• Are you a Visionary? You need an Integrator!

    in Small Business Management on June 1, 2020

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    If you’re a Visionary, being an entrepreneur is in your veins. Some ways people describe you are that you are creative, always coming up with and selling new ideas, and relentless in your pursuit of realizing them “yesterday!” You take big risks, build great relationships, and don’t let a little failure get in the way of your dreams. People recognize you as a Visionary with so many great qualities—what more does a person like you need? An Integrator.

    visionary and integratorGino Wickman and Mark C. Winters popularized the term “Integrator” in their book, Rocket Fuel, which explains the roles of a Visionary and Integrator within the confines of an Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS®). The authors posit that while the Visionary (who is usually the founder) comes up with the big ideas, the Integrator sees to it that they are realized. Not only does an Integrator understand the Visionary’s vision, but they are able to make a plan and manage a team who can deliver on it. Here are 5 ways an Integrator can positively counterbalance common Visionary traits.

    1. So many ideas, so little time. Easily bored and perhaps somewhat ADD, Visionaries are known for coming up with ideas and getting people excited about them, then interrupting the team with another idea before they can follow through on the previous one. The result is that a lot of projects get started, but few get completed, and the team becomes frustrated and may turn over. Integrators inventory and prioritize ideas, strategize and introduce processes, and help the team execute.
    2. The art is the virtue. Visionary entrepreneurs love to paint outside the box. They often recognize but can’t resist the urge to push through their masterpieces even if they lack the human and capital resources to make money on the project. Integrators are the voice of reason who find more practical ways to achieve the vision that won’t negatively impact the bottom line.
    3. Speed can derail the train. Visionaries go fast, and the team doesn’t want to let them down, so they often speed up their activities, reduce their communication with each other, and go off strategy. Integrators put the team back on track by dispelling confusion through clear communication and encouraging the team to stick with the processes.
    4. Day-to-day activities inhibit creativity. Visionaries often don’t like what seems like tedious tasks of running the business, and they find business management unsustainable in the long term. Without a leader who is willing to take responsibility for the profitability of the company, the Visionary is not capitalizing on their ideas’ ability to generate income. Integrators are great leaders and managers who understand, appreciate, and affect how day-to-day activities contribute to the organization’s success. 
    5. Multi-trick ponies don’t know they need help. While Visionaries may be capable of doing all the project work themselves, it is neither sustainable nor scalable. Visionaries tend to hold on to responsibilities for too long and not focus on developing people to take over for them. Meanwhile, Integrators look to hire people who have the capability to play roles that will free up the Visionary to do what they do best—come up with the next big idea.

    As a Visionary, you were uniquely and wonderfully made. There’s nothing to “fix” here. Instead of trying to change your traits, complement them with an Integrator.  Together, a visionary and integrator can effectively grow and scale a business.

    Bonus tip: if you’re a visionary, one of the best ways to grow your business is to understand and evaluate your own performance. Check out our post about giving yourself a performance review.


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