Every organization, whether it’s a business or a non-profit, needs at least two types of leaders to find sustainability. Gino Wickman and Marc Winters call these two people the visionary and the integrator.
The visionary generates ideas, sees the big picture and provides the passion. He has a mental picture of the future in vivid color. But it can be tough to stay focused, execute on anything that looks like details, and falls victim to too many ideas.
The integrator beats the drum and makes sure the trains run on time. They are steady, more detailed, and are often the voice of reason. Integrators are managers who know how to get things done.
Occasionally, one person can fulfill both of these roles, but it’s extremely rare. You’re likely one or the other. I’m a natural visionary but can live int he integrator role if necessary. I won’t thrive there, though.
What about you? Are you a visionary or an integrator?
Every organization needs both. It’s Yin and Yang – two forces seemingly opposed to each other but actually help each other as they interact. One without the other is doomed.
Walt Disney (visionary) had his brother Roy (integrator). John D. Rockefeller (visionary) had Henry M. Flagler (integrator). Henry Ford (visionary) had James Couzens (integrator). In each of those cases, it was the powerful combination, not just a great idea or not just daily execution, that led to success.
In the book Rocket Fuel, Gino and Marc give five rules to make the visionary/integrator relationship work. These are worth considering.
- Stay on the same page. A monthly “same page” meeting can help, giving each person space to check in, talk about issues and solve problems.
- No end runs. Since visionaries and integrators solve problems differently, this rule prevents complaining and power struggles.
- The integrator is the tie breaker. Consensus management doesn’t work so decide in advance who will break the ties. They suggest the integrator since the visionary will be passionate about every idea!
- You are an employee when working in the business. Even if you’re the owner, when you’re doing the job portion of your role, you have to have accountability.
- Maintain mutual respect. Fake respect won’t work; treat each other like partners.
The visionary/integrator language is helpful for me as I look at my business. What about you?