There comes a time in the lives of most businesses when the Visionary needs to let go of the vine. A time when it’s necessary for the growth of the company (and the sanity of the Visionary and the whole leadership team) to hire a key person to help.
That key person is an Integrator, and while a Visionary may know that the step is necessary to move the business to the next level, it sometimes doesn’t happen easily. We call this the “Integrator Disruption,” and here’s how to deal with it.
Know When it’s Time
If you are a Visionary, how do you know it’s time to hire an Integrator? One of the first signs that you need an Integrator is if you are holding multiple seats in the company and not performing well at any or most of them.
We recommend that you take a clarity break and evaluate your own performance in those seats just as you would evaluate a team member. How would you grade yourself? If you are not performing as an A player, that’s a sign it’s time to hire an Integrator.
If you are tired, burned out, the primary decision-maker of the company, and a bottleneck of all of your team members’ communication, it’s probably time to hire an Integrator.
Overcome the Challenges
If you are a Visionary who has made a bad hiring decision in the past, you may be hesitant to delegate your tasks.
If a task will take you five minutes to do yourself or 20 minutes to explain to someone else, you may feel tempted to do it yourself. That kind of thinking is a detriment to the Visionary.
If you’ve hired the right people for the right seats, you need to let them make mistakes. “Scraping their knees” a bit is part of the learning process. You need to ask yourself if you are hesitant to delegate because you can’t let go or because you don’t trust the person you’re delegating to.
Fight the Internal Struggle
It’s hard to let go of the vine, especially when the business is part of a Visionary’s identity. It’s hard to imagine what your role would be or what the future would be like if you were not doing everything.
The future of the business is brighter if you can really focus on making the organization bigger and stronger, while developing more strategic partnerships and relationships. Think about what the Visionary seat would look like if that was where you could put all of your focus. You may spend time growing the organization through strategic partnerships, focus on the big accounts, or develop new streams of income. What would you do? Spend some time thinking about big-picture tasks.
Acknowledge the ROI
Hiring a qualified Integrator is a big investment, and many Visionaries may wonder how they will be able to afford to hire the right person with the skills they need. Sometimes an Integrator will sit in a functional leader role like a Director of Operations seat. There are alternatives to hiring a full-time employee – you could hire a fractional Integrator or a strong business manager.
One thing is for sure, if you hire the right Integrator, your return on investment will be ten-fold.
Know the Qualities You’re Looking For
An Integrator has a completely different skill set than the Visionary. Visionaries are creative problem solvers and have amazing relationships with suppliers, clients, and vendors. They focus on company culture, and since they operate on emotion, they have a good sense of how people are feeling.
An Integrator is the glue that holds the company together by harmoniously integrating all major functions of the business. A great Integrator is process-oriented, organized, knows how to motivate and grow their people, and has excellent time management skills.
Ensure a Smooth Transition
Even before your Integrator is hired, it’s very important to explain to your team “why” you will be adding the new position to the company, and the value they will bring. Communicate that you are committed to new communication patterns, and once your Integrator is on board, be prepared to reroute direct questions back through to the Integrator.
You will likely repeat this message over and over. Most people need to hear something seven times before they really “hear” it.
Plan to invest a significant amount of time onboarding the Integrator once they are hired. We suggest the Integrator spend 2-4 hours a day shadowing the Visionary for the first week or two, and then 1-2 hours per day for the next few weeks. EOS® suggests holding “same page” meetings between the Visionary and Integrator once per month. VisionSpark recommends those meetings occur every week for the first 90 days.
Understand and be Excited about your Next Chapter
Once the Integrator is hired and onboarded, what’s next for the Visionary? You may need to utilize EOS®’s Delegate and Elevate tool to identify what you really like to do and what you are good at.
We also recommend exploring Dan Sullivan’s Unique Ability concept, which is finding that one-of-a-kind character that draws on and combines your innate talents, personal passion and life experience. Unique Ability activities have four characteristics:
Adding an Integrator opens the door to new growth for your business that you will never achieve on your own. It can be hard to let go of the vine and add the extra layer to the Accountability Chart. But if you do it right—and you overcome the challenges, fight the internal struggles, acknowledge the ROI, and know the Integrator qualities you are looking for—you will ensure a smooth transition, find your new purpose and value, and avoid that dreaded Integrator Disruption.
Need help hiring your Integrator? Contact VisionSpark.