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The Visionary and the Integrator - It takes both!

Are you ready to grow? Are you ready to take your business to a new level? Maybe you have finally hit the $1 Million mark and now you seek new heights. Maybe your business has been stagnant and you need a shot of energy. If you find yourself needing additional horsepower, so you can take more time to strategically think about your business, we know what you need.

We highly recommend you read the book Rocket Fuel if you are interested in finding the right hand person for your business. It may be that you are the Visionary (V) or the Integrator (I), either one, and need that key person to compliment you in your business. The book is so aptly titled because as this new person enters the business in this role, things can really take off. This is not without some key things that need to be understood however. 

Visionary - Ideas, Influences, Strategic Thinker, Passionate, Deal Maker, Opportunist

Integrator - Implements, Communicator, Mentor, Leader, Drives Culture, Skeptic

Typically the Business Owner that started the business is a Visionary. This isn't always true, but is highly likely. So Visionary, let me speak to you candidly. Notice I used the word 'let'. This is not a coincidence. Visionaries tend to have a hard time letting go. This can be due to the fact that this business is their baby, their passion or simply they have always made all of the decisions. Some trip points for the Visionary are not letting go, attempting to do multiple jobs in the organization, sitting in seats that ultimately report back to the Integrator, and trying to do both the V&I roles. 

I have seen some Business Owners say they want an Integrator and even pursue getting one on board, to conversely derail the effectiveness by undermining them at every turn. Normally what we hear is "they don't do it the way we've always done it". Visionary, this is why your business isn't growing! What got you to this level isn't capable of getting you to the next level. Let go to grow!

Integrator, you have to have thick skin and an undying relentless pursuit of transitioning the business. Without the consistent persistence, the Visionary will not learn to let go. Obviously the Visionary has to work on it and do their part, or you will find yourself looking elsewhere. I say this with all sincerity, because there is a great tension that can occur at the beginning of this journey. It is not a journey for the weak and frail. You have to be able to speak up and share your insights. 


                       Alignment = Growth


Some rules that we have used very successfully with installing a V&I relationship.

1. Have a meeting once a month at a minimum, we prefer once a week, to get on the same page with the each other. This is a mandatory discussion. Follow what we teach about meetings - agenda, notes...etc. Make it happen!

2. You each have to support the organizational alignment that exists due to this relationship. The V cannot allow others to go around the I, from an organizational perspective. If someone comes to the V directly, simply ask them if they have spoken to the I about it. If not, turn them away until they do. It's that simple. If I had to pick one thing that we have seen in our many years that undermines the V&I relationship more than anything else, this is it. 

3. When a final Operational decision has to be made the I has the final say. We are talking Operations and daily decisions, not strategy here. Sure, if there is something that is out of line with the company mission or values, the V should invoke what we call a veto. This should be rare and not necessary for the most part. If it is common, then the wrong person is in place in the I position.

4. The V&I must have mutual respect for each other. Both roles are critically important to the success of the company. You must support each other. Talking about each other outside of the relationship is the first step to a downward spiral. This is the second leading cause to the failure of this relationship to work. This typically comes from a lack of trust and full buy in to the roles. 

5. We help our clients develop a leadership agreement. We have learned that by getting an agreement discussed and in writing helps to eliminate many of the issues that come from the V&I embarking on a relationship that is new for both parties. If you study some of the most successful companies in our nations history, you will find a powerful V&I dynamic. Look at Microsoft, Apple, Disney and others to find that they had a V&I relationship that poured 'fuel' on their success. These businesses just absolutely exploded when the V&I's worked together. They knew how to work together. 

6. Embrace the tension. There is supposed to be tension in this relationship. There always will be and should be. There is good tension and bad tension however. The V&I cannot take the other person's questioning personal. Each party has the right and the responsibility to ask questions of the other. It is for the betterment of the company. However, (big however) the V cannot use the questioning as a way to manipulate and coerce the I into doing exactly as they want. This passive aggressive brow beating causes undue stress and lowers trust. Keep to a level of good tension. Visionary, know that they will not do everything the exact same way you would. That is a good thing! I'll say it again...let go to grow.

7. The culture of the organization is critical in the establishment of the V&I relationship, the organizational trust level and resulting success overall. The I has the responsibility to develop and drive the company culture, however the V must support the efforts completely. We have seen the V, in a few cases, derail the work of the I by not supporting the culture being developed. Usually they say all the right things, but when the rubber meets the road, they undermine it through their actions. Visionary, don't do that! You must accept the culture change and embrace it. It is for the good of the overall company. Visionaries don't usually like the processes and systems that a growing company requires. It is not how the are hard wired. They know what the I teaches them about the need, but they sometimes don't think it applies to them. It does. It applies to everyone in the company. 

Here are the steps we go through to get the V&I alignment started:

  • Define Roles and Responsibilities of each.
  • Identify the V & I for the organization.
  • Create a Leadership Agreement. 
  • Establish meeting rhythm.
  • Communicate to the Leadership Team.
  • Review the process and progress - ongoing

We have found the best way to install this process is with an unbiased party facilitating the process. Of course, we do this for clients on a regular basis. We would be more than happy to help you get your business prepared to take on the next level of growth and accomplishments. In the end, it is like pouring fuel on the fire.

If you have not yet read Rocket Fuel , we suggest you do so, especially if your company is ready for the an insert of energy. Reach out to us at [email protected] if you would like to learn more. 

Enjoy the Journey!


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