The Most Important Decision for the Visionary

10.02.20 04:33 PM By Kelly Schaefbauer

Who will have the Integrator role?

In my last post, I presented the perspective that strategic planning is pivotal to decision making in an organization. In this post, we’ll explore the most important decision of the Visionary: choosing the right Integrator.

So, what is the Integrator and what is their role within the organization? Often the Integrator role is fulfilled by the General Manager or the Operations Director.  I sum it up this way: “the integrator is responsible for balancing the organization’s capacity to produce/serve, against the demand”. Organizations typically fail when one side of the capacity/demand equation is too far out of balance.  This role to balance at the top of the organization takes a great deal of knowledge, knowhow and leadership. The primary traits of an integrator are:

·  Being able to translate the big picture into the nuts and bolts, attention to detail.

·  Pragmatism, leading with facts and statistics, an ability to stay tuned into the numbers vs emotion.

·  Risk Aversion.

The Integrator’s attention is inside the organization focused on "how". This allows the Visionary to make sure the purpose and vision of the organization fit into the marketplace.

I believe the most under-valued role in successful organizations is the Integrator. Often, in the small business world, finances may not allow for a dedicated person to have the single role of Integrator, so what else can be done? Often the Visionary shares both roles. I’ve seen it done successfully, but it takes a rare personality to be both a creative visionary and a pragmatic Integrator.

In a partnership situation, one partner often fills the Visionary/Sales role and the other is the Integrator/Production role. This split can go either way. This is a better option than having the Visionary take on both roles, but it can still leave both short of focus, time and expertise.

An additional option is to hire a fractional Integrator. This is a budget-friendly way to have an experienced integrator with a set of structured operation’s tools support and align the leaders and managers of the organization.

If you’d like to learn more about the Integrator and Visionary combination, see the book “Rocket Fuel” by Gino Wickman and Mark C Winters.

See On Amazon