018

Harvard Business Review once described the On-demand Executives such as CXOs & Co. partners as “Supertemps”.

Supertemps are growing in number, and we think they’re on the verge of changing how business works. In Europe, where onerous labor laws make it difficult and costly to fire anyone—thus discouraging companies from taking on permanent hires—temporary work is even better established than it is in the United States. The vast majority of this work is in the middle tier or below, but it is spreading fast in the high end.

Tom Staggs, who was the COO of the Walt Disney Company until 2016, mentioned in a Harvard Business Review article when he was Disney’s CFO that if companies knew they could bring on talent quickly and flexibly, they’d try more things. Being able to test a new business idea with a $500,000 “get it going fast and let’s see” model, rather than a fully drawn $5 million business plan with commitments to permanent staff, would ultimately enable them to find more promising opportunities. Sadana of SanDisk agrees. “If there is that capability to quickly tap into a pool of talent that you can trust is high quality, it would help the entire industry,” he says. “It would help the economy to have new ideas vetted at a faster pace and would increase the pace of innovation.”

The article also mentions that the prevalence of lean management teams, the drive to cap costs, and the accelerating pace of change combine to make temporary solutions compelling. These new arrangements have also spread because the surge in outsourcing and consulting in recent years has accustomed managers to thinking about work, including high-end work, in modular ways. That means you can’t run a company or deal with sophisticated talent today without understanding the rise of supertemps.

We could not agree more…


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