1st Edition

Strategy and Leadership as Service How the Access Economy Meets the C-Suite

By Sara Daw Copyright 2024
    330 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    330 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Strategy and Leadership as Service isn’t just a nice idea; it is a practical, alternative vision of the future of work for senior executives that is starting to gain significant interest and is being adopted by businesses globally. Disrupting and challenging the traditional full-time employment model, the Strategy and Leadership as Service framework provides businesses with access to the complete range of functional, emotional, and collective intelligence at the C-suite level by moving their positions from the “pay-roll” to an “access-role.”

    Many entrepreneurial and growing businesses don’t need, don’t want, and can’t afford full-time C-suite executives. For larger organisations, it is becoming harder to find the skills and knowledge required to fulfil all the obligations of a functional C-suite with a fixed group of individuals. By moving to the Strategy and Leadership as Service framework, the outcomes are better for all stakeholders: more engagement, access to the right skillsets and mindsets at the right time and in the right quantity to match the changing business agenda, more flexibility for senior leaders, and strengthened risk management. Through presenting a working business model, and real-world case studies throughout, this book provides executives and leaders with a complete understanding of this ground-breaking approach and its key benefits, the theory upon which it is based, its essential ingredients, the mindset change required and, most importantly, how to apply it in practice.

    The book provides business leaders, C-suite portfolio executives, human resource professionals, strategy consultants, leadership coaches, organisational development consultants, recruiters, professional service firms, academics, and forward-thinking business students with a radical new view of how the access economy can be applied to business strategy and leadership for more sustainable futures.

    Introduction: The Access Economy Meets the C-Suite  Part I: The Forces Shaping Change in the C-Suite  1. Time for a New Version of The C-Suite?  2. Future of Work Megatrends  Part II: Access to the C-Suite through Psychological Ownership  3. The Rise of the Access Economy 4. The Role of Psychological Ownership  Part III: The C-Suite Industry Players  5. The C-Suite Professionals  6. The Clients  7. The Firm of C-Suite Providers: Introducing the Liberti Business Model  Part IV: Evidence for C-Suite Access  8. Testing the Concepts  9. Insights from C-Suite Access  Part V: Strategy and Leadership as Service Framework: The Four Rs  10. The Roots  11. The Routes  12. The Relationships  13. The Roadmap: How the Access Economy Meets the C-Suite for All  Part VI: The Changing Face of the C-Suite  Conclusion: Advantages, Challenges, and Future Directions for the Access Economy C- Suite  Appendices


    Sara Daw is Co-Founder and Group CEO of The CFO Centre Group and The Liberti Group, the global number one provider of C-suite portfolio professionals to entrepreneurial, owner managed, mid-tier businesses, and larger organisations.

    “If your payroll carries the permanent expense of a senior player for every position, here's an alternative way to populate your C-suite. Adopt this cunningly simple idea, and your line up in the Boardroom should become more diverse, more agile, and a lot less bloated.”

    Richard Hytner, Blue Hat Man, Adjunct Professor of Marketing, London Business School and Author, Consiglieri: Leading from the Shadows

    “As someone who has worked as a fractional CFO for a number of years, I can attest to the C-suite burnout which Sara so eloquently describes, and how this new way of working is definitely the way forward for s-suite individuals.”

    Dax Mehta, Part-time CFO and former CFO, Sony Pictures Distribution

    “Forget what you think you know about the ‘gig economy.’ Sara Daw's Strategy and Leadership as Service: How the Access Economy Meets The C-Suite is a fascinating read packed with key insights! The access economy is more than just a transient trend - in the global race for talent, traditional talent acquisition models are becoming outdated. Fueled by technology, changing attitudes, demographics and economic conditions, the future belongs to those with agile talent supply chain strategies. Sara cuts to the core of the Strategy and Leadership as Service model with real-world examples, making this a practical, useful, helpful, fun, and above all, indispensable book for businesses and the C-suite alike!”

    Kirthi Mani, Managing Principal of New York, CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen LLP)

    “Leaders face many challenges in today’s turbulent environment. Workforce planning and providing meaningful work that will attract and retain talent is high on that list of challenges. This well written, empirically rich book provides many insights into a different way of getting work done. The access economy is explained and evidenced as an exciting and effective sustainable alternative to the traditional full-time work model. A must read.”

    Professor Sue Dopson, Deputy Dean, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

    “Great eye opener, also a pragmatic and well thought out framework for how to evolve current CXO models and benefit from the rapidly emerging access economy. I would have loved to utilize this approach in my previous executive roles and now as a portfolio CFO I see that it really works.”

    Uwe Stelter, Portfolio CFO and former Group Chief Financial Officer, Atos SE

    “Converging workforce trends are fuelling the most squeezed labour markets since WWII. Organisational staffing needs an urgent reboot for optimal resilience and prosperity. Sara Daw presents a proven method of accessing ‘on-demand’ leadership expertise that no CEO can afford to overlook.”

    Cat Barnard, Director, Working the Future

    “Sara’s book is an important addition to the thinking on the C-suite. It puts forward what the future C-suite could look like and is a must read for anyone who influences the C-suite or who aspires to be in it.”

    John Jeffcock, CEO, Winmark and Author, The Suite Spot

    “Within professional services, as Sara highlights, we are increasingly experiencing the continued rise of the access economy as organisations, small and large, supplement their teams with required expertise and capacity, and professionals choose a flexible career and make lifestyle choices. This excellent book challenges us as leaders to think about the organisation of the future.”

    Mark Britton, Chief Operating Officer of Global Consulting, JMJ

    “Fractional execs are a secret superpower that most CEOs and boards haven’t discovered yet, but for those that are considering embarking on this journey, this book provides both a map and a compass.”

