Visionaries in business have an endless supply of creative, innovative ideas. They overflow with energy and drive. The future lies before them in all its glory and they want to be the first to get there. With such tremendous talents, Visionaries often found or own companies. So far, so good.
But what about daily operations? What about the myriad details that have to be planned, correlated, weighed, resolved, and all the rest of it for the business to run smoothly? It is rare for a Visionary to also be great at handling minutiae. And even if they have the ability, they usually find such activities unutterably boring. When you have worlds to conquer, it is more than a little annoying to be told you have to stay home to weed and water the garden!
If this resonates with you – if you feel like you are tethered to the ground instead of soaring the skies – then consider the following very seriously, for your sake and your business’s sake.
Embrace the reality that your business needs an Integrator.
The Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS®) describes an Integrator as someone who excels at making decisions about and managing the day-to-day organizational and operational matters necessary to achieve optimal performance and outcomes for the business. EOS® notes that Visionaries and Integrators complement one another: big picture vs. little picture, innovations vs. operations, future vs. present. When you bring an Integrator on board to run the company, your business benefits from that person’s rigor and focus and from the fact that you as the Visionary are set free to do what you do best, namely, imagine the future.
Hire an Integrator who “GWCs” the role.
To choose the right person to be the Integrator in your company, we recommend using the GWC™ tool from EOS®. GWC stands for someone who Gets It (i.e., understands the role), Wants It, and has the Capacity to do it. You can learn more about the GWC™ tool here.
Let the Integrator do their job.
This is where the rubber meets the road. Once you have an Integrator in place, you need to release daily management of the company to that person. That will include letting go of some of the activities you are used to doing and some of the decisions you are used to making. To be blunt: don’t meddle! No micromanaging. No looking over the Integrator’s shoulder. No telling him or her how to do the job. Remember, you cannot hold the Integrator accountable for the performance of the business if you are interfering with their ability to run the business.
Implement a steady cadence of communication with the Integrator.
Decide with the Integrator how often the two of you will meet (e.g., on a weekly basis), what general topics you will discuss, and which key performance indicators (KPIs) you will review. Communication is essential for the two of you to stay on the same page. Receiving regular updates will also help you resist your natural temptation to overstep your new boundaries.
Define how you will engage with the rest of your team.
Having an Integrator in place to run the business on a day-to-day basis does not mean that you are forbidden to talk directly with the rest of your team. What it does mean, however, is that there are new guidelines for such interactions so that the Integrator can do his or her job well. These guidelines can be quite casual, but it is nevertheless helpful to define them. For example, you will want to keep your Integrator in the loop if you are getting input from a team member on one of your ideas or need analysis done about a potential opportunity.
Funnel your ideas to and through the Integrator.
The Integrator has the responsibility of making decisions regarding business priorities and for allocating resources. You obviously have input into this, but it is the Integrator’s specific job function. Consequently, it is vital that you practice the discipline of taking your ideas to the Integrator for evaluation and, if approved, for execution. If you slip into the habit of directing people to work on an idea outside of the agreed-upon process, you will undercut the effectiveness of your Integrator and the performance of your business.
Go do the future!
With the right Integrator in place and doing their job, a steady stream of communication, healthy engagement among the company leadership team, and a process for evaluating and executing new opportunities, you are positioned to soar higher and farther than you ever have before. Focus your energy, your excitement, and your expertise on building relationships, exploring big ideas, and innovating strategies to take your company to the next level. You can do all this and more because you’ve got someone who can do what needs to be done today. Go do the future!