    David Jack, Serial CTO, Board Member, and PE Advisor

    “I’ve no doubt that using a Strategy and Leadership as Service model was a key factor in being able to obtain a good exit for our shareholders in a four-year timeframe. We needed expertise in finance and marketing that we could not afford on a full-time basis, but that wasn’t well-matched to short, intense contract roles. Engaging professionals who had been through a rigorous vetting process, who had big and small company expertise (including helping other businesses on their growth journeys) and who were interested in being mentors to and part of the management team was transformational. Having trusted team members also deeply involved in other (non-competing) businesses also gave us access to best practice ideas and networking opportunities that would have been time-consuming for me to have developed on my own.”

    Jo Kettner, Co-Founder Vantage Ventures and former CEO, Company Watch

    Strategy and Leadership as Service describes a smart new way for business leaders to build their top team of talent with the flexibility, agility, and capability to not only keep pace with change but also stay ahead of the competition.”

    Nancy MacKay, PhD, Founder and CEO, MacKay CEO Forums

    “While all of us are talking about the future of work, some leaders are already bringing pockets of the future into the present. In this timely book, Sara Daw shows us what is possible – helping us not only to imagine, but to create new ways of adding value to the C-suite. Her research, grounded in her real-world experience at The Liberti Group and drawing from ideas about the sharing economy, reveals how psychological ownership can bridge the gap between insiders and outsiders in the C-suite. For those of us who are looking for ways to contribute our C-level expertise to organisations without being limited by traditional corporate models, Sara Daw makes an inspiring case for how the model pioneered at The Liberti Group can be a win-win for individual leaders and the innovative organisations that need them.”

    Tara Montgomery, Founder and Principal, Civic Health Partners, NY

    “Sara Daw’s book develops the idea of the ‘access economy’ to include how organisations source external talent to support strategic objectives when resources are limited. It provides a well thought through framework for leaders to consider when sourcing such talent and gives valuable cases on how the approach works in practice. It shines a light on an area which has so far been neglected and will be a foundational contribution.”

    Dr Marc Thompson, Senior Fellow in Strategy and Organisation, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

    “Having worked with The CFO Centre over the years, their ingeniously simple model was ahead of its time in a hybrid and portfolio world. Fabulous for financials, delivering customer delight and critically creating the opportunity for meaning and purpose to those working in the model. This is evidence, not just from theory but from having done it in the real world!”

    Mark Robb, Consultant and Speaker

    “During my own career at The CFO Centre, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with many outstanding portfolio C-suite leaders. Sara’s narrative comprehensively informs the reasons why Portfolio working for C-suite executives offers a transformative approach to leadership amplifying productivity and versatility. Sara leverages her deep understanding of the C-suite dynamics to highlight the benefits of diversity and the unique perspectives that portfolio professionals bring to senior leadership positions. This is a great read for anyone considering a portfolio career.”

    Patrick Murray, Portfolio CFO with The CFO Centre

    “Accessing talent and creating an environment where it can thrive is a business differentiator. This book is an inspiring and practical guide for both individuals wanting to further maximise their potential and businesses who desire high performance.”

    Chris Starkey, former Accenture Managing Director and current Managing Director, The Marketing Centre

    “Sara introduces the concept of the access economy as a means of challenging and refreshing the traditional approach to strategy and leadership through a closed C-suite model and brings the concept to life with her description of psychological ownership.”

    Paul Dodd, Experienced CFO, Business Builder and Group Risk Advisor to The CFO Centre

    “I encountered Sara as a smart, curious, empathetic, and inspiring entrepreneur. In her book, she offers a fresh perspective to navigate and thrive in the ongoing acceleration and pixelization of our world.”

    Claude Rumpler, Chief People Experience Officer, L’Oréal

    “Becoming a portfolio People Director has transformed my life. Firstly, it's enabled me to be the father I want to be and secondly, I've helped CEOs and MDs grow their businesses through Strategy and Leadership as Service, driving value beyond my functional People/HR expertise.”

    Shaun O’Hara, Portfolio People Director, People Puzzles and former Director of Talent, Britvic Soft Drinks PLC

    “Today's working environment (also!) in the C-suite is characterised by increasing demands on the company’s side, which is countered on the demand side by a strongly decreasing willingness to work a 24/7 job and a growing interest in networking and sharing knowledge. Sara Daw wisely and understandably shows how these developments can be countered by transferring the principles of the access economy. A must read for members of the C-suite or those who want to be!”

    Professor Doctor Norbert Neu, Partner at dhpg, Bonn, Germany

    Strategy and Leadership as Service presents a noteworthy alternative to the traditional employment model - a win for both individuals and organizations. The model offers freedom from corporate constraints for C-suite professionals and a breadth and depth of skills otherwise unobtainable to organizations.”

    Catherine Jessup, Former CFO, Diageo North America

    “Portfolio working as described in Strategy and Leadership as Service has transformed my professional and personal life. I love working with a diverse client base and adding true value through our collective knowledge and expertise. There’s also an amazing sense of belonging within the team of brilliant People Directors.”

    Debra Lee, Regional Director, People Puzzles and former Senior Director of Diversity and Inclusion, ASDA

    “As a CFO I’ve been bringing C-suite experience to SME clients for 11 years now. This book brilliantly captures the benefits both to the 30+ clients I’ve worked with and to me. Truly an insight into the future of business management.”

    Michael Reeder, Portfolio CFO

    “Based on a combination of over 20 years of experience and solid academic research, Sara Daw paints a compelling picture of a new business model for the deployment of C-suite executives. A must read both for people engaging C-suite executives and for C-suite executives that want to gain a new perspective on their career and their life!”

    Wim Van der Smissen, Portfolio CFO